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Drum Roll, Please: Nader Picks a Runningmate

Oh, the suspense.

Ralph Nader (I-Harold Stassen), beginning his third long-shot run for the presidency, called a press conference for noon today at the National Press Club to announce his running mate. To add to the intrigue, Nader aides teased those arriving by handing out sheets of paper identifying the vice-presidential candidate only as "?"

Nader entered the room. Aides removed the duct tape covering the campaign poster on the lectern - revealing the running mate's name. Drum roll, please.

"Nader/Gonzalez '08" said the poster.

Baffled silence in the room. The former Green Party nominee had hooked up with President Bush's former attorney general?

Actually, it turned out to be rather less exciting than that. Nader's choice wasn't Alberto Gonzales but another son of Texas, Matt Gonzalez.

"I'm not a familiar face to the Washington press corps," the Nader runningmate admitted. Nor to many other people. He's a former member of the San Francisco Board of supervisors. He lost a race for San Francisco district attorney. He lost a race for San Francisco mayor. And now, he's ready to put that background to use for his biggest challenge yet: losing a race for the vice presidency.

For Nader, who also announced that he isn't seeking the backing of the Green Party this time, the Gonzalez choice might not give him the bump he sought. But he asked for patience. "No oak tree ever starts without an acorn," the revered consumer advocate told the assembled reporters, then urged them to take his candidacy seriously.

"If you'll pardon a modest lecture to the Washington press corps, especially the ridiculing, acerbic pen of Dana Milbank, here's what I want to say," he began. "What is remarkable . . . is the extent to which they display unwittingly a political bigotry, an exclusionary attitude toward any small party candidate with the effrontery to want to move what you have disclosed to the American people in television radio and print into public policy."

Excellent point, sir. Let us cast aside the ridicule, acerbity and bigotry, and take up a new cry. Nader/Gonzalez in 2008! And 2012! And 2016! And 2020!

-- Dana Milbank

By Dana Milbank  | February 28, 2008; 2:50 PM ET
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Nader's no dummy. He knew that if he jabbed Milbank by name, the reporter would not be able to resist writing a story.

Posted by: Spike3905 | February 28, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Milbank: What is your problem? Who are you to criticize Ralph Nader? Do you know that there's a lot of folks out there who could care less about Clinton, Obama, McCain or Huckabee--and who actually see a Nader campaign as a breath of fresh air? Yes, that's right--a breath of fresh air. Because what we're getting from everyone else? Not too fresh, and somewhat rotten. You're not funny, and Nader's smackdown of your writing style was perfect.

Posted by: thefrontpage | February 28, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Nader the narcisstic bafoon....who really cares? Why waste the space.

Posted by: M.Payes | February 28, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey frontpage.... if Nader was genuinely interested in the well-being of the country, his previous two VP candidates in 2000 and 2004 should have been the ones running this year with Nader endorsement and Nader looking from the wings. Nader is an egomaniac. It's just too bad we can't remember the names of his other running mates. I bet you a million they'll be voting for the Democrat nominee.

Posted by: Nada Nader | February 28, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

thefrontpage sez: "there's a lot of folks out there who could care less about Clinton, Obama, McCain or Huckabee--and who actually see a Nader campaign as a breath of fresh air? Yes, that's right--a breath of fresh air. Because what we're getting from everyone else? Not too fresh, and somewhat rotten."

And what will those "lot of folks" get from Nader? A big fat nothing! Not the White House, not a single seat in Congress, nothing, nada, zip, zilch. So enjoy your breath of fresh air because that's all you'll get for your money and your vote. By the day after the November election, you'll all be gasping for air again because Nader refuses to put any effort whatsoever in actually DOING SOMETHING CONCRETE to bring about the changes he advocates.

Posted by: windrider | February 28, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Enough already, Milbank. There are a lot of people out here who are fed up with this corporate two-party system and the journalists that actively entrench it. The least you could do is not take cheap shots at people who are honestly challenging this stranglehold on our democracy. Even better would be if you could direct your ridicule where it belongs: the spectacle that has become American politics. If you can't see how undemocratic our political system is, you shouldn't be a political reporter.

Posted by: bernhabc | February 28, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"The wise man ridicules that which is ridiculous."

So it is written, somewhere probably.

Keep at it, Dana.

