Renowned consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced his intention to run in this year's presidential election as an independent on MSNBC's Meet the Press Sunday, saying: 'Washington is now corporate occupied territory. There's a 'for sale' sign on almost every door of agencies and departments where these corporations dominate and they put their appointments in high office.'
The decision follows Nader's bid for the White House on the Green Party's platform in 2000, when he won approximately three percent of the vote, drawing accusations from critics that he 'stole' votes from Democratic candidate Al Gore and paved the way for George W. Bush to become president.
Naturally, his announcement Sunday touched off another firestorm, especially among Democrats and even some who supported Nader's candidacy in 2000.
Here are some of the reactions:
From the left:
- The Democratic National Committee, Communications Director Debra DeShong: 'We are very disappointed at Ralph Nader's decision (Sunday). However, he has promised Chairman McAuliffe that if he were to run in this election, he would not criticize the Democratic nominee, but rather would focus on the failings of the Bush Administration. We take him at his word.'
- Progressive news portal Alternet.org posted two articles critical of the decision. In The Lone Ranger of Righteousness, Paul Loeb reasons: 'Yes, Nader has a legal right to do this. He also has a legal right to donate $100,000 to the Republican Party and become a Bush Pioneer. That doesn't make it a good idea.' In his piece Forget Nader, Hug Kucinich, Adam Werbach goes on the offensive: 'Angry opposition is exactly what Nader needs to turn his last stand into the Alamo. At the moment he has as much support as the guy who walks around San Francisco with a sign that says the Martians have landed.'
- The Green Party holds no grudges that Nader has decided not to run on their platform this time around. Here's what they had to say in a press release: 'Greens welcomed Ralph Nader's entry into the presidential race (Sunday) as an independent, saying that Mr. Nader will take positions and raise issues of vital urgency in the 2004 race for the White House.'
- Howard Dean, a progressive candidate who recently abandoned his run for the Democratic nomination criticized Nader's decision in a statement on his weblog, BlogForAmerica.com: 'If George W. Bush is re-elected, the health, safety, consumer, environmental and open government provisions Ralph Nader has fought for will be undermined.'
- The Nation, while calling Nader a member of its family, discouraged him from running for president: 'Ralph, this is the wrong year for you to run: 2004 is not 2000. George W. Bush has led us into an illegal, pre-emptive war, and his defeat is critical. Moreover, the odds of this becoming a race between Bush and Bush Lite are almost nil.'
- The website www.RalphDontRun.net calls the stakes far too high for Bush to defeat a divided liberal voter base again.
From the right:
- Republican National Committee, Chairman Ed Gillespie was quoted in an AP article as saying, 'If Ralph Nader runs, President Bush is going to be re-elected and if Ralph Nader doesn't run, President Bush is going to be re-elected.' Former RNC chairman and current governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour predicted, 'It will make less difference than Democrats fear, but I know they're very nervous about it.'
- Conservative talk show pundit Rush Limbaugh gloated at the Democrats' anxieties: 'It's a sheer delight to watch the media panic over this Ralph Nader announcement.'
The year is young, and the political season will continue to heat up.