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Edwards and Nader: One out, one in?

John Edwards is apparently calling it quits. And it looks like Ralph Nader -- "Darth Nader" to Democrats who can't forget the 2000 showdown -- is thinking about joining the campaign circus. Again.

First, Edwards. If he does follow through with the reported planned announcement in New Orleans later today, the timing is curious. Edwards' 2008 campaign never really caught on, in largeEdwards part because he couldn't get enough air to breath in a room in which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sucked up nearly all the oxygen. And he was further confounded by Obama's policies, which occupied much of the same populist ground that Edwards was standing on.

But why drop out now? Edwards' last loss was Saturday in South Carolina. His showing in Florida on Tuesday was irrelevant. And with Feb. 5 just around the corner, he might have been able to grab enough delegates to act as a drag on both of the other candidates.

Unless the one-time trial lawyer is planning to throw his lot in with Obama in an effort to stop Clinton's march to the nomination. Or, conversely -- and harder to imagine -- join up with Clinton to seal it for the New York senator.

As for Nader, the legendary consumer advocate ...

                                                                                              (Photo credit: Edward Gombert/EPA)

has never been subtle about his disdain for the two major parties, seeing them as relatively inseparable and equally in thrall to the corporate interests that Nader has been fighting since the 1960s (which, coincidentally, was tHeadshot_naderhe driving theme of Edwards' campaign).

It's hard to see a Nader campaign having much effect if Obama wins the Democratic nomination. Given the progressives' uncertainty over Clinton and her centrist policies, Nader might have a little more influence if she is the nominee, though lingering anger over the 2000 election made his campaign an irrelevancy in 2004.

But if Nader jumps in and Michael Bloomberg jumps in, we could find ourselves reliving history. Say, 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt ran on the Bull Moose ticket and derailed the reelection hopes of fellow Republican William Howard Taft who lost to Democrat Woodrow Wilson, with Socialist Eugene V. Debs bleeding off votes on the left.

Ooh, flashbacks. That's so 1960s.

-- Scott Martelle

(Photo credit:

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Another biased media smear comment!! If you are at all interested in facts, here they are: 91% of Edwards voters are white and a very small amount of black voters. He had white females, along with white males, who will favor Hillary now. Hillary in Florida got veters from all areas, but she picked up the white vote in the high 70% range and around 23% black. It was the reverse for Obama...about 23% white vs. the high 70% range for blacks. This seems to be fairly consistent at this time.

I'm sorry there isn't more news regarding the 15 of 17 members of the black causus are endorsing Hillary, but Teddy seems to be the highlight of the Obama supporters...maybe b/c he isn't getting the support from the black caucus members as is Hillary. As of Jan. 8 each candidate had 15 endorsements each (out of 42 members). But Hillary has picked up Sheila Jackson (TX) and Maxine Waters (CA) just recently. That is more of a story than Teddy (and Caroline) putting their weight behind Obama!! I'm more impressed that Maya Angelou and Magic Johnson are backing Clinton.

Maybe John Edwards is going to support the other male, but don't be surprised if he picks 'experience' over 'inspiration'...firm plans over articulated hope... and vetted over un-vetted. If any of the Edward voters have gotten anything from his promises it is that he is all abou the people. I know Hillary is too!!

So, your snubbing remark puts you in the Obama camp for sure. He is the king of snobbery and rudeness...what a wonderful guy he would be to try and bring unity back to this country!!! Keep up your negative approaches. I know more and more women who are voting for Hillary just b/c they identify with the male attitude that women are less than they are. It will be the 'womens' vote. Not endorsements by losers like Kerry and Kennedy. Hopefully Edwards stands for 'change' with 'experience'.

I don't see any substantial ideological difference between Clinton and Obama. Although Clinton has been the more bloodthirsty in her support for the notion that the US must control the world, having even voted for the Bush's moronic invasion of Iraq, Obama has countered with his proposal to invade Pakistan. In short, they are both imperialists and war enthusiasts, as are all the Republicans except Ron Paul. The anti-imperialists have been washed out of the Democratic side of the presidential race entirely. Both of them would be considered rightists, _not_ "centrists" or "moderates", had not right-wing religious fanatics gotten control of the Republican Party to the extent that anyone who is not a religious fanatic (or lunatic) is now considered a liberal or leftist.

However, because Obama is Black and Clinton female, they are not defined in the public mind as what they are in reason; they are the "liberals". It is votes for them that Bloomberg and Nader would draw off, and we would get McCain, who seems to be even more enthusiastic about war and imperialism than his competitors. So there is not much point in Bloomberg and Nader running, as there might be if the Republicans nominated someone more plainly mad.

However, it might be nice to have someone to vote for not stained with the blood of thousands and thousands of innocent people. Fat chance....

Nader's candidacy is a monument to his own ego. 8 years ago, when it was long past clear that he could not win the election, he could have urged his supporters to support Gore. If he really believed there was no difference between Gore and Bush, then his obsession with his own ego has impaired his reality testing as well. I don't dispute his claim that Gore didn't run a great campaign, but he still won the election, and a little real patriotism from Nader could have saved us from the utter disaster that has befallen this country in the last 8 years. If you EVER donated to Nader, if you stood on the sidelines or supported him when he put his selfish interests about the interests of the country, now is the time to let your voice be heard and to be sure that this ridiculous stunt is short-lived.

It is a sad ending for a once-great man who is now becoming a bombastic cartoon..but the country matters more than he does. Anyone who doesn't want McCain to be elected needs to do what we can to stop this. NOW.

To think I once respected him. Ralph, you make me sick.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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