Storm Bear

Dennis Kucinich - The One We Really Want

Filed By Storm Bear | November 26, 2007 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Democrats, Dennis Kucinich, election 2008, presidency

Editor's note: This post is part of series called Meet the Candidates in which Bilerico contributors write about why they are supporting their chosen candidate.

Most folks I know have a preferred candidate - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards or Al Gore. But the crazy thing is, they will turn right around and say, “You know who I really want to vote for? Kucinich.”

I have those same feelings - I love Dennis Kucinich and think he would make the best President. His values most closely resemble my own. Why not vote for him?

Irrational fear. Total fear that the Republicans will lie about Kucinich and Fred Thompson will win the election. Wait, the GOP is gonna lie anyway, no matter what, so why the fear?

One thing I finally noticed about Kucinich during the AFL-CIO debate was how Kucinich always made more points during his alloted time than other candidates. I have been thinking about this and found the answer when I was reading the transcript. Kucinich doesn’t equivocate. He doesn’t dance around an issue - he goes straight for the explanation and since his past is not littered with idiotic support of bad bills, he has nothing to fear, so why do I?

Yes, why do I fear? Do I think Hillary can win? No. I think she loses the election the second she is nominated. Isn’t that something to fear? Do we think Fred Thompson, Romeny or whatever other ass-wipe the GOP nominates will give a shit about universal healthcare, the environment or peace? Nope, it will be a straight continuation of 8 years of BushCo. Isn’t my fear displaced?

Going back and watching Kucinich in earlier debates via YouTube, one thing I noticed was how he usually said thank you for the question and was always very polite but firm and stern in his beliefs.

When talking about Kucinich, I hear two distinct voices responding, “Thank God people are starting to get Kucinich!” and the other is “He can’t win.” Well, neither can Hillary, but that doesn’t stop people from supporting her and dumping stink-loads of cash in her bank account. She is the only Democratic candidate that will motivate conservatives to come to the polls and vote against her. Obama and Edwards don’t fuel that level of hatred. And in America, that is saying a lot about Obama. At least America is maturing on one issue.

There was one other minority position, but it was the most disturbing. Paraphrasing here, “We tried voting our beliefs with McGovern and you saw where that got us!” Friends, the Republicans always vote their beliefs and they are more successful than the Democrats. Why must progressives lower their standards? The Republicans don’t. Since I have been voting, conservatives got two terms for Reagan, one for Bush Senior and two for Bush Junior - the latter being the worst president in American history.

The fact isn’t the Dems fail because they vote their beliefs, the Dems fail because that can’t articulate what they believe in. Jesse Helms was bat-shit crazy but he constantly won and he had no problem articulating his beliefs.

Well, this is true to a point. Dennis Kucinich always speaks his mind, directly to the point with nary a waiver. You know where he stands.

The Kucinich critics to have their work cut out for them because they need to go back thirty years to find something to complain about. Their soundbite is “he drove Cleveland into bankruptcy.” This, it turns out, is a lie. It is a Halliburton straw man with a touch of Sopranos-level intrigue.

Dennis Kucinich started out as the mayor of Cleveland in 1977 - the youngest mayor of a large city in America. The city was hip deep in trouble with its finances and crime. When Kucinich was sworn in, Cleveland was in one of its worst snow storms with winds of over 100 miles per hour - a sign of things to come.

He made good appointments and bad appointments for his administration and one of those, the Chief of Police, Richard Hongisto, proved to be real bad. The fiasco went so terribly wrong that a recall election was called and Kucinich won - maintaining control of the failing city.

One of his campaign promises was not to sell Cleveland’s public electricity utility, Cleveland Public Power to Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company - a corrupt company with a stack of federal violations of anti-trust laws held against it. When Kucinich got in office, the mafia figured out that this young Mayor was actually going to keep his word and not sell Cleveland Public Power to Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company so the mafia put a hit out for the murder of Kucinich. Yep, Dennis Kucinich was the target of mafioso assassins, but that was nothing compared to the extreme pressure of the city council and local banks had placed on Kucinich to sell the utility. In the end, Kucinich still said "no."

How many times have we wished for that tenacity in our politicians when dealing with Halliburton?

