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Two Questions Russert Didn't Ask Nader
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I saw Nader announces his intention to run for President on Meet the Press this morning, and there are two questions that Russert didn't ask him that he should have:

1. Last year you formed an Exploratory Committee, along with a survey posted on your website, asking voters for advice on whether or not you should run. What were the results of that survey? Will they be made public?

2. You are running as an independent, not a Green Party candidate. Why?

Otherwise, it was a reasonably interesting interview. Nader appeared as grumpy and ultra-liberal as usual. I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment that we've become entrenched in a corrupt two-party system (a "duopoly", as he called it), and that voters are dying for a viable third (or fourth, or fifth) party. Too bad he's not it.

I think what voters really want (at least what I want), is a candidate that combines the liberal ideals I most believe in with the conservative views I hold as well...someone who has thought through each issue individually, weighed its merits, and come to an informed decision.

Nader is not such a candidate. He's a fringe ultra-liberal...even further to the left of issues than the Democrats still in the race (with the possible exception of Kucinich). We need someone who can cull the most sensible policies from both sides, not someone who takes the Democratic platform and sees how far he can push it.

Nader distinguishes himself from his liberal kin in only one way: Special Interests. Even though he essentially agrees with all the issues of the Democrats, he thinks they've sold out to corporations. Nader speaks as if he would never take into consideration the views of any group or corporation. And yet he lauds unions. Are they not a special interest group? Would he never take campaign contributions from any group?

And then there's the hypocrisy of populist candidates speaking as if they've only just walked in with the shirt on their back. Russert brought up Nader's finances, pointing out estimates that he's worth about $3.5 million. But Nader won't disclose financial information, on the grounds that "there could be private information in there". His bizarre response continued by saying something like: "A candidate could have a retarded kid in an institution somewhere". Wha-huh? Candidates shouldn't disclose their finances because they might have retarded children they want to hide from the public? Yeah...he's not a fringe crank or anything.


Update: Here's the transcript, and the exact exchange over Nader's finances:

MR. RUSSERT: When you ran in 2000, you had a financial disclosure which showed your wealth at $3.8 million. Will you release your tax returns this year as well?

MR. NADER: First of all, about 85 to 90 percent of everything I've earned and raised has gone to all the citizen groups all over the country that for 35, 40 years have saved millions of lives and injuries, taken dangerous drugs off the marketplace. I think I have to remind people, especially young people, of what we've done and how much we love our country by the sweat of our work for justice for all Americans and also how important it is to give every American the chance to improve his or her country, not block them by corporate interests and their politic allies.

MR. RUSSERT: But in terms of...

MR. NADER: Wait. Wait.

MR. RUSSERT: ...full disclosure.

MR. NADER: Let me tell you. There's a government ethics disclosure law that discloses everything. I have never supported political candidates releasing their income taxes because they have a lot of personal information. They may have a retarded child in an institution. All the economic information, the investments, everything will be disclosed in accordance with federal law.

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