It's official. Ralph Nader's running for President. Again.
While my initial reaction was predictably negative, after I put my personal dislike of the guy aside and took a look at where he was coming from this time around, I came to the surprising conclusion that I agreed with his decision!
I believe the fact that John Kerry is the current Democratic "front-runner" and scarily close to wrapping up the nomination this early in the process is one of the main reasons he's decided to junp back in the race. A lot of the "I like Kucinich but Dean can win" people can take some of the responsibility for it, too.
Nader made it pretty clear early on in the process that Kucinich was his man. If he felt like DK was making a dent in the Dem's platform, he said he wouldn't run this time. He even spurned the Green Party because they wanted to run a strategic campaign, only targetting states that were clearly red or blue, to which Nader said you either run or you don't - which I totally agree with.
Because he's going independent, I actually respect his running this time more than last. He's running purely on his own principles now, not shrouding them in the Green's presumptuous attempts at establishing themselves as the third party. Because Dean and Kucinich have routinely professed their ultimate loyalty to the party, Nader is the one that scares Dems the most, and as a result, he wields more potential influence on the platform that comes out of Boston than anyone else.
Interestingly, like Howard Dean, he's made a point of noting a preference for Edwards, saying on NBC's Meet The Press: "I think the more organized the citizens are, the better a politician [Edwards is] going to be. He's like an expanding accordion, unlike President Bush, who is really a giant corporation in the White House masquerading as a human being." Presumably Kerry, whom he doesn't refer to once in the interview, is just another competing corporation and not a viable representative of the people. That's my interpretation, at least! ;-)
I welcome his decision to jump in the race the same way I support Kucinich and Sharpton's voices continuing to be included in the debates. His will be another voice raised against the Bush administration and, because he's Ralph Nader and the media loves the easy "spoiler" angle, he will get more coverage than Kucinich or the now-hobbled Dean.
Should Kerry ultimately get the nod from the Democrats to face off against Bush, I will strongly consider giving Nader my vote and encouraging others to do the same. Of course, that's assuming we're able to as the chances of him getting on most state's ballots is extremely slim without a party backing him. At the least, I'd love to see him sitting on stage between Dubya and Kerry, making them and their respective parties both look like the hypocritical idiots they are.
Welcome to the party, Ralph. And good luck.