As one silky populist pony exits, a mangy old Clydesdale limps in to take his place. Dare we dream?

Ralph Nader has formed a presidential exploratory committee, and said in an interview Wednesday that he will launch another presidential bid if he’s convinced he can raise enough money to appear on the vast majority of state ballots this fall.

Nader, who ran as an independent candidate in each of the past three presidential elections, told ABCNews.com that he will run in 2008 if he is convinced over the next month that he would be able to raise $10 million over the course of the campaign — and attract enough lawyers willing to work free of charge to get his name on state ballots…

“When Kucinich threw in the towel, now you have Edwards gone — who’s going to carry the torch of democratic populism against the relentless domination of powerful corporations of our government?” Nader said.

Who indeed? It’s a measure of how far left Silky truly was (or pretended to be) that he managed to draw Nader’s support, as the whole raison d’etre for fringe types like this guy is that mainstream candidates, almost by definition, are “sellouts” who traded their radical cred for political power. Candidates like Hillary. And … Obama?

“His record in the Senate is pretty mediocre,” Nader said. “His most distinctive characteristic is the extent to which he censors himself. He hasn’t performed as a really progressive first-term senator would.”

His “self-censorship,” Nader said, “is a reflection of character.”

Somewhere Chris Matthews clutches his chest. Exit question one: Democrats wouldn’t dare repeat the mistake of 2000, would they? It can’t happen … unless disaffection with Hillary’s sliminess so alienates the left that they’re forced to go the Paulnut route by throwing their vote away on a vanity candidacy. Keep hope alive! Exit question two: If Obama wins the nomination, this tool doesn’t dare disturb the Narrative by sandbagging him from the left, does he? C’mon. And exit question three: How can the man responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre ever hope to win election? The wounds are still so fresh.