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Ralph Nader Beverly A. Orr INTERVIEW On the Road Again An Interview with Ralph Nader, Public Citizen Number One alph Nader brought his latest Rproject, the Democracy Rising Tour, to Austin in mid-January. On his first return to town since the 2000 presidential tour, Nader once again filled the 7,000 seat Toney Burger center to capacity. This time the theme was “revitalizing the grassroots,” and the emphasis was on encouraging local progressive groups to network with each other.The entryway and rear of the hall were crowded with tables set up by dozens of local organizations, from Campus Greens, the new, fast-growing Green Party student organizing drive, to local campaign finance initiatives. Lefty singer-songwriters Jackson Browne and Patti Smith are accompanying Nader on the tour. Nader’s new book, Crashing the Party, describes his experience as a dark horse candidate taking on both the Democratic establishment and the Republicans, and the backlash he has felt from liberals who felt he betrayed their cause by helping to elect George W. Bush. A decidedly unrepentant Nader met with a handful of journalists for an hour-long interview before the event. ON THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY They’re fossils. They’re not even on the page. You’re dealing with the contest between corporate Republicans and corporate Democrats, and they don’t give any leeway to the progressive wing. You know when [Senator Russ] Patriot bill? He gets a call from Ashcroftyou know he supported Ashcroft. So Ashcroft says, “I understand your objections to this and if there are any areas that we can come to a negotiation and alleviate some of your concerns, I’ll be happy to meet.” [Feingold] goes to [Sen. Majority Daschle says, “No.” He can’t even get any amendments proposed. That’s how bad these guys are. You wonder why for the billit’s Dashle. He put the screws on ‘cm. “You’re not going to take on the President this time, it’s political suicide.”You just give up civil 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 2/15/02