Posted by: Bill Burke | February 28, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Nader is delusional if he thinks he can win anything. His run is nothing more than an attempt to stay relevant in a world that has passed him by. The only way he can get anyone to listen to him is to stage a silly presidential run that goes no where. Ralph Nader is Ron Paul without the message, without the people and without the money.

Posted by: Scott | February 28, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Well written, Dana, and appropriately sarcastic.

Your reference to Harold Stassen was on the mark, especially since this is Nader's FIFTH run for the presidency, not his third. He ran in 92, 96, 2000, and 2004.

Posted by: trr2 | February 28, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, I've been mistaken all these months. I thought he was dead.

Posted by: Diogenes | February 28, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Nader picks his VEEP running mate?

Who cares?

Posted by: NaderMustGo | February 28, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I am still in the United States of American where I can vote for whom I choose.

Our two major parties, Reublican and Democrate, have proven to me to be corrupted by greed and power. I appreciate Mr. Nader's courage, integrity, and persistance to place himself on the ballot to give me the opportunity to say to my government, "you have failed at your job so I am choosing someone else."

Thank you Ralph Nader!

Posted by: Susie | February 28, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse


This is an open letter to you and any other members of the media who may read this.

I have a great deal of information, documents, account statements and other papers revealing a great deal about personal investments by Nader in the mid-1970s. Trust me, it blows away his persona as a corporate crusader.

Even more troubling is a specific incident of Nader lying during an FBI investigation to destroy the reputation of a former colleague. To prove these allegations I ave materials from severla attorneys who tried to clear the person's name, copies of pages from an FBI file, and correspondence from Nader to the head of the FBI, Clarence Kelly recanting the whole story, as well as correspondence to Nader about the incident.

Rather than list my contact info here, Dana, I will call you at your WPost office in the next day or so to see if you are interested in the story, etc.

Trust me, I'm not b.s.-ing you. Everything I ahve said is true and verifiable.

Posted by: vwoobah | February 28, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

More detritus from a career that once meant something to the American consumer. Knowing when to say no to your own ego is beyond Mr. Nader's ken. Hopefully this effort will use the last of any political capital he once earned. Good bye, sir.

Posted by: GandalftheGrey | February 28, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

What, Lindsay Lohan wasn't available?

She may have helped the loon get .000000002 per cent of the vote.

Posted by: filmex | February 28, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

One reason why I am excited about Matt Gonzalez being chosen as Nader's running mate is that he is at least as impressive a speaker as Barack Obama in my opinion, and a strong supporter of Instant Runoff Voting. I encourage all of you who are hostile towards a Nader run to watch Matt Gonzalez's speech at the Green Party Convention in 2004:

Posted by: Amy | February 28, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I have only one question. I don't necessarily disagree with Ralph that the media often small parties with disrespect. But... of which small party is Mr. Nader currently a member?

As far as I can tell from his website, it was a party consisting of himself. Now it's doubled in size!

Posted by: willythekorn | February 28, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

sure, Nader won't "win" anything. but thats not the point - Nader represents a candidate people like me can vote for in good conscience. unlike, say, hillary clinton, if she happens to steal the dem. nomination.

Posted by: dude | February 28, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Might as well have chosen Mr.Frank Cheney, a veteran runner up for deputy mayor in SomeNowheresVille.

Posted by: DarthNader | February 28, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The US needs a third party, a fourth party, and so on. If we can have more than a hundred cable television channels, we can definitely have more than two viable political parties. And there could be worse things than having a consumer advocate be president. The only problem is Nader's simplistic and unrealistic logic in denying that he caused an imbalance in the 2000 general election contest between two viable candidates.

That said, I don't think Dana Milbank or sarcastic journalism is Ralph Nader's biggest problem. What our political system has become stands as the bigger problem.

Posted by: Restore democracy | February 28, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Is their campaign theme, the Theme from Outer Limits?

And, when does Ralph officially become the longest running act in American Politics?

Posted by: DC | February 28, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Dana Dana Dana...are you STILL angry about the soy cheese quesadillas you were forced to eat during Nader's 2000 campaign?

If you lived in San Francisco, as I do, you'd be VERY familiar with Matt Gonzalez's great work.

I'd send you a free copy of my new book, "What Was Ralph Nader Thinking?" (you're mentioned in it), but you've made A LOT of money writing about Ralph, so you can come to one of my book signings and buy a copy. Bring Al Gore along with you.

