Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nader 2008 Presidential Exploratory Committee Launched!

Nader 2008 Presidential Exploratory Committee Launched!


Here’s a safe bet: the two major political parties will nominate
Presidential candidates from the corporate wings of their parties.

What will that leave us in this election year?

Corporate control as usual.

If this happens, we have two choices ­ throw in the towel.

Or fight back.

If we choose to fight back, here’s a good option:

Join with a person whose life is one of dedicated service to the
public interest.

To help him organize a political campaign in every state against
corporate control over our lives.

Luckily, that person ­ Ralph Nader ­ is considering such a

But he will need active and informed citizens in every Congressional
district in the country.

He will need volunteers.

He will need funds.

He will need dedication.

That’s why we’ve signed on at Nader’s exploratory
web site:

Check it out.

And spread the word.

In 2008, it’s either sit back and watch the drift.

Or get off the couch and fight back.

Hope you will join us.

Thank you.

The Nader Team

* * * * *

Nader announces presidential exploratory

Rick Klein
ABC News, January 30, 2008

Ralph Nader has formed a presidential exploratory
committee, and said in an interview Wednesday
that he will launch another presidential bid if
he's convinced he can raise enough money to
appear on the vast majority of state ballots this

Nader, who ran as an independent candidate in
each of the past three presidential elections,
told that he will run in 2008 if he
is convinced over the next month that he would be
able to raise $10 million over the course of the
campaign attract enough lawyers willing to work
free of charge to get his name on state ballots.

Nader said he filed papers with the Federal
Election Commission and launched a Web site after
Dennis Kucinich, a liberal Ohio congressman,
announced his decision to withdraw from the
presidential race last week.

He was set to announce that he had formed an
exploratory committee Wednesday, even before
former Sen. John Edwards made it known that he'd
be ending his candidacy. But with Edwards who has
made economic populism and ending poverty
cornerstones of his campaign leaving the
Democratic field, Nader said, he feels his
candidacy is more urgent than ever.

"When Kucinich threw in the towel, now you have
Edwards gone who's going to carry the torch of
democratic populism against the relentless
domination of powerful corporations of our
government?" Nader said. "You can't just brush
these issues to the side because the candidates
are ignoring them."

He has harsh words for the leading Democratic
candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack
Obama, chastising them for failing to advance
aggressive plans to tax corporations more fairly,
and to fight for a vastly higher minimum wage.

Obama, he said, is a particular disappointment,
since his background suggests that he knows the
importance of progressive issues yet hasn't
fought for them in the Senate.

"His record in the Senate is pretty mediocre,"
Nader said. "His most distinctive characteristic
is the extent to which he censors himself. He
hasn't performed as a really progressive
first-term senator would."

His "self-censorship," Nader said, "is a
reflection of character."

He's no kinder to the Republican frontrunner,
Sen. John McCain. "Senator McCain is the
candidate of perpetual war," he said.

Nader also rejects the "spoiler" label many
Democrats have applied to him since 2000, when
his candidacy was blamed in some circles for
helping defeat Democratic candidate Al Gore.

"That is the sign of political bigotry," he said.
"Why aren't the major candidates spoilers? They
represent parties that spoil our electoral system
and our government."

1 comment:

Jason Nabewaniec said...

Democracy Now! 1/31/08

AMY GOODMAN: The presidential field narrowed by two
on Wednesday, when Republican Rudolph Giuliani and
Democrat John Edwards dropped out of the race, a day
after they both placed third in the Florida
primaries. Giuliani made his announcement in
California just hours before the Republican debate.
The former New York mayor threw his support behind
Senator John McCain. Meanwhile, John Edwards made his
farewell address in New Orleans, where he launched
his campaign thirteen months ago. Edwards did not
endorse any of the Democratic candidates.

. . .

We're now joined on the phone by David Bonior. He
served as the national campaign manager for John
Edwards. Bonior is a former U.S. congressman who
represented the 12th District in Michigan from 1976
to 2002.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Congressman Bonior.

DAVID BONIOR: Good morning. How are you?

[first part of interview skipped]

AMY GOODMAN: David Bonior, I wanted to ask you to
stay on the line for a minute. Here, you have John
Edwards dropping out, and on the same day, longtime
consumer advocate and two-time presidential candidate
Ralph Nader launched a presidential exploratory
committee to decide whether to run as an independent.
Ralph Nader ran on the Green ticket in '96 and 2000,
as an independent in 2004, which would make him
three-time presidential candidate. On his website,
Ralph Nader is urging supporters to "discipline the
corporate crooks and lobbyists and their corporate
candidates." He joins us now in Washington, D.C. in

Ralph Nader, what are your plans?

