Nader the Egotist

The spoiler can't help himself and will further destroy his consumer-friendly legacy.

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In case you haven't heard, Ralph Nader is running for president. This is no political joke.

The onetime honorable champion of consumers in the 1960s has already besmirched that legacy. He is now a bitter loner on an ego trip with little backing.

At 74, if Nader lives long enough, he will become another Harold Stassen of American politics. Stassen, in his youth a golden boy of Republican politics in Minnesota and beyond, became a subject for comedians when he ran for president so many times that no one counted anymore.

In 2000, Nader attracted only 2.7 percent of the vote as the Green Party candidate. But he drew 92,000 votes in pivotal Florida, thus giving the country George W. Bush rather than Al Gore.

Asked on Meet the Press whether he could cost the Democrats another victory in 2008, Nader advised the party to "get over it." He denied his role in 2000 and still does with a straight face.

There is no logical way Nader can escape the responsibility for being the spoiler eight years ago. Most Democrats have been furious at his audacity ever since.

Nader managed only a puny 0.3 percent when he ran again in 2004. But he obviously failed to get the message of his futility.

Nader almost dismissed Sen. Barack Obama as the presumptive Democratic nominee for an inability to "get things done" as president. Maybe he is delusional and thinks he could.

No one disputes Nader's right to run. He meets the constitutional requirements: at least 35 years old and a citizen born in this country. Beyond those qualifications, what does Ralph Nader bring to the political dialogue this year?

Answer: nothing except for his own inflated ego. Aside from the initial "he's-in" reports, he should be ignored and will be.