Jurgen Vsych
Nader Campaign Filmmaker in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020...

Posted by: Jurgen Vsych | February 28, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with Mr. Nader regarding the frustration with the media deciding who will and won't be serious candidates for office. Our Founding Fathers intended the process to work very differently and I'd like the opportunity to make my own decision, rather than Milbank and crew deciding for me.

Posted by: the OC | February 28, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Please stop referring to this as Nader's third run for president. This is Nader's fourth national run for the presidency. He ran in 1996 and 2000 on the Green Party ticket and 2004 as an Independent.

Posted by: Ruth | February 28, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The Turd in the Punch Bowl is joined by another.

Posted by: KC | February 28, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

So Nader picks a "running mate".

To what end??

Posted by: alarico | February 28, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll vote for a door-knob or a box of toothpicks before I waste another vote on a Democrat.

I'll vote for a hatbox with a severed head in it before I waste another vote on a Democrat.

I'll vote for a paper-clip under my refrigerator before I waste another vote on a Democrat.

It isn't a choice between Nader and the Democrats!

It's a choice between Nader and a plastic spoon with ants on it!

It's a choice between Nader and four broken pencils!

It's a choice between Nader and a 1988 Oklahoma license plate!

It's a choice between Nader and nothing!

Posted by: Jacob Freeze | February 28, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The guy has accomplished so much in his lifetime. It's a shame that he'll be remembered as the buffoon whose ego got in his way.

Posted by: Harry Covair | February 28, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

what nader says is pretty much right. but we live in a cause and effect world! nader caused FL to go to the worst president in US history in 2000 and i think we've seen the effect!
nader and paul voters need to wake up and get us out of iraq. that means vote for a dem, if you like it or not.

Posted by: esteve | February 28, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

windrider: "...because Nader refuses to put any effort whatsoever in actually DOING SOMETHING CONCRETE to bring about the changes he advocates"

Do you seriously believe that Nader hasn't done anything concrete? That's a new one... his track record is, to put it mildly, extensive.

Posted by: Jeremy | February 28, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

to gonzalez's credit, he actually came close to winning the mayorship... i was kind of impressed... although it is a little sad that a VP candidate impressed me by not losing a mayor's race by a wide margin...

Posted by: corey | February 28, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

What has Nader accomplished between presidential campaigns? He is a sad case of meglomania. Probably bottle fed a too early an age, unless he was a divine conception!

Posted by: Charles Newman | February 28, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Milbank, the ass, lacks humility.

Treat Nader as seriously as you treat
George Bush and you will find that Nader will lap you up instead of treating you like a mountebank,

Posted by: Fran the Upper East Side Limousine Liberal | February 28, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't critize Ralph Nader, look who has run the President's office the past 8 years, could Ralph really be worst?
Secondly, I feel so bad for the elder Mrs.Bush, having a son destroy a family business would be embarrassing, BUT having a son DESTROY a Nation.......... how can she sleep at night!

Posted by: VVrabel | February 28, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Dana, if you keep it up, Ralph may label YOU as "unsafe at any speed..."

You don't drive a Pinto, do you??

Seriously, our political system may be a mess, but anyone who seriously believes that Ralph Nader would be considered as anything less than a buffoon by folks like; hmmm every world leader...are delusional.

(or maybe they've been sitting in a Corvair too long?)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Treat Nader seriously? Come on! His candidacy is asinine and ridiculous. He deserves all the scorn he's getting. What is he supposed to accomplish, except stroke his holier-than-thou ego? He won't get elected in a million years. What is the stated goal?

Tell me that he's starting a party, building a grassroots movement, trying to establish a political block *that will survive him*, and I'll treat him seriously.
But he has become a vane, sanctimonious, deluded clown.

Sorry if the truth hurts.

Posted by: alarico | February 28, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Even, if by divine intervention, Nader were to win the Presidency, what, pray tell, could he accomplish, saddled as he would be with a Congress and Executive Branch that at best would ignore him and at worst would set its own agendas? The only way a third, fourth, or fifth party could ever be viable and effect any meaningful change would be to create an infrastructure capable of fielding and electing candidates at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels. Until or unless that day arrives, the ONLY role Mr. Nader can play is that of a SPOILER. Think about it, Ralph.

