Chris Hedges at OpEdNews features a long interview with Ralph Nader. It is a bit heavy on editorializing but features some good quotes from the consumer advocate ranging from budget fights to neoconservatism. One bit is particularly relevant for political junkies.
When I asked Nader, who mounted campaigns for the presidency in 2000, 2004 and 2008, if he would consider running again, he answered that it was “very unlikely.”
“You have millions of people who say run, run, run,” he said. “Then you put yourself out there and find they are voting for Obama. Until they become mature, until they realize that if they generate 5 to 8 million votes behind a progressive third-party candidate for leverage, what is the point? Why should people try four or five times? Let someone else do it.
“The people who go out there with some credibility and record, go into 50 states, sweat it out month after month, beating back ballot access obstacles, fighting the Democrats who are trying to suppress free speech and candidate choices for the voters, and then you still can’t get on the air to discuss civil liberties,” he said. “Never mind that they do not want to upset dear Obama or dear [John] Kerry. They don’t give you air time to discuss the simple issue of the denial of civil liberties and the crushing of third parties.”
Nader is sounding more and more burnt out with running for office. Who can blame him after five successive presidential campaigns? In previous months, he called for another progressive standard bearer to step up to the task of a run, although he had kept the possibility of a bid alive. Now, Nader sounds increasingly less enthusiastic about such a prospect.
In the short-term, this is good news for the national Green Party. For the last two presidential cycles Green presidential candidates have split between one and one and a half percent of the electorate with Nader, so his exit could provide an opportunity for the Greens to reconsolidate their pulpit as spokesmen for disenchanted leftists.
But a big problem remains: who would be the spokesman? This is not a new problem; the Green Party has no obvious candidate to excite the base and run a vigorous campaign like Nader did in 2000. The clock continues to tick as the 2012 presidential race begins to heat up.