The man’s ego knows no bounds. He has lost the backing of the progressives who spoke out for him in 2000. He is losing the support of the groups he founded — as Public Citizen backs away from him. Matt Gross says it well, when he writes:
Not content with having destroyed, in 2000, the reputation he had built up over a lifetime as a trusted champion of progressive causes, Ralph Nader is once again embarking on one of the greatest ego quests in American history.
While most progressives have turned away from the mirror long enough to look at the Bush administration and realize that defeating Dubya is the only priority in 2004, old Ralph is still transfixed by his own gaze. (Look how beautiful and righteous I am!)
And what’s so sad is this just reminds me of my PIRG days. So many of the upper echelon of the PIRG staffers had the same sort of self-righteous arrogance that Nader showed on Meet the Press today. There really were only two sides to every argument, the PIRG side and all the wrong people. I didn’t always agree with the exact PIRG line, and it was for that reason that my time at PIRG was short-lived. I managed to redefine my own activism into education, choosing teaching as my grass-roots activism, but I also saw a ton of 22 year olds look at PIRG and think, "Well, if this is the activist life — and if this is how progressives act — I’ll just go to law school instead." Clearly, PIRG isn’t the only model, just as Nader is not the only progressive out there, but they were one of the organizations that hired young people. Just as Nader’s prominence in presidental politics gives him a very powerful voice in the progressive movement. Both Nader and the PIRGs wanted such loyalty from their supporters that dissent wasn’t really part of the equation.
I don’t know… when the Nation, when members of the party you were claiming to help to build (why did you abandon the Greens, Ralph?), when so many people who should be your supporters beg you not to run, and you choose not to listen to any of them, why should any of us listen to you?
By the way: The Nation’s Open Letter to Nader is a must read.