A couple of stories caught my eye this morning:
Nader Considering 2008 Presidential Run
READING, Pennsylvania (July 15) – (AP) Consumer advocate Ralph Nader told the Green Party’s national convention that he is considering a 2008 presidential run and accused Democrats of trying to shut smaller parties out of the political process.
“No other country comes close to providing voters with such a small number of choices and making third party candidates hurdle an almost insuperable number of obstacles just to get on the ballot,” Nader, the Green Party’s 2000 presidential nominee, said Saturday.
Later, addressing a few hundred conventioneers who chanted “Run Ralph Run,” Nader exhorted Greens to focus on raising money to boost their competitiveness.
In 2000, Nader got 2.7% of the votes in the general election. Democrats say he siphoned votes from the party’s nominee, Al Gore, in Florida, New Hampshire and elsewhere, giving the election to Republican George W. Bush. In 2004, Nader was much less of a factor.
He ran as an independent in 2004 but was removed from the ballot in Pennsylvania and other large states after Democrats challenged his nominating petitions.
Nader said before jumping into the 2008 presidential race he would have to put together an organization of thousands of volunteers and pro bono lawyers to defend him against the “Democratic quadrennial assault.”
There are times that I have to wonder if Ralph Nader was a Karl Rove plot; surely, surely, there was no better way to screw the Democrats than by having a candidate from the kook left siphoning off some of the hard-lef voters who would have otherwise held their collective noses and voted for Al Gore in 2000. Some people, a lot of people, really, realized this, and various “Nader trader” sites tried to get committed Nader voters to agree to vote for Mr Gore in tightly contested states, in exchange for someone (normally a Gore supporter) to agree to vote for the Green Party nominee in a less contested state.
Considering how close the election was, and that George Bush won by a handful of votes in Florida, it’s clear that the third party candidates had an outsiezed effect on the election — but not one which gave any third party candidate even a ghost of a chance to actually win anywhere.
In Florida, George Bush won, in the final tally, 2,912,790 votes to Mr Gore’s 2,912,487, a difference of 537 votes. Ralph Nader received 97,488 votes in Florida. My best guess is that, had Mr Nader not been on the ballot, Mr Gore would have won Florida.
Of course, it isn’t entirely fair to blame Mr Nader: even excluding the Green Party nominee, the three communist party nominees (Workers’ World, Socialist and Socialist Workers’ parties) tallied 2,988 votes between them, five times the differehce between Messrs Bush and Gore.
Gilmore Drops Presidential Candidacy
By Dionne Walker, AP
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore ended his long-shot campaign for presidency on Saturday, acknowledging he couldn’t raise enough money.
The former Republican National Committee chairman is the first of the 10 GOP presidential candidates to drop out. He barely registered in the polls, and his latest financial disclosure report showed him with about $90,000 in cash on hand.
A former Army intelligence officer and state prosecutor, Gilmore had stumped on reducing illegal immigration and creating a new strategy in Iraq.
“I’ve developed a national following,” Gilmore said in a telephone interview. “But that following really hasn’t included getting a fundraising group together.”
In a written statement, the 57-year-old meat-cutter’s son said his late start, near the end of April, and the front-loaded primary schedule “have made it impractical to continue.”
Well, other than his “I’ve developed a national following” statement, Mr Gilmore showed some sense. He wasn’t going to win the nomination, period, and it was time to stop wasting money and deluding himself.
As it occurs, I lived in Virginia when Mr Gilmore was running for governor there, and I’m pleased to say that my vote contributed to his victory. Unfortunately, his signature issue, eliminating the personal property tax on automobiles, was a bit of a crock; Virginians hated that tax, but it was a tax levied by local governments, not the state, and the state government had to put through some simply awful revenue-replacing measures for localities to try to get rid of the tax.
My compliments to Mr Gilmore, for realizing, early on, that his candidacy would never lead to him becoming president, and getting out of the way. For Mr Nader, I have noting but contempt; it’s clear that his overbearing ego is leading him to think that he really matters in some positive way. I thank him for his greatest contribution to our country — getting George Bush elected — but now it’s time to sit down and shut up.
Unless Karl Rove really is paying him!