Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will “shift the power from the few to the many.”
Hillary Clinton called Nader's announcement unfortunate:
Clinton was unaware, until questioned about by reporters, that Nader had announced Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he had decided to enter the 2008 race, and was clearly surprised at the news.
“Well that’s really unfortunate. I remember when he did this before. It did not turn out very well for anybody, most especially our country,” she said. “This time I hope it doesn’t hurt anybody. I hope it’s kind of a passing fancy that people don’t take too seriously.”
Didn't turn out well for "anybody"? Speak for yourself, Hillary. Anything Hillary thinks is unfortunate has to be a good thing. Barack Obama weighed in on Nader's announcement:
"Anybody has the right to run for president if they file sufficient papers," Mr. Obama responded. "The job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference."
Mr. Nader has reserved harsh words for both Mr. Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in recent weeks, and is expected to announce he will run again in an appearance today on NBC's "Meet the Press," the same forum where he announced his 2004 effort.Asked about Mr. Nader's criticism, Mr. Obama paused, then added:
"Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don't listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you're not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work.
In January Nader had this to say about Obama:
"His record in the Senate is pretty mediocre," Nader said. "His most distinctive characteristic is the extent to which he censors himself. He hasn't performed as a really progressive first-term senator would."
His "self-censorship," Nader said, "is a reflection of character."
Hard to argue that, but thank God for small favors.
How much impact will Nader have this time? Probably none at all. Unless Hillary Clinton pulls off a miracle, the Naderites of 2000 have aligned themselves enthusiastically with Barack Obama. Having Nader attack him from the Left won't hurt Obama's prospects in the middle, where he needs to draw more heavily than John McCain.
Michael Bloomberg could be a fly in Obama's
The bigger worry for Obama is Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire mayor of New York City ay still launch a vanity run for the White House, and he would challenge both McCain and Obama for the center. However, given Bloomberg's nanny-state tendencies, he will likely draw far more support from Obama than from McCain. If both Nader and Bloomberg enter the race, Obama could get squeezed from both sides.
If nothing else, Nader's presence will provide a few laughs as he gets reviled for blocking Obama's path to victory, even if it's just a small roadbump.
Works for me.