RUSSERT: Will you run for president as an Independent in 2008?
NADER: Let me put it in context, to make it a little more palatable to people who have closed minds. 24% of the American people are satisfied with the state of the country, according to Gallup. That’s about the lowest ranking ever. 61% think both major parties are failing. And according to Frank Luntz’s poll, the Republican, 80% will consider voting for an independent this year. Now you take that framework, of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized, disrespected and you go from Iraq to Palestine to Israel. From Enron to Wall Street. From Katrina to the bungling of the Bush administration to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts, getting a decent energy bill through and you have to ask yourself, as a citizen, should we elaborate the issues that the two are not talking about? And the…all the candidates, McCain, Obama and Clinton, are against single-payer health insurance. Full Medicare for all. I’m for it. As well as millions of Americans and 59% of physicians in a forthcoming poll this April. People don’t like Pentagon waste, the bloated military budget, all of the reports in the press and the GAO reports. A wasteful defense is a weak defense. It takes away taxpayer money that can go to the necessities of the American people. That’s off the table, to Obama and Clinton and McCain. The issue of labor law reform: repealing the notorious Taft-Hartley act, that keeps workers who are now more defenseless than ever against corporate globalization from organizing to defend their interests. Cracking down on corporate crime. The media—the mainstream media—repeatedly indicated how trillions of dollars have been drained and fleeced and looted from millions of workers and investors who don’t have many rights these days.
And pensioners. You know, when you see the paralysis of the government, when you see Washington D.C. be corporate-occupied territory—every department agency controlled by overwhelming presence of corporate lobbyists, corporate executives in high government positions—turning the government against its own people, one feels an obligation, Tim, to try to open the doorways, to try to get better ballot access, to respect dissent in America in terms of third parties and independent candidates. To recognize historically the great issues have come in our history—against slavery, women’s rights to vote, and worker and farmer progressives, through little parties that never ran…won any national election. Dissent is the mother of assent. And in that context, I have decided to run for President.
It was a simple yes or no question, Ralph. His "context for closed minds" frankly offends me. I don't disagree with anything that he said (other than citing Frank Luntz. I mean, come on!), and I am a big believer in having viable third, fourth and even fifth parties to help break the gridlock in Washington DC, I'm even a registered third party voter. That said, I have to ask: Where have you been, Ralph? What have you done in the last eight years (and I'm willing to hold the Democrats responsible for some--but not all--of the ongoing mess, but let's lay the onus for how messed up everything is squarely on the shoulders of the Bush administration) to help make third parties more viable and allow them a voice on the national stage? How is showing up more than a year into presidential politicking with just a few months left helpful to the validity of third parties?
Making independents more meaningful isn't an eleventh hour appearance on a talking head show. It takes years of sustained effort and commitment, something I haven't seen Nader do. So the question must be asked: who is this run really for?