Ralph Nader's foggy crystal ball

If he couldn't see much difference between Bush and Gore, how can he possibly tell Edwards and Clinton apart?

By Tim Grieve
January 2, 2008 8:11PM (UTC)
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One question about Ralph Nader's endorsement of John Edwards: If Nader had such a hard time seeing meaningful differences between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000 -- if he thought the men were so similar that it was fair to call them "Tweedledee and Tweedledum" -- how can he possibly find a way to distinguish Edwards from, say, Hillary Clinton?

Nader explains himself by arguing that Clinton would "pander to corporate interest groups" as president and has "not led the way against the avalanche of military contracting, corporate crime, fraud and abuse." By contrast, Nader says, Edwards is "at least highlighting day after day that the issue is who controls our country: big business or the people?"


Fair enough, at least as to Edwards.

But before anyone puts too much stock into Nader's skills when it comes to predicting politicians' future actions, maybe it makes sense to remember what Nader said about Gore a few days before the 2000 election. When Sam Donaldson suggested to Nader that Gore's views on the environment were much closer to his than Bush's were, Nader said that Gore could not "conform his deeds to his words," accused him of having only "linguistic differences" with Bush, and then asked: "Has Al Gore ever fought for any of these things, really?"

"He wrote a great book," Nader said of Gore, "but he can't put it in practice."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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