RALPH NADER: Well, I've launched the exploratory
committee with a website,, for
those who want to get more details, in order to test
the waters in three areas. One is to see if we have
an adequate number of volunteers to run a robust
fifty-state campaign that would include a network of
pro bono lawyers to deal with the obstruction to
ballot access that the Democrats engaged in in '04,
filing twenty-three lawsuits against us in just
twelve weeks in that year, most of which we won. And
second, to get adequate resources, contributions,
donations ... obviously, we're not taking any money
from corporate sources or political action
committees. And that's possible on the website And finally, to get a talented,
committed staff that connects with people's daily
lives and that can help organize one thousand people
in each congressional district, not just for '08, but
also for '09 and later. Congress really is the pivot
institution that is most susceptible to change by
popular forces, and, of course, it's the most
powerful branch of our government, if they care to
use that power, like the impeachment power or the war
declaration power under our Constitution.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Ralph Nader, you
announced this exploratory committee the day that
John Edwards dropped out. You had said that Nader ...
you had said that "Edwards now has the most
progressive message across a broad spectrum of any
leading candidate I've seen in years," while he was
running. Are you coming in because he just left and you
saw this progressive stance dropping out of the race?

RALPH NADER: Well, I didn't expect John Edwards to
drop out so quickly, because he said for weeks that
he was going to go all the way to the convention, and
there were reports that he was going to have enough
delegates to perhaps broker the convention between,
say, Obama and Clinton. So that was rather
disappointing. But the signs were clear that he was
coming in third.

And I think it's very important to note that there's
a difference between a populist platform and a record
of commitment over the years. And I think my forty
years indicate that I can be relied on to really
pursue the shift of power that's necessary from the
few to the many in the area of our political economy,
in the area of our constitutional principles and in
the area of domestic and foreign policy. I don't
think that necessarily was the case with Senator
Edwards when he was a senator. So he did provide a
very good service in focusing on poverty, which was a
no-no word for years by the Democratic Party,
including President Clinton. He would always refer to
the middle class as if he didn't have fifty million
men, women and children in dire poverty in the
country's ... in the world's richest country.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ...

RALPH NADER: So I think there's never enough forces
of justice, Amy. There's never enough forces of
justice to combat the concentration of power in the
hands of the few used against the many in our
country, representing giant corporations who
basically have turned Washington into corporate-
occupied territory.

AMY GOODMAN: David Bonior, your response to the
possible run of Ralph Nader for president of the
United States?

DAVID BONIOR: Well, I've always been an admirer of
Ralph Nader and his record, his long record, as he
has just indicated, over forty-something years, and
his work as a public citizen has just been one of the
more outstanding efforts in this country on behalf of
working folks and social and economic justice. So,
you know, I really admire his work and his voice. And
we need voices like Ralph Nader's in this country
speaking up on these issues.

I would say, however, though, that one of the things
I think it's important to look to in people is how
they mature, how they grow. And one of the things
that drew me to John Edwards was the fact that his
maturation as an activist, as a person of commitment
in social and economic justice, was quite an amazing
thing to see, especially in the last, I'd say, five
or six years. There were some votes that he cast in
his early years in the Senate that I was not
comfortable with. The war vote, for instance, was one
of them. I helped lead the effort against the war in
the House when he was voting for it with virtually
everyone else in the Senate. But I watched him grow
on that issue, as well as all the other socioeconomic
issues that we've touched on here and raised his
voice and not be afraid to raise his voice. And, you
know, that speech he gave at Riverside Church
relatively recently in which he quoted Dr. King by
saying that silence is a betrayal, a takeoff on
King's remarks forty ... when King spoke there on his
opposition to the war in Vietnam. It's pretty
indicative, I think, of where John Edwards has come
from over the course of the years, and I think that
we need to recognize people who make that journey.
It's rare when people do it at that stage in their
lives, so when they do it and they speak out and it's
meaningful and they show it through their actions
over a period of years, I think we need to embrace
them. And so, Ralph has a long record ... there's no
doubt about that ... the longest probably of any
progressive in this country, but there are others we
need to bring along, and young people, of course, are
one in which he's after, obviously, with his website
and his entree to the race. And ...

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think, David Bonior, of
Ralph Nader running for president? What do you think
it would mean for the presidential race in this

DAVID BONIOR: I think it's always important to have
voices that express progressive views and populist
views. I mean, I'm glad Ron Paul ... I mean, I don't
agree with Ron Paul on very many things. In fact, you
know, it's wherever the 'tween shall meet. When we
were in the House together, we used to actually vote
on things together, because we came from a different

AMY GOODMAN: So would you encourage Ralph Nader to run?

DAVID BONIOR: I'm sorry, I can't hear you.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you encourage Ralph Nader to run?

DAVID BONIOR: That's Ralph's decision. And I'll ...
we'll watch and see how this develops, and we'll
watch and see how the other candidates respond in the
Democratic race.

