Saturday, March 20, 2004

The UnCampaign

My Faithful Correspondent sent me this little tidbit:

Three weeks after announcing his presidential bid, Ralph Nader is running a campaign so elusive that it is almost impossible to find.

Its phone number is unpublished. Its headquarters is tucked inside the offices of one of the candidate’s nonprofit ventures in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. Either Nader is running a stealth operation or his campaign has not raised enough money to operate in a traditional manner.

“We’re still getting off the ground,” Kevin Zeese, a senior Nader campaign aide, said somewhat cautiously on Thursday, appearing startled to receive a visitor at Nader for President headquarters and refusing to give an impromptu tour.

Whether Nader is plotting an under-the-radar surge or is struggling financially could make an enormous difference in the coming election, either helping the consumer advocate tip the scales in key states or rendering him a nonfactor. Recent polls indicate Nader would win 6 percent of the vote nationwide, and his advisers are mapping out ways around complex state ballot-access laws, especially in Florida. But will they even get that far?

The first solid indication will come March 31, the deadline for first-quarter campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission. Contributions to Nader’s campaign should indicate how much early support he has.

The more crucial issue for Nader is how much success he will have getting on ballots around the country for the Nov. 2 election. This is where organization and support in states matter. [Boston Globe]

This is a joke, right? Who ever heard of a campaign headquarters with an unlisted phone number? Since he announced back in February, I haven’t heard Word One from Nader, and I hope to keep it that way. I don’t know exactly to what extent his candidacy in 2000 played in screwing things up, but I’m not interested in contemplating it this time around either. I also think he’s a rotten candidate regardless where he stands on issues or even if I agree with him on them (which I don’t), and if you think John Kerry has a too-serious and stilted campaign demeanor, Ralph Nader makes him look like Chris Rock. Anyone with that serious an attitude is in the wrong business.