The spoiler of the 2000 presidential elections may be getting readt to throw his hat into the ring for 2008. Ralph Nader is putting out trial balloons concerning a possible run for the White House in 2008.
Many people claim that Nader's candidacy in 2000 siphoned off enough votes from Gore in Florida to deliver the state (and thus the presidency) to George W. Bush (who only won the state by a 537 vote margin). Now it looks as if Nader is ready to torpedo the presidential ambitions of another Clinton/Gore team member; this time going after Hillary herself.
It is no secret that Nader does not like Hillary Clinton and considers her a phony and not progressive enough. In 2000 Nader took only 1% of the popular vote. But, that was enough to deny Gore the White House. This time Nader has an even bigger issue upon which to base his candidacy; the war in Iraq.
On this issue Hillary is vulnerable to an attack from her left flank. Many die hard liberal democrats rail against anything that even remotely smells of being pro-Iraq War (they almost knocked off Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-CT,
last year), and they would certainly be disappointed (to say the least) in Hillary's positions on this war.
As a senator, Hillary voted for a resolution authorizing President Bush to take military action in Iraq. And she has gone on record as saying that she does not regret her vote. But, of course, that vote was taken when a confrontation with Saddam's Iraq was generally popular with the citizens of the U.S. and it was politically safe (indeed, politically wise) to vote for the resolution.
Now that the war is becoming increasingly unpopular, Hillary is trying to distance herself from her past support of that resolution. She recently stated that she voted to give the president:
"the authority to send inspectors back in (to Iraq) to determine the truth", but not"to authorize preemptive war."
Of course anyone can plainly see that she is trying to spin her way out of a corner and trying (perhaps in vain) to appease the more rabid anti-war wing of her base. In 2004 she flatly stated that she did not regret her vote which gave Bush the authority to launch military action in Iraq.http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/21/iraq.hillary/
But, Nader can, and will, attack her on her vote (and later support of that vote) to give the president the authority to go into Iraq. He would have no problems in trying to paint her present day statements against the Iraq War as simple political spin and pandering. To the more extreme left of the nation's voters, Nader could be music to their ears.
But, will Nader actually enter the race in 2008? Here is what he said recently on CNN:“I'm committed to trying to give more voices and choices to the American people on the ballot. That means more third parties, independent candidates and to break up this two-party elected dictatorship that is becoming more and more like a dial for the same corporate dollars.”
If he hasn't made up his mind yet, it definitely sounds like he is leaning towards running.
Does Nader have a real chance to cost Hillary votes from the left and thus cost her the White House the way he did to Gore in 2000? Former advisor to President Bill Clinton, Dick Morris thinks so. Morris says:
"The ranks of antiwar voters could swell Nader’s performance far above the dismal 1 percent he got in 2004 and even above the 3 percent he won in 2000. It is not inconceivable that Nader could pass 5-7 percent of the vote or go even higher if he is the only antiwar candidate in the field."
If Nader does draw in 5%-7% of the vote he would do so at Hillary's expense (by drawing in left-wing voters who would normally have voted for Hillary).
Even though the primaries are still about a year off, 2008 is shaping up to be a very wild ride for the Democratic Donkey.