AMY GOODMAN: David Bonior, I want to thank you for
being with us, national campaign manager for John
Edwards. John Edwards dropped out of the presidential
race yesterday, where he started, in New Orleans.
This is Democracy Now!,, the War and
Peace Report. When we come back, we'll stay with
Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, three-time
presidential candidate. Will he run again? He's
started an exploratory committee. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Ralph Nader, three-time
presidential candidate. Will he make it four? He has
just formed an exploratory committee to decide
whether to run for president here in this year, 2008.
Ralph Nader, the issue of running and taking away
votes from the Democrats, take that on, something
that has made many people very angry, feeling that
you took the race from Al Gore at a time that was
absolutely critical for this country.

RALPH NADER: Well, if you ask Al Gore, he'll give you
ten reasons, each of which independently was a cause
of his losing. He believes he won ... I agree he won
... in Florida, but it was stolen from him before,
during, and after the election by the Secretary of
State and Jeb Bush, all the way from Tallahassee to
that atrocious political decision by the Supreme
Court. There are a lot of "what if's," Amy. What if
he got Tennessee? What if he got Arkansas? What if
the mayor of Florida didn't go to Madrid and not
bring out thousands of his votes?

Anybody who looks at an independent or third party
candidate, whether it's a Green Party candidate or
Independent Party candidate, and uses the words "Are
you taking away votes from the Democrats?" in my
view, is basically saying that small party candidates
are second-class citizens. Either we have an equal
right to run for elective office in our country, or
we are basically developing a two-tier system, where
the two dominant parties, with all their commercial
support, control the votes in this country. So either
none of us are spoilers, because we have an equal
right to run, or all of us, because we're trying to
take votes from one another, are spoilers. There's no
stratification. When that word "spoiler" is used to
attach to a small party candidate, that, to me, is
clear political bigotry, just as if it was used
against a class of voters years ago during the pre-
civil rights era. So I think ballot access is a major
civil liberties issue, and people in this country,
whether they like it or not, must recognize how
discriminatory that word is and must try to adhere to
what the polls tell us, that they really want more
voices and choices and that about 60 percent of the
people of this country want a viable third party,
even though they may not vote for that party.

So we have to get over it, and liberals especially
have got to get over their easy abdication of least-
worst voting for the Democrats, where they don't put
any pressure or they don't make any demands on the
Democrats, because they fear that the Republicans are
worse. That sets up a system where the corporations
are pulling 24/7 the Democrats in their direction to
become corporate Democrats, like the corporate
Republicans, and no one is pulling the other way.
Why? Because they're all freaked out by the
Republicans, and they're going for least-worst
voting. All the bargaining power of progressives and
liberals atrophy with that attitude.

So if they don't want to support a small party
candidate, if they don't want to go to our website,, and see the reasons in that
remarkable letter by my supporters that's on that
website, see the reasons why we are testing the
waters, then they at least have to make demands on
the Democratic Party, which they did not make in '00
against Gore and they did not make against John
Kerry. In fact, they had a moratorium on
demonstrations against the war in '04.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, you, a while ago, said that
if Hillary Clinton were the Democratic presidential
nominee, you would run for president against her.
What is your assessment of Barack Obama?

RALPH NADER: My assessment of Barack Obama is that he
knows what the score is in terms of the male
distribution of power. He knows what he has said in
the past about the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the
need for Palestinian rights and a two-state solution.
He knows that this war was a criminal war in Iraq and
we've got to get out of it in a responsible,
expeditious manner. He knows that corporations have
too much power over workers and consumers and small
taxpayers and elections and the government.

But when you watch him, he stays at a very high plain
of generality and abstraction about change, and we're
one nation, and we're one people. And that may sing
with the desire of people to feel like they're part
of a unity, but it doesn't do much for the
productivity of the political dialogue. He does not
get specific enough. Therefore, I think his main
problem is he's censoring himself, and that is not
sufficiently rationalized by saying that's just a
tactic to win the primaries and get elected. After
awhile, day after day, week after week, when you
self-censor yourself, you become a different person,
and it's a reflection on character.

I also think that if he didn't self-censor himself,
if he started reverberating to the many mainstream
press reports on corporate crime, fraud and abuse
against pensions, against workers, against small
investors; on the labor laws that are obstructing
workers from organizing; on the need to have a
foreign policy that isn't militaristic; on the need
to have an efficient military budget, where he said
he wants to enlarge and modernize the military, which
is already absorbing half of the federal government's
operating expenditures; on the need to direct
taxpayer money to the necessities of the American
people and not to pour them into corporate subsidies,
handouts, giveaways, bailouts, which we call
corporate welfare; on the need to protect consumers,
especially in the inner city, from the rapacious
practices of lenders; etc., I think he would
enormously advance the number of people who would
support him. And he certainly has the intellect to do

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he has different positions
than Hillary Clinton? And what is your assessment of her?

