Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi profiled leftist crusader Ralph Nader on Wednesday as he mounts another hopeless presidential campaign. Nader dismissed Barack Obama as a corporate tool, but late in the article, Farhi suggested Obama's liberal enough to prevent Nader crossovers. Could Nader hurt in Ohio, or Florida? Farhi wrote:
Forget the political calculus. Obama, the most liberal candidate that Democrats have (presumptively) nominated in years, figures to cut deeply into Nader's natural base of support among reform-minded liberals.
Liberals could also be less worried about a Nader factor when they look at his campaign budget:
Nader raised $8 million with the help of the Green Party in 2000. As an independent, he raised $4 million in 2004. This time, he says his goal is $10 million.
He's got a long way to go. With less than five months until Election Day, his campaign has raised $150,000.
"Fast Eddie" Obama can literally raise money of that amount in his sleep. I refer, of course, to last Friday's David Brooks column in The New York Times.
But as recent weeks have made clear, Barack Obama is the most split-personality politician in the country today. On the one hand, there is Dr. Barack, the high-minded, Niebuhr-quoting speechifier who spent this past winter thrilling the Scarlett Johansson set and feeling the fierce urgency of now. But then on the other side, there’s Fast Eddie Obama, the promise-breaking, tough-minded Chicago pol who’d throw you under the truck for votes.
This guy is the whole Chicago package: an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator. He’s the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.
Reporters have worked so hard to present the Niebuhr-quoting idealist, but liberals love the who-needs-spending-limits Fast Eddie side, because they think it smells of victory.