The Nader Interview

Stop Building 'an American Sparta'

Do you think you'll get on all of them this time?

"If that's all we do till July—but in process of doing it, we are developing the corps of people who will be getting out the vote in November."

People are saying you're going to be duped by Bush, that the Republicans will secretly finance you with a slush fund to split the Democrats.

"Well, first of all, if we ever see something like that, we'll reject it. We're not taking PAC contributions, so how are they going to slush-fund it? With two and twos? [He's referring to the $2,000 plus $2,000 limits on individual contributions.] We have seen very few two and twos from anyplace. Most of the contributions that have poured in are $50, $25, $75. We haven't seen any of this."

On Meet the Press you mentioned impeaching Bush. Is this a real possibility?

"The problem is you have to demystify impeachment. Clinton helped to demystify it. . . . You know, to me, impeachment is an investigation by the House. So what's the big deal? Republicans control the House, so that's not allowed to happen. That doesn't mean you don't talk about it. Start demystifying it, and raise the serious issue of him plunging the nation into war on a platform of fabrication and deception."

The impact of your race on Senate and House contests?

"It's a win-win for them. They recognize that. Look, I am now saying I will get more Republican votes than Democratic votes. One of the reasons is that in the party out of power, members come back into the fold. In the party in power, members jump ship. Staying home, they're looking for independents. Who are they? Liberal Republicans, and conservatives who are furious at Bush over trade, trampling on conservative principles. That's why I am telling them, 'Relax and rejoice.' I have never seen more superficial analysis. Unbelievable. The anybody-but-Bush mantra closes their mind."

What's it like to be somebody from a Middle Eastern background running for president after 9-11? [Nader is of Lebanese descent.] Is it harder?

"Not much. I am aware of all the Patriot Act arrests without charges, stereotyping, harassing, and dragnetting of Arab American immigrants. It's a very inefficient way of enforcing the law. The dragnet is notoriously inefficient in part because it dries up information and creates a lot of resentment. There is a civil liberties crisis in those communities. No doubt about that."


Additional reporting: Ashley Glacel and Alicia Ng

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