Slowly Decomposing Corpse: I'm Running for President

Noted seatbelt booster, megalomaniacal popularity wanter and country ruiner Ralph Nader has announced his third run for the presidency. If you're on the fence about Ralph--if you think all his good work on consumer rights outweighs the damage he's done to this country in more recent years--you should check out this New Republic piece from the last election cycle, which puts the lie to "The good Nader" myth.

Or, click through for a couple highlights...

For starters, Nader has always been hella paranoid:

"Ralph was a very suspicious man," former Labor Secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan said of his onetime subordinate. "He used to warn me that the phones at the Labor Department might be tapped. I'd say, 'Fine! They'll learn that the unemployment rate for March is 5.3 percent, that's what they'll learn.'"

He's also never been one to let annoying facts to get in the way of his greater truth:

In 1971, Nader pressured one of his associates, Lowell Dodge, to sex up his study "Small on Safety: The Designed-in Dangers of the Volkswagen." Nader insisted that Dodge rewrite the conclusion of the study so that it began, "The Volkswagen is the most hazardous car in use in significant numbers in the U.S. today." Objecting that "the conclusion is not reflected in the data," Dodge left the project, allowing others to take credit as principal authors. "I have always carried around considerable guilt about what I regard as the extreme intellectual dishonesty of that conclusion," he said.

And he's always been tragically pig-headed:

In 1970, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to create a Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), what Nader called his highest legislative goal. But, just days after praising the bill, Nader turned against it, saying that "intolerable erosions" had rendered the bill "unacceptable." Without Nader's backing, the bill lost momentum and died in committee. The pattern repeated itself, as the CPA passed either the House or the Senate five more times over the next six years, but Nader rejected every bill as too compromised. "Ralph could have had a consumer agency bill in any of three Congresses," liberal consumer activist and former Nader associate Mike Pertschuk said. "But he held out for the perfect bill."

The final defeat came in 1978. Again, Nader's strategy was to impugn every Democrat who harbored any reservations at all about the bill. He maligned Washington Representative Tom Foley as "a broker for agribusiness"--despite the fact that Foley had bucked agribusiness to pass a bill regulating meatpackers. He attacked Colorado liberal Pat Schroeder, who had supported earlier versions of the CPA but had minor reservations this time, as a "mushy liberal" selling her vote to corporate contributors. He so alienated Democrats that, as the measure went down to defeat, one reportedly said as he voted no, "This one's for you, Ralph." House Speaker Tip O'Neill told The Washington Post, "I know of about eight guys who would have voted for us if it were not for Nader."

In other words, Nader didn't somewhere along the line morph into the intolerable, sanctimonious prick we now know him to be. It's been his M.O. since day one.

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