On Ralph Nader, the media, parrots and pandas

I spoke with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader about an hour ago in advance of his visit to the Bay Area next week. We talked mostly about the financial market bailout – that’s what I wrote a story about, though I’m not sure if it’ll make it into tomorrow’s editions or Thursday’s – but we also discussed this ad of his:

The YouTube blurb: “Cardozo, here you are from the free flying Amazon jungle to a cage in Utah –albeit an open door cage with a fine master. Do not feel sad, Cardozo. Millions of voters have also been put into an invisible cage. It is a corporate-dominated two-party cage with no open door unless they break out and vote for Nader/Gonzalez. They stand specific and tall for justice, peace and freedom within a competitive democracy.”

Nader sighed sadly as I asked him about it today. “We have the best proposals to turn this country around, practical and seasoned – and Cardoza is the winner for hits on our Web site.”

“It’s all about the theater of the absurd,” Nader said, the same way he’ll be a guest on HBO’s rollicking “Real Time with Bill Maher” this Friday night to comment on the presidential candidates’ debate from which he was excluded.

He has taken tough questions from Conan O’Brien’s Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, he said, but can’t get calls returned from Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers, Terry Gross, Jim Lehrer, Katie Couric, Brian Williams or Charles Gibson due to “the political bigotry against third parties.”

So meanwhile, he’ll talk to parrots.

Nader repeated to me his thought from the video that perhaps he’ll don a panda suit and amble on down to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to see if he can catch the mass media’s attention. I told him Oakland has been trying to get pandas for almost a decade, and urged him to give me an exclusive. We’ll see.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Hi Josh!

    I support Nader’s initiative to get his party noticed by the mass media & happen to own a hollywood quality panda suit (see http://www.animatronicbear.com/pandasuit.html ) If you are doing anything relating to his visit next week and can use me in my realistic suit, I live up here and am available (any day but Wednesday mid-day).

    Let me know!!

  • rewgolfer

    Ralph Nader runs for President every 4 years.He’s been doing this since 1972 It’s a little hustle he has going. Every 4 years he get reams of publicity for running for prsident. He gets his name out there, which keeps his lecture fees up and increases the fundraising for his political action committees. He’s done this now 11 times – he’s run for President 11 times, but every 4 years the national press gives him all sorts of publicity. You’d think the national press would have caught on to this guy by now. It’s the same hustle every four years.