Lauren Rabaino

2008 is shaping up to be a Democratic year, but even Republicans deserve a bit of good news once in a while, and no, I am not talking about John McCain getting laid… allegedly. The news I am referring to is Ralph Nader’s decision to run for the presidency.

Republicans fondly remember Nader’s role as spoiler during the 2000 election in Florida, which allowed the current Bush administration to surface instead of an Al Gore presidency. Now it appears Nader will again try his best to thwart Democrats this year and help get John McCain elected president.

Of course, old Ralphy-boy doesn’t believe any of this. The man is still living in a massive state of denial, which was on full display last Sunday on “Meet the Press,” where he told Tim Russert “this bit about ‘spoiler’ is really very astonishing.” He also added that Al Gore, corporations and the Supreme Court are what cost Democrats the 2000 election. Seemingly everybody except Amy Winehouse and Ralph Nader was to blame for the defeat.

Furthermore, Nader ignored Russert’s assertion that Bush won in 2000 by 537 votes in Florida where Nader grabbed 97,488 votes. Russert even mentioned New Hampshire, where Bush’s margin was 7,211 and Nader drew 22,188 votes. “A win by Gore in either state would have put him in the White House,” as Newsday wrote in 2004.

To be fair, Ralphy’s denial shouldn’t surprise us; wouldn’t we all be in denial if we knew we helped make the Bush presidency a reality? Nader is also partially right because the Supreme Court did stop the recount even though Gore had more votes than Bush, with or without Green Party intervention. Nevertheless, what angers me about this current Nader candidacy isn’t that it reopens old political wounds, but that his campaign serves absolutely no purpose but to satisfy his own ego and need for attention.

Disagree? Nader himself said on “Meet on Press” that if the Democrats don’t “win in a landslide… they should just close down.” The only logical question to ask is: Why the hell are you running for Ralph?

He can’t say it’s because he wants to publicize some issues important to the American people, as he’s already publicized imperative issues in the past without running for office. Consequently, Nader claims he’s running because people are disenchanted with a two-party system and the candidates. What planet is he living on? Doesn’t he see the record turnouts and enthusiastic support for Clinton and Obama? Looking at the facts, it’s obvious that Nader has entered the realm of individuals who use the presidential campaign cycle to live out their narcissistic delusions of grandeur on a national stage (See: Ross Perot, Rudy Giuliani, Alan Keyes, Fred Thompson, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, etc.).

This revelation is tragic, considering Nader was once a true American hero. Years ago, he pointed out the safety problems of automobiles in his book “Unsafe At Any Speed,” much to the chagrin of car companies and conservatives who tried to label him a “crank” who just cared about the publicity. Of course, back then the critics were wrong; however, now it appears those old charges might apply because Nader is throwing his tattered hat into the ring for a fourth time (at the vibrant age of 74), for no real cause.

Ultimately, I don’t doubt that there’s a portion of America that agrees strongly with Ralph Nader on some of the issues, but despite people’s wishful thinking, we don’t have a parliamentary system. Any votes Nader attracts will be drained from the Democratic nominee and conceivably cost an Electoral College victory. That was the case in 2000 with Al Gore; let’s hope it’s not the case in 2008 with Obama or Clinton.

Patrick Molnar is a business junior and a Mustang Daily liberal columnist.

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