The Times loves Ralph Nader 's "pro-consumer" activism, but when the left-wing populist has the temerity to try to put his causes into action by running for president (and possibly draining votes from the Democratic candidate, as Nader did with Gore in 2000), the Times can get surprisingly hostile.
Reporter Michael Janofsky's October 26, 2004 profile included this unusually harsh examination of Nader's motives: "To his followers, he is the embodiment of political principle, the counterweight to a dishonest two-party system that sneers at minor-party candidates. To his critics, he is an anachronistic, dangerous buttinsky, motivated more by ego than civic good."
Friday's story from Katharine Seelye, "Nader Weighs Another Run For President " demonstrated again that for the Times, what Nader believes is apparently less important than how it might affect Democratic presidential prospects.
"Ralph Nader, whose run for president infuriated Democrats in 2000 and made him the object of disdain when he ran again in 2004, said today that he might get into the 2008 race.
"Mr. Nader said he would wait until the fall to decide. His decision, he said, would depend on whether he could round up enough volunteers and pro bono lawyers to get him on the ballot in all 50 states despite what he expected would be widespread opposition from Democrats.
"Mr. Nader, who ran as a Green Party candidate, won 2.7 percent of the vote in 2000. Democrats contend that he siphoned enough votes from their candidate, Al Gore, particularly in Florida and New Hampshire, to cost Mr. Gore the presidency.
"Mr. Nader was viewed as such a spoiler in 2000 that when he ran again in 2004, even former allies turned against him and he garnered just one-third of 1 percent of the popular vote."