Nader calls Bush `dictator'
DEFEATED IN 2000, HE DENIES CANDIDACY ALLOWED GOP TO TRIUMPH
By Kaye Ross
Sunday, March 23, 2003
Ralph Nader said his 2000 presidential candidacy -- which
some say siphoned off votes that could have meant a
Democratic victory -- is not to blame for President Bush or
The war in Iraq developed instead, he said, from ``a
messianic militaristic determination turned by a closed
mind, facilitated by a cowering Congress and opposition
Democrat Party and undeterred by a `probing' press.''
Bush is acting ``in effect as a selected dictator,'' Nader
told the Mercury News in an interview Friday. The president
has not listened to any of the many retired admirals,
generals and foreign-policy experts who have warned against
the war, Nader said. And the stated reasons for going to war
``have either been disproved or greatly distorted,'' he
The greatest danger will come, Nader said, after the war has
been won. Bush, whom he called ``a hit-and-run president,''
will not stick with the difficult, protracted process of
rebuilding Iraq and making it democratic, he said.
The warring factions Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has held
at bay will dissolve into Shiite Muslims against Sunni
Muslims against secular Baath Party loyalists, and Kurds
fighting invading Turks, he said.
``For a cheap political advantage, the administration will
destroy freedoms and civil rights, undermine our economy and
destroy the position of the United States in the world,''
But it's not his fault, he said. In fact, people could just
as easily blame David McReynolds, the Socialist Party
candidate in 2000, for giving the key state of Florida to
Bush, he noted. McReynolds polled 622 votes in the state,
and Democratic Vice President Al Gore lost by 537 votes.
Nader, who ran as the Green Party candidate, got 97,488
``When people ask me this, I say, `What would you have me
do?' '' Nader said. ``Everybody has a right to run for office.''