rn> Nader: “Why I’m running”, plus an interview


Richard Moore

Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 09:28:36 -0800
To: •••@••.•••,•••@••.•••
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Why I'm Running by Ralph Nader
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Published on Sunday, October 29, 2000 in the New York Times

                 Why I'm Running
                 by Ralph Nader

                 To the Editor:

You discredit our democracy by editorializing on Oct. 26
that the limited ground covered by the Gore and Bush
candidacies should define political competition in this
election. Millions of voters, when they contrast actual
records to rhetoric, find the two major-party candidates
similar on excessive corporate power over our government.

George W. Bush has a dismal record on the environment,
health care and judicial rights. Al Gore has furthered
big-business control in America, letting corporations decide
whether we eat genetically engineered food, letting big
agribusiness destroy family farms, and supporting
concentration in the financial, telecommunications, cable
and health care industries. Mr. Gore's actual record on many
environmental issues, in one industry after another, has
been one of surrender.

Similarities between these two candidates abound. They take
millions in corporate campaign cash (we don't  -  practicing
what we preach). They agree on the death penalty, on no
universal health care coverage now, on more military
spending, on the World Trade Organization and the North
American Free Trade Agreement, on corporate welfare and on
slashing the social safety net. They take no stand on
repealing anti-union labor laws that keep many millions of
workers earning nonliving wages or on fighting corporate

My candidacy not only provides the sole competition on these
issues, but also prevents Mr. Gore from cornering votes on
the environment simply by not being as bad as Mr. Bush.

You miss the critical point: we seek long-term political
reform through a growing party that pushes the two parties
toward reforms that you have espoused over the years, thus
far in vain.

                 RALPH NADER

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Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 21:16:25 -0800
To: •••@••.•••
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Ralph Nader Interview With Sam Donaldson
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This interview is worth it alone just to witness Donaldson's
hostility and the utterly ridiculous quote from the NYT
editorial. Enjoy!

Published on Monday, October 30, 2000

Ralph Nader Interview With Sam Donaldson
Transcript from ABC's This Week Sunday, October 29, 2000

SAM DONALDSON: Joining us now is the presidential candidate
of the Association of Green Parties, Ralph Nader. Welcome,
Mr. Nader.

RALPH NADER: Thank you.

DONALDSON: Nice to see you. Well, last August when The New
York Times published an editorial against you, you called it
shameful. I'm going to give you a chance to respond to their
editorial last Thursday, which reads, in part: "We would
regard Mr. Nader's willful prankishness as a disservice to
the electorate, no matter whose campaign it was hurting. The
country deserves a clear up-or-down vote between Mr. Bush
and Mr. Gore. He calls his wrecking-ball candidacy a matter
of principle, but it looks from here like ego run amok."
Your reply?

NADER: Sounds like a tabloid editorial. Maybe we need a
clear-cut choice with two good newspapers in New York. I
mean, what's the idea here? Aren't we interested in
competitive choice in this country? Don't we - voters in poll
after poll say they want a broader array of choices, that
they want a broader array of people on the debates.
Sixty-four percent in a Fox poll wanted me on the
presidential debate. I have no idea why they are so
virulently anti-Green Party candidacy.

DONALDSON: Well, excuse me, sir, but, yes, you do. I mean,
like a lot of Democrats, newspapers think that you may throw
this race to Bush, and they want it to go to Gore.

NADER: Well, The New York Times did endorse Gore, but the
point is that we are espousing all kinds of issues that The
New York Times editorials in past newspaper editions were on
the same page...

DONALDSON: Well, you said repeatedly that you don't think
you would throw the race to Bush. You don't think it
matters. You've said it doesn't matter to you who is the
president of the United States, Bush or Gore.

NADER: Because it's the permanent corporate government
that's running the show here. What do you think 22,000
corporate lobbyists every day and 9,000 corporate PACs do?
The two parties are becoming increasingly insignificant that
way, and you can see they're morphing more and more, on more
and more issues, into one corporate party. Look at Senator
Joe Lieberman. Could you figure out whether he's a Democrat
or a Republican this morning? Said he might have voted for
Mr. Bork. He is for control of the civil justice system,
making it harder for wrongfully injured people to sue
companies with defective products. That's a Republican

DONALDSON: Well, he also said he worries about you. And
perhaps he has some reason to, whether you think so or not.
In our latest ABCNEWS tracking poll, or one we took last
Thursday, we found that you had about 3 percent overall. It
may be 4 percent by this weekend. But if Nader wasn't
running, 56 percent of your supporters say they would go for
Gore; only 23 percent would go for Bush. So he's right,
you're wrong, if our poll is correct.