The main city creditor, Cleveland Trust, ignored all of Kucinich’s debt restructuring plans and placed the city in default of payment. Here is the kicker - the bank’s board had seven members who were on the payroll of Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and they were also on that company’s board. The collusion was right out of the Cheney Play Book. The bank was a major shareholder in CEI and thus the sale of the city’s municipal light utility would have benefited the bank, not the citizens of Cleveland.

And, again, Kucinich stood his ground. He put the decision to the people, vote to sell to CEI or vote for a .5% tax increase. Cleveland voted for higher taxes. Corporate interests lost and remarkably, the mafia recalled the assassin.

Cleveland never went into bankruptcy and the loan was paid and would have been paid if CEI and Cleveland Trust weren’t involved in a conspiracy to rob the citizens of Cleveland of almost a third of a billion dollars in 1970’s money.

CEI was later acquired by FirstEnergy, the company responsible for the 2003 blackout. Cleveland Public Power is still cranking out the watts to the city of Cleveland. Cleveland Trust is now Key Bank.
So that is the story, Kucinich is guilty of not bowing to Big Energy and ignoring the deployment of assassins just to keep a campaign promise.

Here is my question: which of the “leading candidates” in this race - Clinton, Obama or Edwards - would have withstood that kind of pressure?

But where is Kucinich on the issues? I have heard a lot of talk from the candidates stating “any Democrat running for President will be better than Bush.” I believe that sentiment to be true. But I also believe there are varying degrees of how much better they will be than Bush. Over the past few months, there are claims that the changes we (the people) want to make to this country “can’t be done. The shift is too fast, these things will take time to change.” Oh, I hope not.

We have 50 million people in this nation without health care. The rest of us have health insurance that is precarious. My wife just got a letter from our policy holder, Blue Cross, asking whether her recent yearly physical was the result of a work related injury - she has been out of the workforce for over ten years, yet we had to go through the damn motions with these chuckle-heads to get the claim paid. If it was something serious like cancer, I can’t imagine the red tape that would get thrown at our face.

With Americans daily needing health care that either allows them to live or die, this is not a problem we can gradually ease our way out of. We need swift, decisive legislation and leadership to get us out of this mess. Kucinich is the lone candidate that has universal health care for all as part of his platform - everyone else is offering “insurance.” I have had enough of insurance. Haven’t you?

Our jobs are being sucked out of this country at an alarming rate. A very alarming rate. When I was growing up in the real town of Dobson, NC, the town of 1,200 people was teeming with textile mills. They were everywhere. Even the gas station across from the court house had rented out one of the car repair bays to a guy who was making socks day and night.

Jobs were plentiful, parents could send their kids to UNC or NC State and there was enough money to retire at 60. Those were the horrible days of the Carter Administration in 1980. When Reagan got into office, the borders began to open for business and the jobs from my hometown were siphoned off and weren’t replaced with new jobs.

Now, the number one industry in North Carolina is logging. People in that Congressional District (NC-05) have had to go through “skill retraining” several times since then. You simply can’t have a single career anymore in rural America. Hell, you can’t even keep the same employer for more than four years - right about when you would receive matching funds for your 401K you find yourself out of work.

Twenty-seven years later, our economic base, the middle class, has been pushed off a cliff and we are tumbling toward a very nasty end. Our open border policies need to be clamped shut and not over the span of three decades. We need to exit NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT and the WTO today, now, 10 minutes ago. Which candidate has this as a policy? Take a guess. Kucinich. And oddly enough, this actually makes him appealing to conservatives.

This brings us to the mother-f@cking war. BushCo has his hand out to Congress every few months to add to the whopping $1,600,000,000,000.00 already spent on the war. Hillary wants to keep troops there and Obama wants to take our time getting out of Iraq. Biden wants to split Iraq into three pieces and keep troops there (that means we will be fighting a six front civil war). No thanks. We need out and we need out now.

Kucinich is the only one willing to state the obvious - the war was a failure and we need to get out. He was the only one in the race not snookered into voting for the damn thing to begin with. Hillary was for the war up until six months before the 2006 election. If it took her that long to figure out the war was an idiotic idea, then for me, she doesn’t have the mental capabilities to get this nation out of the cesspool of despair we are in.

