Top McAuliffe Strategist Responds to Ralph Nader "Story"

Friday, May 29, 2009

I asked McAuliffe campaign senior strategist Mo Elleithee for his thoughts on the Ralph Nader "story." Here's what he had to say:
Back in 2003-04, Republican donors were aggressively funding Nader’s candidacy. The Democratic presidential candidates, and most party leaders were concerned that he would once again siphon enough votes away from the Democratic nominee in the general election to hand it to George W Bush.

So Terry, as DNC chair, engaged in a conversation with Nader to try to convince him not to run, or at the very least to not compete in the targeted battleground states. He made the case that if Nader truly cared about these issues, he was putting it all at risk by again potentially handing the election to Bush. He never offered him any money. He DID offer to make Ralph a part of the DNC surrogate operation, send him around the country to talk about his issues — which would have been a DNC funded operation, just as it was with a number of high profile surrogates to help with GOTV efforts.

I think most Democrats would agree that our country would be better off had Nader not run in 2000 or 2004. Nader has a history of frivolous attacks and accusations — he even filed lawsuits after the 2004 election against the DNC, the Kerry campaign and Terry personally. All three were thrown out.

I don’t think most Virginians are interested in looking backwards, and I don’t think they have much interest in Ralph Nader’s attempts to grab headlines — they care about who’s going to get our economy back on track. So that’s what Terry’s going to stay focused on.

And it might also be worth nothing that in the challenge filed by Democrats to Nader’s nomination papers in Pennsylvania, which was successful, the Pennsylvania trial court found that Nader’s “signature gathering process was the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this Court. The conduct of the [Nader campaign]. . . shocks the conscience of the Court.” In re Nomination Paper of Ralph Nader, 865 A.2d 8, 18 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2004), affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, In re Nader, 905 A.2d 450 (2007).

This is the Ralph Nader that Terry was fighting in 2004, and why I don't find his current allegations very credible.
All I have to add is "thank you" to Terry McAuliffe for trying to stop four more disastrous years of Bush, Cheney, etc. I just wish John Kerry had won the election in 2004, and that Al Gore had become president in 2000 (I won't say "I wish he had won the election" because he DID win the popular vote and should have won the electoral vote if not for the Supreme Court's shenanigans).

P.S. I put "story" in quotes because this is a perfect example of the idiot corporate media having no clue what constitutes "news" or how to do critical analysis. Apparently, they'll just print anything by anybody and call it "news." And they criticize the blogs for being irresponsible?!?

UPDATE: A friend/Blue Virginia reader reminds me that the Democratic Party of Virginia challenged Ralph Nader's signatures in 2004. The person, who is heavily involved in Virginia Democratic politics, adds:
The challenge held and [Nader] did not win a spot on the Virginia ballot. the challenge was not to suppress votes/voters...He submitted fraudulent petitions with invalid signatures and did not meet the letter of the law for ballot access. They are trying to change the subject and make this all about poor Ralph.


  1. How can you be FOR voting rights and making sure every vote counts but at the same time attempting to suppress someone running?

    I'm for people voting, as long as it doesn't screw my candidate!

    I don't like Nader and think he's a spoiler, but the man has a right to vote. If our party was competent at that time, there wouldn't of been an issue to begin with.

  2. hey, VaDEmPolitics - consider two things

    1. When Nader first ran in 2000 he said it was to raise issues and get ballot access and that he would NOT compete in states where he might tip the state. Obviously he was not telling the truth, as he tipped two states, NH and FL

    2. When he was disqualified from the ballot in Penna it was because he broke the law. Everyone has a right to get on the ballot legally, but no one is entitled to be on the ballot merely because they want to.

    From my standpoint, and remember I am supporting Deeds and not McAuliffe, this story is to Terry's favor and should be among Democrats.

  3. Teacherken: You are 100% correct. This is a major POSITIVE story for Terry, that he fought hard to stop 4 more years of Bush by keeping egomaniac/nutjob Nader from f***ing up another election (after he gave us Bush in 2000). I hope the Moran people keep pushing this story hard among Democratic primary voters, it will help Terry seal the deal! Thank you Moran campaign! :)

  4. You crack me up, Lowell.

    Why, the reporter for this story that you debase as the work of the idiot, no, make that corporate media, is none other than Anita Kumar. And you say:

    "[T]his is a perfect example of the idiot corporate media having no clue what constitutes "news" or how to do critical analysis. Apparently, they'll just print anything by anybody and call it 'news.'"

    Of course, yesterday, when you were trying to defend your use of incorrect material reported without proper context from a Kumar article about Creigh Deeds, you said: "Anita Kumar is an excellent reporter and I'm sure she knows what she's talking about."

    Seriously, Lowell, some of us out here have memories that last longer than 20 minutes.

  5. Man, you are amazing at changing the subject. Sadly, despite Anita Kumar generally being an excellent reporter, the Virginia Politics blog appears to have become anti-Terry central the past few days, printing pretty much anything against him. It's complete crap.

  6. TeacherKen - totally agree, and it seems you agree with me, that people have the right to run legally.

    My issue is how can I believe someone is full free and fair elections when he has shown he wanted to suppress someone's right to run?

  7. And because he was a spoiler in the past, doesn't mean he doesn't have the right to run again.

  8. This phony "scandal" provides another "opportunity" for say-anything oppo. And you can count of the most strident supporters of McAuliffe's opponents, to try to hype this while leaving out the relevant --and most important--facts of the matter. Would that all of the opposing bloggers were as honest and fair as teacherken. And unless more supporters of both Brian and Creigh assume some sense of fair-mindness pretty darn quick, it will be hard to repair the damage they do to our state party. Being vocally supportive a candidate is great, but running with half-truths, mocking the facts, and insulting the voters does more harm than you imagine. But, I guess, for some oppo bloggers the end justifies the means.

  9. What brought that on, Kathy? I, personally, don't think much of this particular story, but you seem to be issuing some kind of ultimatum there, and I have no idea what you are talking about.

    I have criticized Terrence and Brian, but I think of myslef as fair-minded and basing my critiques on facts and analysis. But I've also criticized Creigh. And I've said positive things about both Terrence and Moran, in fact, frequently defending Terrence from unfair attacks levelled at him by Moran supporters.

  10. Don't worry, aznew. The folks who ticked me off are some of the same who tick you off as well.

  11. Kathy- thank you. I'm fearful that this primary contention has given McDonnell enough fodder for his campaign that he will be able to cut several staff positions! All they need is an intern with a laptop and they will have mud to sling around all the way to November.

    I guess since Va Dems are so green at this whole primary thing, they are bound to mess it up, but to mess it up this badly makes us all look like a bunch of neophytes.