Today was the Albany Times Union's turn to play the "Nader is ruining his legacy" tune. Here is an arrogant editorial that tries to have things both ways, acknowledging his common American right to run for President but saying that he really shouldn't. Why not? Because he'd hurt the Democratic candidate. But who said the Democrats should be immune from hurt?
Why does the liberal media automatically assume that Ralph Nader owes the Democratic party his loyalty while the party owes him nothing for his legacy of consumer and citizen advocacy that everyone's so concerned about now? Has anyone considered that, in a fair world, Nader's announcement of an intention to run should have persuaded any other ambitious Democrat to bow out in deference to his legacy? Yet somehow this hero whose legacy is only tainted now that he defies the Democrats was never approached by the party so solicitous toward that legacy to lead them in an election campaign. That fact may tell us more about the Democratic party than about Nader. Is it possible that he, the man accused of holding "impossibly rigid ideological standards" by the Albany paper, failed somehow to meet a more rigid set of standards imposed by the Democratic leadership? That possibility doesn't get discussed as often as it should.
I only single out the Times Union because it's my home town paper, but its sentiments are echoed all over the country, and its own sentiments are only an echo of all-too conventional wisdom. The American Bipolarchy has so stunted people's ability to imagine alternate political possibilities that they treat Nader's campaign like a pedophile priest moving into the neighborhood. I have not renounced my ambivalence toward Nader of a few days ago, but the more I read knee-jerk partisanship like this particular piece, the less ambivalent I may become.