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Stateside: See Ralph Run!

Stateside with Rosalea

See Ralph Run!

''At what point do you stop relying on a party to be an opposition party and start asking what else needs to be done to put some spine into Washington politics?'' So goes one of the FAQs on the website, which just went up this morning after Ralph Nader announced his intention to run as an independent candidate in the 2004 presidential election.

Hey, I know I said I never liked the guy much anyway, but his appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning reminded me that if I were to choose my favourite presidential candidate based on how much he (or she, maybe?) affects likeability this November it would be, er, George W. Bush. Kerry? Edwards? Gimme a break!

Dean at least had an honest temper, but the media did him in on it. And, despite positioning himself as Seabiscuit, it’s looking like the best Kucinich can hope for is to win some delegates in California to bargain for some of his ideas at the July Democratic National Convention and a close call between Kerry and Edwards so that that bargaining power has some clout.

Getting back to Nader, the single most outstanding thing about him is that he doesn’t have to preface statements with the words “I know for a fact” as if whatever it is he “knows” were something his research team had handed his speechwriter. When Nader rails against the corporate takeover of Washington, it’s from the perspective of a consumer advocate with decades of experience.

Now he has an uphill battle to meet the differing access requirements of 50 states in order to get onto the November ballot. In California, for example, he has to get over 150,000 valid signatures, which means collecting about 20k. Without the backing of a party organization, such as he had with the Greens in 2000, this task will be doubly difficult. Some Greens had hoped he would run for them again this year.

"We wish Ralph well and thank him for working with us and supporting us all these years," said Jo Chamberlain, a co-chair of the national Green Party. "Our candidates -- and our eventual nominee -- are campaigning on a platform similar to his, so we don't consider ourselves in any kind of public competition with him."

Nader’s biggest difficulty will be newsreaders like the one on local station KRON 4, which I turned to after Meet the Press ended. Nader’s candidacy is not liked by Democrats, the newsreader said, because Nader is “widely recognised” as having cost them the presidency. Being “widely recognised” for something is not, of course, the same thing as having actually done it.


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