RALPH NADER: His declared positions almost fit the
definition of protective imitation. They're too close
to Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a corporate
Democrat. There's no better evidence of that than the
Fortune magazine cover story in June of last year,
which basically said business loves Hillary. Hillary
is a big business candidate.

And so, I think the healthcare proposal is a perfect
example by Barack Obama of this protective imitation.
Why doesn't he go for full Medicare? Why doesn't he
go for a deeper analysis of the healthcare problem in
this country, namely the need to emphasize prevention
of disease and trauma, the need to knock out $220
billion of billing fraud and abuse, according to the
Government Accountability Office and Malcolm Sparrow
at Harvard University, against the need to reduce
malpractice and stop blocking action to go to the
courts for the tens of thousands of people who are
injured or killed because of the small percentage of
reckless doctors operating in this country who should
have their license suspended? He should also focus on
the enormous administrative expense savings from full
Medicare ... one payer, not 1,500 payers and cross-
billings, etc., that are now taking about $300
billion to $400 billion.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you more likely to run if Hillary
Clinton is the candidate, the nominee, as opposed to
Barack Obama?

RALPH NADER: Well, I'm more likely to run in this
testing-the-water period if we get sufficient
committed volunteers in each congressional district.
We're appealing to young and old alike. We want to
bring young people into electoral politics, so they
can become the leaders of the future, both in terms
of running for election at the local, state and
national level and managing elections. I think we're
also trying to test the degree of funds. We would
like to raise, if I run, $10 million, so we can have
a viable campaign. And we've had a very nice response
over the last twenty-four hours to our website, And, of course, we're looking for
those pro bono lawyers. We're looking for the
talented people who really want to get off their
couches, want to stop the despair, want to stop the
discouragement and want to go forward. You know, the
interesting thing, Amy, is the people have the power
if they only realized it, organized it and focused
it. There are only 1,500 corporations, largely, that
are running a majority of 535 members of Congress,
who put their shoes on every day like we do.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you something ...

RALPH NADER: And there are millions of people out
there who want a country they can bequeath to their
descendants with pride.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of Barack Obama's
recent endorsement by Massachusetts Senator Ted
Kennedy, along with Congressmember Patrick Kennedy,
his son, and his niece, Caroline Kennedy, the
daughter of President John F. Kennedy? This is the
Obama campaign commercial made by Caroline Kennedy.

CAROLINE KENNEDY: Once we had a president who made
people feel hopeful about America and brought us
together to do great things. Today, Barack Obama
gives us that same chance. He makes us believe in
ourselves again, that when we act as one nation we
can overcome any challenge. People always tell me how
my father inspired them. I feel that same excitement
now. Barack Obama can lift America and make us one
nation again.

BARACK OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response to Caroline Kennedy's
endorsement and her comparison of Barack Obama
to John Kennedy?

RALPH NADER: Well, I think it's an inspirational
message. I think the Kennedys made the right move.
I think they have been simmering quietly over the
years about the behavior and performance of Bill Clinton.
I think that's part of the shift away from Clinton to
Obama. Whether it means more votes remains to be
seen, but it certainly has given Obama a higher
profile for a few days.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, if you run, would you run
as an independent or would you run for the Green
Party nomination?

RALPH NADER: Well, if I run ... and we are testing
the waters now ... I would certainly go for the
ballot lines with the Green Party. I would go for ...

AMY GOODMAN: So you would go against Cynthia McKinney?

RALPH NADER: We'll go for ... well, that remains to
be seen. It's a little early right now. But we'll go
independent in states where there aren't any parties.
We'll look for progressive small parties at the state
level. You have to do that just to get on state
ballots, where there are very obstructive rules. And
my campaign manager, Theresa Amato, in '04 is
finishing a very detailed book on this major civil
liberties issue of obstructing candidates' rights,
without which voter rights aren't worth very much.
When you have 90 percent of the House districts one party ...

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, we only have ... we have
less than a minute. John McCain said we could be in
Iraq for a hundred years. He's the leading Republican
candidate. For those who say you'll take votes from
the Democrats, none of them are saying we'll be there
for a hundred years. What is your response, that your
run could be a matter of life or death for people in Iraq?

RALPH NADER: Well, I would hope that we would push
the Democrats into taking a more forceful stand in
Congress to withdraw from Iraq in a propitious
manner. I would hope the Democrats would look at our
progressive agenda, if I run, and say, "Let's take
living wage away. Let's take full Medicare away.
Let's crack down on corporate crime, fraud and abuse.
Let's get a new tax system." I think this idea of
taking votes away is a very pernicious subversion of
progressive agendas and progressive movements in the
country. I think John McCain's greatest Achilles'
heel is that he has demonstrated again and again,
most recently in Florida ...

AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.

RALPH NADER: ... that he is the candidate of a perpetual war.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, I want to thank you for
being with us. His website is