The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Sunday, May 23, 2004

CAN WE TAKE NADER AT FACE-VALUE ON THIS ONE?

Associated Press: Nader Advises Kerry on VP Candidates...
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Sunday he had advised John Kerry to choose North Carolina Sen. John Edwards or Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt as his running mate on the Democratic ticket.

Kerry won't discuss whom he is considering for vice president, but his advisers have been examining Edwards and Gephardt, two of Kerry's rivals from the Democratic primaries.

"They're very careful," Nader said on ABC's "This Week." "They're not going to cause him any embarrassment. And they do bring an additional voter support for him."

Kerry met with Nader in Washington on Wednesday, but didn't ask the third-party candidate to quit the presidential race despite widespread Democratic fears that his candidacy could ensure President Bush's re-election.

Nader rejected the idea of Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona joining Kerry's ticket. Kerry has repeatedly praised McCain and many in Washington have speculated about the appeal of a Kerry-McCain ticket, but Nader said: "McCain really should be taken at his word. ... He's not going to do it."

Nader also said he wouldn't support Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh for vice president because "he's a very soft Democrat."
Okay, let me get this straight. Ralph Nader has reinvented himself this year as "the peace candidate" as his campaign website makes abundantly clear in numerous places. He mused last fall that he probably wouldn't run if Howard Dean or Dennis Kucinich became the nominee, largely because of their unambiguous stances on Iraq. And suddenly, when asked about Kerry's VP choice, he floats the names of two Congressmen (Gep and Edwards) who both voted for the same Iraq war resolution Kerry did. Frankly, this makes my head hurt.

There are two possibilities at play here:

1) Either that meeting with Kerry last wednesday went a LOT better than anyone expected (as in, Nader will be our next Secretary of Labor or Energy?), or

2) Nader is trying to solidify his position as the anti-war candidate by urging Kerry to pick a running mate who voted for the war resolution. Nader says we should take McCain for his word, but can we do the same for Nader here?

Also, if Nader is sincere, his comments beg some other questions, the most prominent one being "if Kerry picks Gep or Edwards, will Nader alter, downscale or terminate his campaign?" If I had to guess, the answer would be a variation on "No, but...".

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