Nader: 'Ego Run Amok' or Liberals' Best Hope?

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - Thursday's New York Times calls Ralph Nader's third party candidacy "a very real danger to the Gore campaign," while an op-ed columnist, writing in the same paper, says Nader is the Democrats' best hope for returning the Party to its liberal roots.

The lead editorial in the New York Times says Nader's candidacy could make a real difference in eight states with 70 electoral votes. "The country deserves a clear up-or-down vote between Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore," it says, accusing Nader of deluding his followers, brightening Bush's prospects, and dimming his own legacy as a reformer.

"He calls his wrecking-ball candidacy a matter of principle, but it looks from here like ego run amok," the editorial concludes.

But on the op-ed page, author (and liberal Democrat) Barbara Ehrenreich writes that Nader supporters are more sorrowful than spiteful: "We didn't choose to abandon the Democratic Party in its hour of need; the party chose to abandon us."

And if Bush wins, Ehrenreich says, she'll be sorry but not apologetic: "It's not my fault if Mr. Gore has refused to stand up for the populist principles that might draw America's disenchanted majority back to the polls."

Ehrenreich says for old-fashioned Democrats, a vote for Nader is a chance to "prod the Democratic Party to the left re-energize American democracy. It is, she says, "a statement of affirmation and hope."

Ehrenreich has written an about-to-be-published book called Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in Boom-Time America.