This from Independent Political Report about the Nader campaign's pipe-dream of being invited into the fall presidential debates:
In his “Washington Whispers” column on the U.S. News and World Report website, Paul Bedard writes, “Ralph Nader’s bid to win the White House might not be as hopeless as people think. Consider wrestler Jesse Ventura, says Nader’s team. He started with little support in the polls, got invited to the Minnesota gubernatorial debates, and eventually won after people got a chance to compare him with his foes. ‘Given the fact that people are largely dissatisfied,’ Nader spokesman Chris Driscoll tells Whispers, ‘it’s not surprising that some are starting to look to alternatives.’ An Associated Press poll has Nader at 6 percent. If he can reach 10 percent, Driscoll figures entry into the fall presidential debates should follow, and the rest could be history.”
The debates are rigorously controlled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which pompously declares its non-partisan intent to exclude everyone but the Democrat and Republican candidates based on a very careful selection process:
In each of the last five elections, there were scores of declared candidates for the Presidency, excluding those seeking the nomination of one of the major parties. During the course of the campaign, the candidates are afforded many opportunities in a great variety of forums to advance their candidacies. In order most fully and fairly to achieve the educational purposes of its debates, the CPD has developed nonpartisan, objective criteria upon which it will base its decisions regarding selection of the candidates to participate in its 2008 debates. The purpose of the criteria is to identify those candidates who have achieved a level of electoral support such that they realistically are considered to be among the principal rivals for the Presidency.
What are the criteria?
1) Constitutional eligibility
2) On the ballot in enough states to provide 270 electoral votes
3) National polling at 15%
So the Nader's camp's idea that somehow 10% polling will get their candidate into the debates, when it's also highly unlikely he'll be on the ballot in 270 electoral votes' worth of states is simply . . . delusional.
None of this, however, is as honest at the response that one Delaware Libertarian reader received from Mr. Allan Head, Executive Director of the North Carolina Bar Association regarding the exclusion of Dr Michael Munger from the state's gubernatorial debates:
Months ago before any third candidate was qualified to be on the ballot we planned our forum for those who were announced candidates. Since then we have scripted our morning to the minute and even if we wanted to add another candidate we just do not have time now to do so. We are sorry that we cannot accommodate Dr. Munger's desire to participate and we hope you can understand our situation.
In other words, we've got our agenda set, it involves two parties, and we really don't give a shit about democracy.