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Nader says expectations too low

Green Party nominee for president campaigns at JCU

Thursday, September 28, 2000

By JOE FROLIK

and EBONY REED
PLAIN DEALER REPORTERS

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  • Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader often is asked if a vote for him is wasted since his chances of winning are slim.

    So during yesterday’s campaign stops at John Carroll University in University Heights and in East Liverpool and Youngstown, Nader tried to turn that criticism on its head. He challenged audiences not to waste votes on Democrats and Republicans he dismissed as more similar than different.

    And last night at John Carroll, Nader challenged everyone to think of the future in conditional terms.

    What if 40-hour work weeks meant a fair living wage? he asked. What if we clean up our environment? Or if we had better education? What if we offered to help drug addicts rather than to treat them like criminals? What if we didn’t have corporate greed?

    "Our expectations are too low in this country," said Nader, whose running mate is Winona LaDuke. "You keep [the] expectation down, and the demand doesn’t go up."

    He reiterated themes at Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center. "After November, we’re going to see the Green Party emerge as a watchdog and a goad," he said. "Before it’s over, the two parties are never going to be the same again. They’re either going to stop bowing down to big business or they’re going to start going away."

    Most recent polls show Nader drawing less than 5 percent of the vote against Democrat Al Gore, Republican George W. Bush and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan.

    In East Liverpool, he called the vice president a "certified political coward" who betrayed the Columbiana County community by reneging on a 1992 promise to block a hazardous waste incinerator on the Ohio River banks.

    "Mr. Gore," Nader said at a news conference at the offices of the local school district, "after seven years of denials and delay, the time has come to shut down that incinerator."

    Gore has maintained that a last-minute decision by the outgoing administration of Bush’s father, George Bush, made it impossible for him to halt the Von Roll Waste Technologies Industries incinerator. In a letter sent Tuesday to Nader, George Frampton Jr., chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, insisted the plant has received more scrutiny "than any other such facility."

    But weeks ago Nader asked whether Gore asked Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency to delay WTI’s final permits. Frampton’s letter did not address that. White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said he was unable to verify if a request had been made.

    At every stop, Nader pushed a platform - including universal health insurance and tougher stances on trade deals - that he said is not even on the radar screens of Gore and George W. Bush. He urged voters not to settle for "the lesser of two evils, because at the end of the day, you’ve still got evil."

    That hit home with Richard Wolf, president of the East Liverpool school board and long-time foe of the incinerator. He had been planning to vote for Gore over Bush, whom he considers weaker on environmental issues.

    "But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking," Wolf said, "and [Nader] has to be a viable option."

    E-mail: jfrolik@plaind.com

    Phone: (216) 999-4548

    E-mail: ereed@plaind.com

    Phone: (216) 999-4848

    ©2000 THE PLAIN DEALER. Used with permission.


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