Despite what the media say, Ralph Nader’s decision to run for the presidency in 2004 is not a setback for the Democratic Party as much as it is a setback for the billionaire who is buying the Democratic Party, George Soros. Walt Contreras Sheasby, a left-wing writer, had written months ago about how Soros was buying influence in the Democratic Party through financial grants to its special interest groups. Soros, he wrote, “subsidizes many of the activist groups, luminaries and publications of the American left?” He said that the Soros effort was also directed toward steering the former Nader voters and the independent left back into the Democratic Party.
In a 1999 article, Nader had heaped praise on Soros, calling him the “very successful financier and civil society supporter?” In a later speech, Nader said, “In my judgment, and in the judgment of many citizen groups in the United States, and in the judgment of George Soros, himself, a successful financier, the global corporation is now the major threat to the democratic processes in our world.”
If Nader was appealing for Soros money with this flattery, it’s not clear that it worked. Although Ron Zucker, the web publisher for Nader’s Public Citizen organization, claims that “Soros has not made major contributions to Public Citizen,” other sources tell a far different story. The Soros Open Society Institute disclosed a $100,000 contribution to the Public Citizen Foundation, and Opinion Journal.com said its review of the records showed that Soros had made contributions to Public Citizen totaling $275,000. Public Citizen is behind a new website, whitehouseforsale.org. Yet the website doesn’t highlight how Soros is exploiting loopholes in the campaign finance law to buy the White House for the Democrats.
Whatever the actual amount of money going to Public Citizen, it wasn’t enough to buy Ralph Nader. On Meet the Press on February 22, host Tim Russert challenged Nader’s decision to run by noting that The Nation magazine opposed such a campaign. The Nation had just published a flattering article on a Soros-funded group, the Center for American Progress, and Nation writer Eric Alterman works for the group as a “senior fellow.”
Not surprisingly, Alterman has gushed with praise for Soros, noting his anti-Israel position on the Middle East. He hailed Soros as willing “to challenge the prevailing ideological winds in Washington?How fortunate for us that he cares enough about his adopted country to do what he can to reverse them.” The New York Observer reported that Alterman impressed a freelance writer by taking her to a Soros meeting in New York.
It appears Soros is a “fat cat” that many on the left are eager to embrace, perhaps because he has provided them millions of dollars. In that context, the League of Conservation Voters has been critical of Nader’s decision to run. It has endorsed Kerry and has received money from foundations associated with Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz. Whatever you want to say about Nader, it looks like he cannot be bought. That helps explain why so many in the liberal media are now spewing venom at the man they once loved.