If you look at Kucinich’s voting record and his anthology of submitted legislation over the past 10 years, they read as if written by someone with prescient abilities. I am not saying he is a soothsayer or a prophet from Ohio, I am saying he is one smart guy and we need more of people like him in Congress, not less.

Our nation is in serious trouble and we have long since passed the point where half-measures would make any difference. Unless we get a President that is willing to actually take Honest-To-God bold steps, we may be seeing the last days of Jefferson’s America.

Hillary, Obama and Edwards would be an improvement to what we currently have in the White House, but their histories show they are ill-equipped to handle the challenges ahead of us. Only Dennis Kucinich has risked ridicule and even his political career to do the right thing. His political past has been nothing but a series of career-ending decisions, but every decision has been for the benefit for the citizens, never corporate interests. That is why he keeps getting re-elected.

You have never seen Kucinich giving Masonic-level secret handshakes under the bathroom stall. You will never hear Kucinich say, “I spread my legs when I pull my pants down.” He will never say it to a vice cop nor will he say it to a lobbyist. Kucinich has put everything on the line, and I do mean everything, for "We the People." He did so as mayor when he protected the assets of the people of Cleveland and he does it every day with his seat in Congress.

If we, as progressives, keep voting for the person we think can win, we are abject and total failures as citizens. We are betraying everything Paine, Jefferson and Henry stood for - honesty, equality and freedom. Those three Americans had a vision for America that has yet to be fully realized. During the Bush Administration, we have taken many, many steps backwards from this vision. Under previous administrations, we took small, baby-steps forward. Lincoln did, however, suffer through a gusher of forward movements, but the rest of American History is littered with small steps forward, until now.

The other candidates in the field I believe will be better than Bush, way better, but I don’t see anything in their policy speeches, voting records or position papers that illustrate a path to move us back to where we should be in 2009 after Clinton/Gore dropped us off in 2001. Most of the candidates only have plans on repairing barely half of the damage Bush has done… with the exception of Kucinich. His record, plans and policies all reflect quantum leaps in government, bringing us to a position of being able to manufacture goods in this nation again. Allowing us to feed our families, educate our kids and stay healthy.

Baby steps - do you really think they will do any good? Do you think they will even bring us back to where we were in 1992? This nation is totally unrecognizable to me - the United States is at the bottom of the list in damn near anything. We had a better literacy rate in 1877 when Laura Ingalls Wilder was living in a little house on the prairie. Hell, my grandmother took Latin in 5th grade as a requirement back in the early 1900’s and that was public school in West Virginia! And Obama’s baby-steps are supposed to be some foundational culture shift for the American future? I don’t think so. He got the beat down when he just mentioned talking with rogue states might be a good idea - then he backtracked like Louis and Clark.

Oh yeah, that must be that spine we hear so much about.

I’ll take Ultra-K any day.

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I supported Kucinich in 2004 all the way to the convention. This year I decided to support a different candidate just because supporting Dennis seemed like a losing proposition. I want to back a winner, dammit!

I wonder if that's not part of Dennis's problem. To the people of the Cleveland area, he's a saviour. But where are those people and why aren't we hearing from them? Instead he allows his campaign to be dominated by MSM reports of how big of a loser he is. Who can win like that?

I think Dennis stands for everything that I do. I just don't think he'll ever be slated.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 26, 2007 10:49 AM

Isn't he the only candidate who supports same-sex marriage, too? As opposed to civil unions?

I like that he’s a vegan, too. It’s the most sustainable “diet for a small planet” and shows he’s willing to live his ideals.

"The fact isn’t the Dems fail because they vote their beliefs, the Dems fail because that can’t articulate what they believe in. "

Too true.

I don't believe in voting. But I got on a bus in 2004 and took an hour bus ride to my polling place to vote for Kucinich in the primaries. Why? Because his AZ campaign headquarters had a rainbow flag in the window and I could always stop by for vegan brownies. He is about as close to the Green Party as you can get, which in my book makes him alright. He's a dirty hippie and those are my kind of people.

