Ralph Nader and some Greenpeace activists showed up yesterday outside our offices to shout slogans and wave signs - well, not Nader himself, but his crew. As you may know, Washington is the go-to stop on Amtrak when you have a sign and a slogan, so the lunchtime crowd is very used to this happening pretty much every day. In our view, Nader and crew should have promoted his appearance a little better, perhaps on D.C.'s numerous college campuses. As is, the whole thing seemed a bit ad hoc.
But it would be churlish of us not to include some photos. These were taken by NEI's staff photog, Anna Gomez.
This was directly in front of NEI's building - the front door faces a corner - and is what was going on before Mr. Nader arrived. This looks like a pretty thin crowd, but deceptively so - about 35 or so people aside from NEI employees turned out and some lunchtimers stopped for a moment or two to listen.
Here's Mr. Nader. The microphones poking at him are from various energy news outlets, like Platts. We didn't notice major press figures, though of course they might have been there. Note "Nukes" on the sign - a little whiff of eighties nostalgia. Happily, there were no headbands or day-glo pants on view.
Mr. Nader was a little taller than I expected, a bit slouchy and a bit hangdog. He has a strong, distinctive voice, but directed his comments mostly at those microphones rather than the gathered throng. He did deliver a bit of what seemed his stump speech on energy issues - you can get a sense of that at his web site - but was a fairly modest presence for a presidential candidate. I think we can assume he wants to promote issues that matter to him rather than have to pick an Agriculture Secretary, so the small audience and pack of interested newshounds seem about right.
Well, a little excitement on a Thursday - everyone was quite gracious, the tone remained friendly and inclusive rather than combative, and the Greenpeace folks looking to snare donations were as chirpy and animated as can be. It was a treat for many here to shake hands with Mr. Nader and express respect for what his life has been and continues to be: substantial, unique and very American.
The only outside link to this event I've found is to Crosswalk, a Christian outlet. If you find others, add them in the comments.