Ralph Quixote

The favorite son of my hometown (Winsted, CT), announced his candidacy for the Presidency yesterday on Meet the Press. Ralph Nader has generally been embraced by his mostly liberal blue-collar hometown. Even those who disagree with his politics and tactics tend to acknowledge his impact on the consumer protection laws and the environment.

But Nader’s Sunday morning chat show appearance was kind of sad.

I’m not going to criticize him about being a potential spoiler in this campaign (although I do believe that to be true in the 2004 Presidential campaign and, given the current climate, may be true again). But what the Meet the Press interview revealed about him was that, although his ideas may be progressive, his single-mindedness and dogged determination may be his own undoing.

The interview reveals a man who is frustrated — even bitter — at his own inability to see his ideas gain wider acceptance. There seems to be a complete lack of pragmatism about his approach. It’s as though he’s never learned how to move from the theoretical to the practical.