I think we need more than 2 parties in this country. And if people actually voted their values, that would make 3rd parties a viable option. Britain can do it. India can do it. So why can't we?

So yeah . . . voting is a joke. But I'll probably get on a bus again this year to vote for Dennis in the primaries because I remember how tasty those brownies were. And I think he's the only one of the Democratic candidates who's telling the truth.

First off, even though Serena doesn't spell this out for us, I'm assuming she thinks "voting is a joke" because she's highly critical of what electoral politics in the US tends to reap for the people who live in this country -- and the world-at-large -- these days. Fine, but I want to go on record as saying that "voting is a joke" is historically irresponsible and flippant to the point of offensive. If Serena doesn't mind the offense, fine. If Serena wants to reform, revolutionize or do away with the current system (or any systems, for that matter), fine. I'm open to those discussions. But with the way things work now and the way they have worked, voting isn't a joke. In fact, it should be considered a much, much more serious matter than it currently is.

Now more to the point: Dennis Kucinich and the "vote for your beliefs" argument. First of all, just because he's the most radical of the Dems on stage right now doesn't mean he isn't a politician. I think it's a mistake to sanctify any politician -- they, like our political system, are a means to an end, not ends in themselves.

Dennis may shoot straight from the hip or whatever, but unequivocating from a left perspective doesn't make you moral and right, per se. We know, for instance, that the problems we face in schools nationwide are many and complex. And the relationship between teachers, unions and school systems are part of that. I have teacher friends who will testify to the need for strong unions at the same time that they criticize their unions for negatively impacting their ability to get the job done. In the Nevada debate, Kucinich was a deer in headlights when asked if there was anything wrong with teachers' unions. I respect convictions, but Dennis knows his base just as well as any other politician, and his base doesn't want to hear any negative comments about unions. Period.

Which is precisely my point: Our system is built for leaders and pushers, through many and various layers. The office of the president functions best when occupied by a leader, a convener, a bridge builder and a deal maker. The US is simply too large and complex a body politic for a chief executive with such particular goals and objectives.

I love people like Dennis, I want them in politics, I want them to be Congresspeople, but I don't want them to be president. And this doesn't mean that I want Hillary, the "other end of the spectrum," you might say. But it does mean that people like Obama, Dodd, and Biden really pique my interest. I'd throw Richardson in there, too, but he's too bumbly on TV to win my confidence. His campaign slogan should be Papa Bear for President. And while that might appeal to some of our Bilerico readers ;) ;) it doesn't so much appeal to me.

Yay for Candidates Week!

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 26, 2007 3:28 PM

He supports real civil marriage equality (as does Gravel), real universal healthcare, real peace, real justice, real...starting to get the picture?

He will be the one I stand for for as long as I can. It's Iowa, so that gets complicated. I can stand for him in round one but, if it looks like we Kucinich supporters can't muster 15% of the people in our precinct's caucus, we can say we gave it the best we could and move on to someone else.

It's expected that Kucinich will encourage us to make that Edwards, as he did the last time, because Edwards is the closest to Kucinich of the big candidates who will probably get at least one delegate in virtually every precinct -- and because we will, as we did the last time, be able to cut deals to get Edwards' support on issues of importance in the platform and in party structuring and leadership -- things that matter in steering the direction of the ship of state back out of the waters of corruption, insanity, and scofflaw imperialistic demagoguery in which it currently sails.

Edwards will make a good second choice for this lesbian who cares about civil marriage equality and peace, DOMA repeal support being the functional equivalent of support for civil marriage equality at the presidential level and removal of combat troops from Iraq being the same sort of functional equivalent on the peace front. On the universal healthcare front, Edwards is still stuck in the incrementality game but his plan is the least insurance "industry" friendly of those who are. On workers, trade and monetary policy, and other rights of the common man, Edwards is stellar, with a proven track record.

But Kucinich has my heart. He's the real deal. I trust him. No equivocation needed. I trust him -- three words so rare I've never said them about any other politician.

If only the MSM and the political powers that be would actually give him a chance. Ask yourself why they don't -- could it be that it's because he's the real deal and they're so much a part of the system that they can't afford to have him in there rocking their boats, too?