NADER: Why do you think I should be worried about that? If I
was worried about whether Gore or Bush were going to be
elected, would I be running for president to establish a
progressive political reform movement before and after
November 7, which is what we're trying to do? You know, do
you think Gore is entitled to any votes? Do you think Bush
is entitled - am I entitled to any votes? We have to earn
them. If Gore cannot beat the bumbling Texas governor with
that horrific record, what good is he? What good is he? Good
heavens. I mean, this should be a slam dunk.

DONALDSON: Well, all right. If it's not important to you,
then let's see whether it's important to the people who are,
at the moment, saying they're going to vote for you. Let's
start with abortion. Here's the ad that the National
Abortion Rights League, NARAL, is running against you, a
portion of it.


NARRATOR: If you're thinking of voting for Ralph Nader,
please consider: This year, a five-to-four Supreme Court
decision narrowly protected Roe v. Wade. A single vote saved
a woman's right to choose. Before voting Nader, consider the


DONALDSON: Consider the risk.

NADER: Consider it. Justice Souter, Justice O'Connor, they
could've overturned Roe v. Wade three times in the last ten
years. They didn't do it. This is a scare tactic that's
going on here. When George W. Bush was asked by Tim Russert,
is he going to push to reverse Roe v. Wade, George Bush
said, well, not unless a lot of people in this country
change their mind. Even if Roe v. Wade is reversed that
doesn't end it; it just reverts it back to the states.

DONALDSON: Well, President Clinton has nominated and seen
confirmed two justices, Ginsburg and Breyer. They are safely
on NARAL's side. In the case of President Reagan, Scalia is
on the court. So if you say, at least he put O'Connor on the
court, and she is on NARAL's side at the moment, you're only
batting 500 there. You're batting 1,000 with Clinton, and
Gore says he'll beat Clinton.

NADER: Remember your history. The Democrats made it possible
for Scalia and Clarence Thomas to get through the Senate.
Scalia was confirmed 98 to nothing, including Al Gore
supporting him. Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52 to 48, with
11 Democratic senators putting him over the top in a Senate
controlled by the Democratic majority and George Mitchell.
They're responsible for the two worst justices. By their own
admission, they're the two worst justices. What credibility
do they have?

DONALDSON: So you're saying to your supporters, hey, it
doesn't matter who, Gore or Bush. From the standpoint of a
woman's right to choose, it doesn't matter. That's' what
you're saying.

NADER: What it matters is the similarities - the enormous
similarities, letting this national capital of ours be run
by big business, just the way Business Week said the other
day in a cover story, saying there's too much corporate
power over all aspects of our life.

DONALDSON: OK, let's look at another issue.
Environment - that's your issue. Well, first it was
automobiles, "Unsafe at any Speed." But now it's the
environment. Look at what some of the people who admire you,
but who also are for the environment, have to say. Some of
your former Nader's Raiders - great group. Here's what some of
them have said: "To ask voters to support your candidacy on
the basis that there are not major differences between the
Republican and Democratic Parties" - meaning on the
environment - "is a serious misstatement of fact." And Robert
F. Kennedy, Jr., who has devoted his life now to being part
of environmental organizations, says, "His suggestion that
there is no difference between Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush is

NADER: I'll match that with Barry Collander (ph), David
Brower (ph), and Randy Hays (ph), who are part of an
environmentalists-against-Gore group. Gore talks
environment. In one area after another, he has betrayed the
environmental movement, whether it's on biotechnology, motor
vehicles, pesticides and herbicides, WTO and NAFTA, one area
after another, environmental racism, incinerators in East
Ohio, the Everglades - he just cannot conform his deeds to his

DONALDSON: But he says he would not open the Wildlife Arctic
Refuge to oil exploration; Bush would. He says he would
prevent new roads in national forests for logging; Bush
would not. You say that's not a difference?

