I voted for Nader last time, and I am generally supportive of him--though I did not sign petitions for him to be on the Oregon ballot, because I want Bush out.
Anyway, I think it's clear that the democrats are sleazy and did some crappy things with the Nader petitions--but they are politicians, I mean what do you expect. They didn't break any laws, and they didn't do anything that politicians all over the country don't do. I'm not condoning it, but I think the ranting bears a little perspective.
Third party politicians have always faced steep challenges, and the only way to overcome that is with a message that truly resonates with people. I think Nader approached that last election, but was nowhere close this time--I mean the world has changed fundamentally in the past four years but it sounds like Ralph is reading the exact same talking points.
If there was much support for Nader in Oregon, the Democrat's tricks would not matter. Last election, Nader got 10,000 people to pay $7 each to see him speak, and as recently as last summer, he attracted several thousand to Lewis & Clark.
But, when he needed people to support his candidacy, he couldn't get a thousand real supporters to show--because the people of Oregon don't want him on the ballot. The people aren't dumb, if Nader had support like last election he would have packed his first nominating convention.
77,000 Oregonians voted for Nader last time, and only 750 showed up to his first convention--that's a huge drop in public support. The second time, 1100 people or so came, but only 950 signed the petition, and again Nader didn't qualify. Sure those Democrats were sleazy, but if 2,000 people cared enough to show up for Nader, the Democrats would have been irrelevant. And if they had stayed home, there simply wouldn't have been enough people in the Roseland. The only thing the Democrats accomplished was delaying the result of the convention, if they had stayed home, Nader's campaign would have had to announce immediatly that they did not get enough support.
(And I'm sick of Nader campaing workers saying that they were "required to close the door when enough people were present" as if they turned away a bunch of supporters. All they are required to do is close the door during the nominating, they can wait until as many people are inside as fire code allows--in 2000, Nader's nominating convention closed the doors when over 10,000 people were inside.)
The same is true of the petitions, if they had gotten even half the people who voted for Ralph in 2000 to sign, then the thrown out signatures would have not affected the outcome. The only reason technicalities were able to disqualify Nader is because his campaign was only able to get 18,000 signatures in a state of 3.5 million people.
I certianly wish the Democrats had a bit of integrity and trust in democracy, but I'm frankly not a bit surprised by what they did. The bottom line is that Nader does not have much support in Oregon, if he did he would be on the ballot now.