Q: So, comparing those two descriptions, it sounds like you think Kerry would be a better president than Bush.
A: Well, it's a very easy act to follow. No Democrat could be a worse president than Bush. Bush basically has escaped accountability because the Democrats have not demonstrated to tens of millions of Americans that he doesn't really care about workers. He doesn't really care about shoppers. He doesn't care about patients. He doesn't care about the environment. He doesn't care about the small taxpayer he's bleeding by corporate welfare. He doesn't care about people getting a living wage or health care. Now, once you demonstrate that as a major party, you landslide the opposition. But they can't even demonstrate that!
Q: Why not?
A: I asked Kerry once that very question a few months ago. I said, If the Republicans are as bad as you think there are—and they're worse, John—why isn't the Democratic Party for the last 10 years landsliding the Republicans, instead of losing at the local, state, and national levels to the worst of the Republican Party?
Q: And what did he say?
A: Because they have so much money they can cloud the issues. And that answer is the symbol of the decadence of the Democratic Party. They don't talk about message -- standing up forthrightly for the American people; putting corporations as servants, not as our masters; they don't talk about the way they could get a lot of votes. Precinct organization, knocking on doors, having meetings, not just blowing $86 million in the last four months for 30-second television ads that hardly moved him in the polls. You see? They're not talking about registering nine million African-American voters which Jesse Jackson Sr. says they're not doing. That would win swing states for them.
Q: I spoke with Howard Zinn earlier today about your candidacy, and here's what he had to say: "I don't believe that people in uncertain states should vote for Nader or any third-party candidate. I think in contested states, people should vote for Kerry -- not because Kerry's the ideal candidate, and in spite of Kerry's position on the war -- simply because Bush is the most dangerous president that we have had in the last century-plus. It's important to get Bush and his very, very warlike and antidemocratic group out of the White House and Kerry in. With Kerry in, we have at least a small step forward toward a change in policy. With Bush, we're back where we are today, only with even more authority given to him by a win in the election." What do you think of that reasoning?
A: I think Kerry will take those voters for granted and continue being the lapdog -- as all recent presidents have been -- of the military-industrial complex, which President Eisenhower warned us against in his farewell address. I mean, it isn't really Kerry or Bush. They're the puppets. It's the major puppeteers, which are the Lockheed-Martins and the Raytheons and the Boeings, and all the other corporations that are strategically planning our economy and our politics and our genetic future and our childhood and our environment and our education and our workplace and our consumption patterns. You see, most radicals like Howard Zinn really think that, residually, there is some elbow room for elected officials in Washington. That was true years ago; it is far less true now than at any time in American history
The corporations in Washington, first they put their executives in high positions regardless of which party's in power. You know who goes into the Secretary of the Treasury, the Department of Defense, the Food and Drug Administration and so on. Then they have nine thousand political action committees pumping, one dinner after another, money into the members of Congress. And then they have 25,000 full-time lobbyists connected with their dealerships and insurance agencies and so on all over the country, with the mass media, right? So why do we think that in the conditions of that gigantic corporate straitjacket in Washington, DC, that John Kerry is going to be able to break out, when for 18 years he's been part of that system?
Q: The array of forces that you described just then -- I find it hard to hear that description and not feel totally pessimistic about the prospect of any individual affecting change. How do you change what you've just described?
A: You have politicians who have moral courage, political courage, to stand up to them, and then hurl the voters -- who are still the generic power in this country, if they choose to organize and focus their power -- hurl that against the corporate presence. But you don't do that when you're dialing for dollars ferociously to bring in -- a million dollars a day, I hear Kerry's now bringing in.
Q: Can you envision any circumstances that would prompt you to withdraw from the race?
A: No, not at all. I mean, I would ask them to withdraw before I would withdraw.
Q: How many states are you assured of getting on the ballot in?
A: We'll get into over 40 states. All the deadlines are coming due in the next two months.
Q: What if, hypothetically speaking, Kerry offered to appoint you attorney general if he was elected?
A: I would say, Don't try anything like that, John, because you're wasting your time. We're looking for deeds, not for words, not for payoffs. We're looking for deeds.
Q: Wouldn't that be, if he put you in a position like that?
A: No, because you couldn't get confirmed with a Republican Congress that the Democrats should have defeated since the Republicans lost in 1994. I mean, what are the Democrats doing, losing in 2002? They should have won both the House and the Senate. And they keep losing to the worst of the Republican Party. This is what the Democrats aren't asking themselves -- why are they are supporting a party that can't even beat the worst of the Republicans, the most anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer Republicans? And instead of saying, 'Gee, maybe a second front against Bush -- maybe someone going around the country taking Bush apart in ways we don't dare to, or we're too indentured to the same moneyed interests to, is a good thing; maybe we can pick up some ideas from this second front that's going around the country; maybe we should log into VoteNader.org and see Ten Winning Strategies for John Kerry, if he had the guts to stand up for them… Like living family wage.' You've got 47 million workers out there who make less than 10 bucks an hour -- six, seven, eight bucks an hour.
Q: But you don't see that sort of interest in incorporating any of your ideas?
A: Well, we keep pushing them. You look at our web site, we send about two a week to Bush and Kerry.
Q: Do you hear back from either campaign?
A: Never hear back from any of them. Which means that what they're saying to the public is, it's just politics as usual.
Q: You've been adamant in arguing that you did not cost Gore the election in 2000.
A: I know a little statistics. You don't pick out one variable -- for example, you don't pick out one variable when 10 times more Democrats deserted Gore in Florida and voted for Bush than voted for me. When Gore lost Tennessee, his home state. When the mayor of Miami sabotaged him and cost him thousands of votes. When the Democrats weren't vigilant before their country chair approved the butterfly ballot. When they didn't catch Katherine Harris on the phony ex-felon list. Now, aside from the statistical flaw of that kind of reasoning, let's look at the equitable flaw. If we all have an equal right to run for office -- and I find it hard to find anyone who says no, theoretically -- then we're either all spoilers, because we're all trying to get votes from one another, or none of us are spoilers.
Q: So is it safe to say --
A: And by the way, how do you spoil a political system spoiled to the core? There's a metaphor there. Go ahead.
Q: Is it safe to say that you can't envision a scenario in which you would cost -- and I understand your objection to the terminology -- can you not envision a scenario in which you would cost Kerry the election?
A: The only scenario is if everybody voted, and you had a tight drum. But when you've got 100 million people not voting? And they're not scrambling for those votes? And let's say we're getting six, seven, eight, nine, two, whatever million votes? And you've got 100 million? It's absurd.
Q: Much has been written of late about the assistance that your campaign has received from Republicans like former House Republican leader Dick Armey's political action committee.
A: All talk, no results. Except what they tried to pull off in Michigan [the Michigan state Republican party submitted approximately 40,000 signatures to get Nader on the presidential ballot as an independent candidate], which we're not accepting, because we're on the Reform Party ticket.page 1 page 2 page 2 page 3
Issue Date: July 26, 2004
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