News reports indicating that Ralph Nader is considering a run for Senate from his home state Connecticut provoked some of the same tired and tiresome mantras familiar from previous campaigns: Nader the spoiler, Nader the loser, Nader the egomaniac, Nader the has been.
But this time there is a big difference.
For according to a Quinnipiac University poll, it is the Democratic incumbent, Senator Christopher Dodd who is the sure loser in 2010.
Laboring under historically low approval ratings partly due to his star turn in Michael Moore’s film “Capitalism” where he is seen as a recipient of de facto bribes from high finance crook Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, Dodd would go down to a humiliating defeat in a race with any of the declared Republican candidates.
An indication of the contempt in which he is held, Dodd would lose even to Linda McMahon, whose main claim to legitimacy consists in the reflected glory accruing to spouse, World Wide Wrestling association magnate Vince McMahon.
Given that there have been few occasions when an incumbent has managed to recover from this kind of deficit, it is Dodd’s campaign which is now quixotic. And as the Democratic Party’s capitulations on the war, its placating of Wall Street, and sky high unemployment rates consign a generation to economic misery, it will become increasingly apparent that any viable challenge to the Republicans will need to come from an independent or third party-a long established tradition in Connecticut.
Nader fits the bill of the outsider candidate just about perfectly.
This is not to say that Nader is by any means a shoe-in, even pitted against Dodd and an addled teabagger as the Republican nominee. The relentless Democratic smear campaigns have taken their toll and the kind of organization which Nader could rely on in previous decades has now been winnowed down to a relatively few hard core supporters.