Nader Doesn't Want to Beat Obama, Just Weaken Him

A 2012 election sans Democratic primary sounds too boring for the activist

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Does Ralph Nader ever wonder why conservative outlets like the Washington Times want to talk to him? Nader told the Times' Seth McLaughlin that he wants to recruit a candidate to challenge President Obama in the 2012 Democratic primary so that liberal issues aren't "muted and ignored" -- and also so the 2012 race isn't boring. "What we are looking at now is the dullest presidential campaign since Walter Mondale -- and that's saying something, believe me," Nader said.

Nader's call for primary candidates was signed by 150 fellow disappointed liberals, including Cornel West and Gore Vidal, men not really known for their ability to reach out to the mainstream America that Nader says he represents. Nader says he doesn't want to beat Obama--just weaken him, apparently, through a primary battle. As Nader told the Los Angeles Times' Mark Z. Barabak, he doesn't want an Obama loss, but "just the opposite," and insists that a Democratic campaign to point out all the ways the president has failed liberals will somehow rally them to the president's side in the general election. (As the Brookings Institution's Darrell West told McLaughlin, a primary challenger is one of the top signs a sitting president won't be reelected.)

The liberal blog Balloon Juice finds this campaign infuriating--the nicest thing said about Nader's progressive crew is a sarcastic reference to them as "strategic geniuses" who "always function as the reliable Left flank of wingnutopia," and points to a Nader interview with Salon's Justin Elliott in which he praises Sarah Palin for a speech she gave to the Tea Party in Iowa.
"I think she's a lot smarter than most people credit her... Judging by her comments, she is squarely in the camp of conservative populism, opposed to corporatism and its corporate state."
Why does Nader like Palin so much? Because she "sounded... like Nader," Elliott writes. "And Nader agreed." The three-time presidential candidate surely admires her media strategy as well.
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