I found the image below when I started up Firefox to see the front-page MSNBC article on Ralph Nader’s declaration of his third run at presidential candidacy.

nadermsnbc.jpg

It irritated me for myriad reasons. The first came prompted from my years as a writer and editor; such a typo is just sloppy, and I think it says one of two things- either the journalist in question has such an extreme bias against Democrats that he or she felt the need to repeat the information twice, or that much of the article is simply cut-and-pasted from another source. The latter might well be the case; the bulk of the article probably came from a release from the Associated Press or somesuch, and it was just plopped in.

Which does, in fact, little to comfort me.

Someone somewhere wrote it. And two me, the repeated text is a direct swipe. I suppose I ultimately categorize as a Democrat; so far, this cycle, I favor an Obama/Edwards ticket (I’d’ve loved the reverse). But I have similar feelings for McCain as for Clinton; neither strikes me as a terrifying choice, and both strike me as adequate. In ’04, I cast for Kerry/Edwards.

I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t vote in ’00. I’m from Jersey, so I don’t think it made much of a difference either way.

But here’s the thing; I don’t know if Nader cost Gore the election in ’00. It’s entirely possible, I suppose. But you know what? I don’t think Gore would have handled the ’00-’04 well, either. I can’t imagine Gore having been president on 9/11. Perhaps it would have bucked him up and forced him to grow a backbone, but Gore always struck me as the most milquetoast of politicians. The only thing I knew about Dan Quayle as VP was that he couldn’t spell ‘potato,’ but I was, like, eight at the time; I knew less about Gore, and I was in college when he was VP, studying political science at one point, even.

It’s nice Gore won both the Oscar and the Peace prize for his environmental work, but I don’t recall much initiative toward the environment he took during his ’92-’00 terms. The current movement toward green (and that’s the environmental one, not Nader’s political party) is too little, too late, and I’m probably one of the few people with a scientific background who doesn’t believe in global warming, because what we’re facing is something a helluva lot bigger than that, and it’s called climate change (the change has been exacerbated and speeded by global warming, but global warming is just the start).

People blame Bush for not becoming involved enough in the environment and the Kyoto treaty, but the thing about the weather is that it didn’t just change. I remember being scared about holes in the ozone as early as 4th grade, which I think would’ve been around the mid-80s.

I don’t claim Nader’s candidacy siphoned votes away from Gore; if people were going to vote for him, they would have. If Gore had demonstrated more effectively he was a better candidate, people would have voted for him.

My feeling is that ’00 never should have been a Bush/Gore election in the first place. Bush smeared McCain six ways to Sunday, and before then, McCain had the better numbers. And if I could’ve chosen leadership in retrospect post-9/11, I’d want McCain in the role.

Nader can run. It won’t matter. To believe that McCain and Clinton are different candidates simply because one’s blue and the other’s red is folly. Obama is charismatic enough it’s not going to matter who he runs against if he wins the nom; he’ll win or lose depending on his campaign, not on his opponents.