Thursday, August 03, 2000

Nader vs. Floridian Republican Party

THE REPUBLICANS: THE GREEN PARTY; Nader Crashes, And Bashes, G.O.P.'s Party

Published: August 03, 2000
Finally, with pedestrian traffic at a complete stop, Al Cardenas stepped forward and said: ''Excuse me, Mr. Nader. I'm the chairman of the Florida delegation, and this is our area.''It took the presence of Ralph Nader consumer advocate, professional gadfly and himself a candidate for president of the United States -- but something finally happened here tonight that, one assumes, was not in the Republican Party script. 
Right in the middle of the presidential nomination roll-call, Mr. Nader charged onto the convention floor, plopped himself in front of the Florida delegation and began tearing into the Republican Party and George W. Bush.
''Why am I here?'' he said, crushed amid a throng of delegates and reporters. ''I wanted to observe this thing in action. This is the most spectacular display of cash-register politics in the history of our country.''
''The message,'' he continued, patiently answering questions from any reporter who had one, ''is to go home and rethink what they're doing to the country when they sell the political system to corporate interests.''
As a rule, Green Party candidates for president are not allowed onto the tightly guarded floor of the Republican National Convention, where everyone, even Republican leaders, wears credentials strung around the neck. Mr. Nader was displaying broadcast media credentials, courtesy of a reporter from WBAI, a Pacifica Radio station in New York, who took him out onto the floor for an interview.
Although polls show that Mr. Nader's campaign has cut into support for Vice President Al Gore*, his venture tonight out among the Republicans was met with something less than an enthusiastic reaction from the Florida delegates, who seemed a bit shocked. First there were chants of ''Go, Bush! Go, Bush!'' Then Mel Martinez, a delegate from Orlando, stepped forward to thrust a Bush-Cheney sign into Mr. Nader's hands. Mr. Nader courteously thanked Mr. Martinez for the souvenir and promised to relish it.
Mr. Cardenas informed Mr. Nader that he would be welcome to join the Republican Party but that meanwhile it was time for him to go. And, with a little pushing from other delegates, he did.
*In the 2000 election, more registered Democrats in Florida voted for Bush than all Florida voters who voted for Nader. 
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