If Dennis were nominated, would the Dem powers that be NOT try to get him elected? Would the Deaniacs and the Blue Dogs and the DLC support the Republican? Would the Republican satisfy this country's aching yearning for change? If ever there was a time when a Kucinich could be elected, this is it.

We usually only get someone remotely like a Kucinich on the ticket when they're a Veep -- and then usually only a Veep who has survived a more mainstream prez who has died in office. The Kucinich types tend to get assassinated or otherwise sabotaged if they prove too popular in a not-from-Veep stand-alone run.

Fuck the/with the system. Vote for Kucinich.

People have waited eight long years to see George Bush's backside get kicked out of Washington. He's without doubt the worst President in US history and we’ve had some real losers. He’s a war criminal and a bigot, a racist, a misogynist and a union buster. He’s singlehandedly escalated the looming environmental nightmare.

There’s not much doubt that a Democrat, probably Clinton, will replace him. The Democrats may grab Congress but their centrist and rightist politics create the same anger and distrust that have the Republicans running scared. For now the Congressional battle is undecided.

Bush is so reviled by the public and the military leadership that rumors of martial law and a coup d’état are unlikely in the extreme. Short of a catastrophe the Democrats are ‘in’.

Historically third parties have had a hard time of it. The last time one made it led to the Civil War. The Free Soil Party adopted a very radical program, splintered the Whig Party and became the Republican Party. It included abolitionists, feminists, working people and working farmers and GLBT folk like Whitman and Lincoln. It led, however clumsily, the Second American Revolution.

And that was it. The rich were petrified by the expropriation without compensation of private property, even if that property consisted of 3,953,760 humans. They rapidly consolidated their hold on the Republican Party and turned into the monstrosity of today. They clamped down hard on the possibility of third party formation with a series of laws that make it difficult to challenge the two party system.

Difficult but not impossible. Their legal roadblocks successfully trapped people in the two party swindle and a Democrat will win in 2008. Their problem is not winning; it’s their politics and policies. They’ll continue the war, pass more tax breaks for the rich, continue union busting and persist in enacting worthless protective measures for victims of bigotry.

And at some point, as our standard of living and the economy nosedive, as casualties mount and as people become enraged with the callous brutality of bigotry the rotten structure of the two party system will shatter.

To prepare we have first have to build GLBT groups that can intervene, educating and recruiting our brothers and sisters as they shoulder their way out of the Democratic and Republican closets. We should welcome them and recruit them to the fight for equality.

Secondly we have to build an alternative party; one capable of uniting our struggle with the issues of working people as a whole, a party adamantly opposed to war and bigotry. Right now my money’s on the union led US Labor Party as the best bet to do that

Kucinich is the one 'we' really want? Not me.

The nuttiest thing about Dennis isn't his call to impeach Cheney (I agree with him) or his claim he saw a UFO (millions say this), no, the craziest thing about Kucinich is he's receptive to running with the vehemently homophobic Ron Paul from Texas.

Dustin, I'm an anarchist. Therefore, I don't believe in voting and I don't believe in government. When I say this, it's not a flippant comment. I have spent my entire lifetime (which is admittedly a relatively short time) thinking about my political ideology. And in terms of what I think about voting this is especially true.

I am also a feminist. I owe my quality of life to the wimmin who came before me, including the suffragists who literally put their lives on the line in order to gain the right to vote. Alice Paul rocks my socks. When I do vote, it is an act of paying respect to these wimmin for their courage. But I agree with Emma Goldman (an early feminist and anarchist) that "if voting made a difference, it would be illegal." Goldman argued that the early feminists were putting their time and efforts into the wrong arena. And I think history has proven her correct. We are 87 years post wimmin's suffrage and wimmin still aren't equal. You can't vote away patriarchy.

This ain't the point of this post, though. This post is about why Kucinich is an awesome dude. But if anyone would like to discuss anarchy offline via e-mail, I'm happy to engage in that discussion.

Dustin, you're right. Kucinich is a politician just like everyone else. However, if I am going to vote, I will vote for someone who is closely aligned to my politics and not for some joker who supports the war and thinks it's OK to treat LGBTQ folks like second class citizens. All of the front runners fall into that category.