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May 24, 2004
Ralph Nader, Political Advisor to Democrats

John Kerry has been given plenty of advice on selecting his candidate for Vice President; pundits and politicos alike have weighed in on the matter. Some even have suggested picking a Republican, apparently convinced that there are no qualified Democrats. (I've suggested that they need to address the same problem at the top of the ticket.) The AP reports today that one more politico has met with Kerry and extended his advice -- only the man in question intends on running against John Kerry in the general election:

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said he had advised John Kerry to choose North Carolina Sen. John Edwards or Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. ...

"They're very careful," Nader said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "They're not going to cause him any embarrassment. And they do bring an additional voter support for him."

The advice is savvy enough, but why is Nader being so helpful to Kerry? Nader told "This Week" that he specifically advised Kerry directly; Nader wasn't engaging in idle speculation or analysis. Nader also told ABC that he (Nader) rejects the notion of using McCain or Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to build a so-called "unity ticket," mostly because Nader thinks neither would agree to it. Besides, Nader doesn't like their political views, a problem that pro-McCain Democrats have completely ignored in their do-anything frenzy to win at all costs. Nader even rejected Democratic Senator Evan Bayh for being too moderate, which caused Bayh to respond, "I'm happy he's not registered to vote in Indiana."

The Kerry campaign truly erred in allowing Kerry to attend the Leftist Summit with Nader last week. Not only did the meeting end without Nader's withdrawal from the race, now Nader embarrasses Kerry by going on national TV, telling everyone that he has to advise Kerry on how to pick a VP. The fact that Nader sounds a lot more coherent on this issue than other Democrats, such as Bob Kerrey and Hillary Clinton, who have pushed for a Kerry-McCain ticket, calls into question which leftist campaign is more removed from reality. Small wonder that the Kerry campaign flounders while Bush faces the worst re-election year for an incumbent since 1980.

Can you imagine how Nader will react if Kerry actually chooses one of the two men Nader suggested, either of which are likely on Kerry's short list anyway? Does the Nader endorsement effectively kill their chances? Either way, Nader's done a fine job of making Kerry look like an aimless tool and possibly just sabotaged two VP candidates who could have re-energized Kerry's campaign. Does anyone at the DNC know how to run for President?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 24, 2004 3:06 PM

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