Posted by: Alan | February 28, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I was surprised it wasn't Bloomberg. He is the only one who has come to Nader's defense as an Independent candidate.

I'm still unsure of how two political parties that say the same thing (nothing) are able to represent the views of all Americans.

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 28, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Matt Gonzales?
Might as well be Speedy Gonzalez for all the difference it will make.
Come on Ralph... Exit stage Right

Posted by: Carprin | February 28, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that Mr. Nader can win this election. He probably doesn't even think he can win this election. But I don't think winning the election is his only goal with this campaign.

Every time he runs he brings new issues to the table, and he gets people to learn what he stands for. Every person who reads about his oppinions is exposed to a different way of thinking about the election. Every single person who takes time to learn what he has to say is one less person who is getting all their facts from campaign commercials and the 24/7 news networks. He knows he can't win the election...but every person who is inspired to actually THINK because of his campaign is a victory in and of itself, and that's a greater impact than I can say for any other candidate running.

Posted by: cOls112 | February 28, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

"America's first President George Washington, did not belong to a political party. This made him America's only independent (not affiliated with a party) president. Most of America's founding fathers were opposed to political parties, and wanted none of them in the U.S."

Washington would be so proud of what the Democrats and Republicans have achieved.

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 28, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Many of our Founding Fathers also owned slaves. Many of them supported the Alien and Sedition Act, so maybe there were some protoRepublicans among them.

Their views about the current two party system cannot fairly be extrapolated from known facts.

Posted by: tom pain | February 28, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

SPIKE3905, you nailed it. Allow me to pound further by pointing out Nadar, in effect, complimented Milbank, the better to ensure he'd be quoted, maybe in a column linked on WaPo's homepage, which is just what happened. For a satirist to be accused of having "a ridiculing, acerbic pen" I think we can all agree is no small praise :)

Posted by: jhbyer | February 28, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Matt Gonzalez used to be my Supervisor in SF.

He will be doing a lot more good for SF this way.

Posted by: aj | February 28, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I just have to laugh at all of the individuals on here who stomp their feet about being fed up with the "corporate, two-party system," and see Nadar as "a breath of fresh air." All I have to say (at this moment) is, "well, where have you been for the last four years? Or eight years?" Have you been building a grass-roots organization of individuals who want to select a viable third-party candidate? No. Has the prodigal son Mr. Nadar even spoken up at all in any meaningful way about putting together such a movement? No. In this age of easy access to mass communication, that apathy is even less excusable than it was when a few newspaper editors controlled your access to the public.

I am a liberal. Really. And I would certainly welcome a candidate who actually looked like he or she put some time and thought into mounting a campaign that stood for something. Though I think we've got the most liberal candidate in a long time (Obama) poised to take the reins, I wouldn't discount someone who actually seemed like they were running for president as an appeal to anything other than ego. But Mr. Nadar is all pride. It's a mockery of the system that he just waltzes into the race, expecting to bring with him some kind of movement, and calls everyone ELSE crazy.

Those of you who want change of the variety Mr. Nadar promises, you've got to do something more than once every four years. Only then will I and everyone else in mainstream America take you seriously. But right now, you just look like the kid who showed up late for picking sides at kickball and is stomping his feet because no one will let him play.

You would do better for this country by saving the gas it would take you to drive to the polls and not voting than by voting for Nadar.

Posted by: Dan | February 28, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of effrontery, what business does Nader have in running in the first place? He's never been elected to anything, to start.

How can he understand family issues? He's never had a wife or children. Has he even had a job since becoming a consumer advocate?

He's running in the wrong country. They'd appreciate his politics more in Europe, where they're more accustomed to multiple parties and fringe candidates

Posted by: Gary | February 28, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

"Every time he runs he brings new issues to the table, and he gets people to learn what he stands for." What new issues? What people? Not enough to make a difference. Not enough to justify a candidacy that in effect hurtled the nation and the world into horrendous turmoil for the next eight years. To run again, after what happened, is despicable. Get your points across some other way, Mr. Nader.

Posted by: Ford1998 | February 28, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse


You are to be commended for sheathing your acerbic pen (for the most part) and allowing Mr. Nader make himself look ridiculous all on his own. It will interesting to see how many people actually end up supporting Ralph this year, but I imagine it will be minuscule, God willing.

