When consumer scold Ralph Nader had a later-life crisis a decade ago, he ran for president. Claiming to be fed up with the compromises Democrats had made with big business, he threw his hat in the ring as an independent three times, only to have it stomped on by liberal voters who, in other circumstances, were rather fond of him, writes John Fund in the Wall Street Journal.
Now Mr. Nader may be adjusting his ambitions down the political food chain as he contemplates running for Senate in his native Connecticut, challenging Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, whom he views as an ethically-challenged symbol of the Democratic Party's failure to stand up to special interests.
Last week, he criticized Mr. Dodd for being "very concessionary to the banks and the brokerage houses for years." Connecticut's Green Party is urging Mr. Nader to make the race, but so far he will only say he is "absorbing a lot of the feedback before I make a decision."
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Mr. Nader says he will run only if there is a true "bottom-up" demand for a new kind of senator from Connecticut. Mr. Dodd would have reason to worry about a Nader insurgency. Connecticut has been kind to renegades. It elected an independent as governor in the 1990s and Joe Lieberman, Mr. Dodd's colleague, won re-election to the Senate running as an independent after losing the Democratic primary in 2006.
Mr. Nader wouldn't have to win more than a few percentage points to make Mr. Dodd an even more vulnerable target for any of several Republican candidates currently eyeing his seat.