It would be funny if it were not potentially tragic that Ralph Nader will be on various state ballots, including Oregon's, as a candidate for president. The only role that Nader can play in this election is spoiler. In that, of course, he resembles Bob Barr, who will run in at least one state on a third party ticket as a right-wing flank to the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.

Nader's script is that there is no real difference between the major party candidates. After eight years of the Bush presidency, you would think that Nader would be laughed out of the room with that observation. But the guy still has a following that doesn't want to be bothered with the reality of the 2000 election in which Nader was the difference between Al Gore's winning New Hampshire.

Between Al Gore and what George W. Bush became there is a gaping hole. To say there is no difference between McCain and Barack Obama is equally absurd. Does the phrase Supreme Court appointments ring a bell? McCain is an avowed opponent of Roe v. Wade. And how about the next president, Sarah Palin?

Of course Nader would run things differently if he were president. But that is not reality, and reality is not what the 74-year-old Nader's run is about. At best, the pathos of the aging serial presidential candidate is material for an Edward Albee play.

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