Posted by: Chuck | February 28, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Gonzalez got over 47 percent of the mayoral vote. That confusion over Hispanic names among the press in attendance was rich. Would you confuse a Jewish name, say, Cohen for Kahn?Prejudice is acceptable when bashing Nade. He's just a guy in the way of salivating Democratic job hunters.Your readers could care less about a living wage;they have one.

Posted by: steve conn | February 28, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

What about Nader's political issues, Milbank? Any fool can note the color of drapery.

Posted by: mike | February 28, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

wow, i had no idea so many bitter democrats (crybabies)read the washington post.

yeah, go away ralph, just go away. leave us to winning the american people's loot 50% of the time. we hate competition, fair elections and talking about substantive issues.

boeing/exxon '08!

Posted by: mary | February 28, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

This sounds like a NY Post chatroom.
He doesn't expect to win. Listen to the questions he is asking. Are you kids, oooh, we're gonna win, oh yeah, we are. Keep supporting the worldwide genocide funding, including the natives in this county.
Go team

Posted by: pr | February 28, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Realizing how much Nader has done for the nation from his dedicated advocacy over the years, from saving millions of peoples lives by making cars safer to encouraging open government through Freedom of Information Act support, I think Nader has well-earned the right to raise issues in or out of a candidacy mode. And if the limited choice, that the Milbanks of the world apparently want everyone to be satisfied with, is between McCain and Clinton, I am going to appreciate having the Nader option.

Posted by: RLD | February 28, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Imagine Milbank writing something like this about any conservative candidate--no matter how marginal. He wouldn't dare. Isn't it interesting how this kind of dripping condescension is reserved exclusively for progressives? It speaks volumes about the actual ideological affiliations of the major media in this country (as opposed to the imaginary ones that conservatives constantly froth about).

Posted by: John Caruso | February 28, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

To those who decry the two-party system: I'm afraid you're out of luck--unless you can amend Article 1 of the Constitution so that seats in the Congress are awarded by proportional representation (c.f., Germany or Israel), you've got your pick of the two stalwarts in nationwide elections. Occasionally a third, like with our friends across the pond (but when's the last time a Lib Dem was PM of Great Britain?)

If anyone thinks Ralph Nader has been a net plus to this country the past 8 years, I have to ask: where have you been hiding? You honestly think now that there would have been no difference with a Gore presidency? You're either way too jaded or way too cynical for American politics if you believe that. For all the good Nader might have done as a consumer advocate, he's gone a good way toward completely unraveling his legacy with his 2000 run. Get off the stage and write another book already, Ralph. Your politics is killing us.

Posted by: CH | February 28, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Although I'm indifferent to Nader running again, your analysis of Matt Gonzalez is under-researched. He very well-known political figure in Northern California - and was a uniquely successful Green Party candidate (winning 47% of the vote) against the already popular Gavin Newsom in the campaign to succeed Willie Brown. He inspired a passionate following, and many Northern Californians who live outside San Francisco become involved in his campaign.

Not to say he is a good candidate for vice-president, but he is an interesting political figure.

Posted by: SRH | February 28, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

SRH makes a good point about Milbank's ignorance with respect to Gonzalez. When Matt was running for mayor of San Francisco against Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Party trotted out no less than Bill Clinton and Al Gore (in addition to Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, and Jesse Jackson) to campaign against him. So clearly the Democrats took Gonzalez seriously. And if he values his credibility at all, Milbank should as well.

Posted by: John Caruso | February 28, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Dana Milbank is typical of the Corporate Mainstream News Media (CMNM) as they grovel at the scraps from the table that the Bush-ites and the Pelosi-crats give them and do their level best to maintain the status quo by ridiculing a man of integrity like Ralph Nader. You can be sure that the "objectivity" of the CMNM, generally, is on a par with Milbank's article, which is one of the reasons why Bush & Company have been able to drop-kick the Constitution with impunity.

Posted by: Mark Greene | February 28, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Ralph Nader is running for president because that is the only way he can break through the complete corporate domination of the media, Washington DC and the two-party system. Who else is going to tell the truth and has absolutely nothing to lose? What other presidential candidate is supporting a single-payer health care system that removes the insurance companies from the equation? Who else talks about 50% of every tax dollar going to the military industrial complex and all the waste and bloat surrounding that non-contract system? Who else talks about breaking the stranglehold of the two-party system where it now takes $300-400 million to run for president? At this point media ownership is down to 4 or 5 corporations. We have no independent media. We need independent candidates. Ralph Nader will continue to run because no one else is talking about how corrupt Washington DC is. He'll continue to run until the people wake up!