NADER: Those are linguistic differences, but will he fight
for them? Has Al Gore ever fought for any of these things,
really? Look at all the riders now on the appropriation
bills Republicans have put on: delaying the arsenic
standard, delaying the publicity of which cities have the
worst pollution. Have you seen Al Gore take a strong stand
against that? Has he recommended to Clinton that that bill
be vetoed? You know, there's a difference in Washington,
Sam, between the word and the deed. You spent an entire
career exploiting that difference. And it's important to
recognize that politicians who speak with forked tongues and
metaphorical Pinnochial noses be brought to account in this
country. He can't even speak against nuclear power and in
favor of solar energy. He wrote a great book, but he can't
put it in practice.

DONALDSON: Well, you said linguistic differences. In other
words, if he makes a promise, you can just dismiss it as
saying, well, that's just a linguistic difference. If you
make a promise, though, we have to believe you.

NADER: Thirty-seven years of beliefs, Sam. When have you
ever seen me waiver? I do like windmills for solar energy,
but I'm not a windmill.

DONALDSON: All right, let's look at some of the other
differences that some people think are important, and you
can call them linguistic if you want. We've just compiled
about three: Bush would offer private investment accounts on
Social Security to some extent; Gore would not. Bush would
lower taxes for everyone; Gore would not. Bush favors a
voucher-type option in education; Gore does not. Linguistic?

NADER: You think they're going to make the decisions? AARP
is going to make the decision on Social Security, the
retired people's lobby, and the corporate lobbies are going
to make the other decisions. That's what our concern is. We
look at Washington as having been hijacked, just the way
Senator John McCain said. Politicians, in order to get
reelected, raise tons of money from these corporate
interests, and in return they sell our government to the
highest bidder. That's the overriding issue in this
election. Are the people going to run this country? Or are
the corporations going to run this country?

DONALDSON: Or the lobbyists? But some lobbyists vote for the
environment: Senator Nelson, a former senator from
Wisconsin, the chairman of a very great environmental group.
They're lobbyists. If their lobbyists are on Capitol Hill,
that's OK, but if General Motors lobby, that's terrible. Is
that what you're saying?

NADER: Well, one lobbies for profit and pollution; the other
lobby's for conviction against pollution. You know, there is
a difference. I mean, if you compare Senator Nelson with
General Motors, that's an easy choice.

DONALDSON: All right, you've talked about a vote that Joe
Lieberman says he might have made had he been in the Senate.


DONALDSON: You say that if you'd been in the Senate, you
would have voted to convict Bill Clinton in his impeachment
trial; correct?

NADER: Correct, and I would have voted against Bork, and I
fought vigorously against Scalia and Thomas, which is more
than I can say for Vice President Gore.

DONALDSON: You think Clinton is - what? - a liar, a perjurer, I
mean, what?

NADER: I think he disgraced the office. He then lied about
it. A judge confirmed that. He dragged it out and he took a
year of journalism from both of you.

DONALDSON: Well, a lot of your supporters, according to our
poll, we're Clinton supporters.

NADER: Well, they're going to have to choose, aren't they?

DONALDSON: All right, let's see about that, because the
Democrats are worried about you, in some swing states
particularly. They say you could tip the balance. But we've
got some good news for them and perhaps some bad news for
you. In our ABCNEWS tracking poll, which we released this
morning, we asked people that - well, how solid are they?
Might they switch? May they change their mind? Thirteen
percent of the Bush supporters said they might change their
mind; 16 percent of the Gore supporters said they might
change their mind; 56 percent of your supporters say they
might change their mind, and six in 10 of those say very
probably they're going to come back home.

NADER: Well, there are non-voters who aren't polled. Their
are young voters, millions of them on college campuses, who
are drawing the biggest political rallies, by the way, of
the entire presidential campaign, filling Madison Square
Garden and Boston Garden, and let's see in eight days or
nine days, Sam. We don't have to wait very long. But that's
not the end of it. We're going to break through the tape on
election day and build the third largest party in America by
quantity and the number one party in terms of spirit, in
terms of trying to turn this country over to a deliberative
democracy backed by informed citizens, which is the way it
was originally envisioned. You know, there are certain
things that aren't for sale that the corporations want for
sell. Our democracy isn't for sale, our government shouldn't
be for sale, our personal privacies, our human genes, our
children - they shouldn't be for sale. Commercialism is just
reeking and rancid, permeating almost every nook and cranny
of our society. This is not only a political movement; it's
an ethical, morale movement, it's a movement to put people
back in charge.

DONALDSON: Ralph Nader, thanks for being with us. We're
non-partisan on this program, so we can wish everyone luck.
Good luck.

NADER: Thank you, Sam.

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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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