Posted by: Lynda Hernandez | February 28, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

John Caruso wrote:

Isn't it interesting how this kind of dripping condescension is reserved exclusively for progressives?
I think that kind of condescension is reserved for Nader, and deservedly so. How do you make the leap from Nader to progressives?

Posted by: smc91 | February 29, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

smc91: We may have a different sense of what constitutes a "progressive" (based on your feeling that it would be a leap from Nader to progressives generally, when Nader is practically the canonical progressive). Democrats are actively trying to co-opt the word (now that conservatives have attached such negative connotations to "liberal"), but saying it doesn't make it so.

Rather than hashing that out, consider the question I asked: can you imagine Milbank writing something like this about any conservative candidate? Of course not. That's typical of mainstream Democrats like him; they've always reacted with just this kind of snide, condescending, petty rhetoric to any challenge from the left, and they always will.

Posted by: John Caruso | February 29, 2008 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Maybe this isn't the right place for sincere opinion, but I am actually kind of excited to find out that Matt Gonzalez has gotten involved with Nader.

For those who have never heard of or met him, allow me to explain that Matt is a crazy-smart, free-thinking, idealist who in a way captures a lot of the same appeal that Senator Obama has evidenced in the Democratic primaries. Matt is an excellent speaker with a deliberate, trial-lawyer type of a debating approach, who is particularly appealing to young people and is known for taking unconventional positions on issues. In fact, I think Matt's selection shows Nader's astuteness in how he plans to approach a run against a popular groundswell-type candidacy like Obama's.

I think it would have been great if the Post had been able to pick up on this line of thought in their coverage of the announcement of the Nader/Gonzalez ticket, but I suppose third party and California politics is not familiar territory for Mr. Milbank. However, it is sad indeed that instead Nader is sneered at for of all things *not* choosing just another beltway hack as a running mate. (Although I'll give you that the 2008, 2012, 2016... thing was somewhat funny).

But back to Gonzalez. In a few short years in the late 90s and early 00s I watched Matt Gonzalez grow from a near complete unknown in San Francisco life to the undeniable leader of progressive and independent politics in the Bay Area, achieving true rock-star status along the way.

No one has any illusions that Matt or Ralph expect to be elected in November, and I have no particular interest in Ralph Nader's own candidacy, but I am very interested in seeing what Matt is up to and would not count him out from having a significant impact on this race.

I urge anyone who is interested to read up on who Matt Gonzalez is and to keep an open mind when listening to him speak during the upcoming campaign. In fact Nader himself could stand to learn a lot from Matt.

For starters, Matt commented on Obama's candidacy on a local San Francisco blog a few days ago:

Posted by: Matt in SF | February 29, 2008 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Ralph Nader, and the fools who voted for him, are the reason Bush won and we are in Iraq, our econmy is plunging , and the world hates us. Ralph, you should not show your face. Do you work for BushInc, 'George' McCain, or just the GOP?

Posted by: max | March 3, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Dana Milbank. Unlike the current incarnation of the walking dead Nader and his latest ineffectual Mini-Me Vee Pee (not to mention their quasi-religious, single-minded followers), you are actually a positive influence on the public dialogue.

Posted by: TeeBeeSea | March 4, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

And if any of you starry-eyed flower children in San Francisco have retained any political respect for Gonzales, please check out the radio interview which he and Nader gave on KQED on 2-29...I was shocked to hear these two intelligent men who were so comfortable insulting concerned citizen callers who had the temerity to question the value of yet another Nader run...shame on both of them. Matt, get off your high horse and get back to activism in San Francisco where you might actually accomplish something...or would you rather just pontificate?

Posted by: TeeBeeSea | March 4, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

And if any of you starry-eyed flower children in San Francisco have retained any political respect for Gonzales, please check out the radio interview which he and Nader gave on KQED on 2-29...I was shocked to hear these two intelligent men who were so comfortable insulting concerned citizen callers who had the temerity to question the value of yet another Nader run...shame on both of them. Matt, get off your high horse and get back to activism in San Francisco where you might actually accomplish something...or would you rather just pontificate?

Posted by: TeeBeeSea | March 4, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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