Sunday, January 12, 2003

President Dennis? Who knows?
In Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tom Diemer has written a piece about the possible presidential candidacy of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio: [
The former Mayor of Cleveland has risen to prominence after passionate speeches from the House floor attacking President Bush’s war against terrorism, escalating plans to attack Iraq, and the USA PATRIOT Act. And with the prospects of another corporate democrat being nominated for president [see "Contenders scramble" Politizine blog post from Jan. 5], some activists are looking for a true-blue progressive candidate at all costs.
As well, with the specter of another Ralph Nader Green Party candidacy in 2004, the democrats are wisely trying to find a candidate who cannot be as easily pummeled in the media as Al Gore was by Nader. In fact, Nader is quoted in the article, saying:
"There needs to be a clearly progressive candidate in the primaries. I hope he does [run]"
... giving some progressives the clout they may need to galvanize around a candidate like Kucinich. But The Nation’s Katha Pollitt says not so fast.
In a piece entitled "["Regressive Progressive?"]" from May 2002, Pollitt suggested that Kucinich may not be the great progressive hope for Democrats:
In his two terms in Congress, [Kucinich] has quietly amassed an anti-choice voting record of Henry Hyde-like proportions. He supported Bush's reinstatement of the gag rule for recipients of US family planning funds abroad. He supported the Child Custody Protection Act, which prohibits anyone but a parent from taking a teenage girl across state lines for an abortion. He voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it a crime, distinct from assault on a pregnant woman, to cause the injury or death of a fetus. He voted against funding research on RU-486. He voted for a ban on dilation and extraction (so-called partial-birth)abortions without a maternal health exception. He even voted against contraception coverage in health insurance plans for federal workers--a huge work force of some 2.6 million people (and yes, for many of them, Viagra is covered).
However, while a Kucinich candidacy could upset Pollitt and others who will hold their candidates to the abortion rights litmus test, others don’t seem to mind that Kucinich is not pro-choice:
It is time for a Kucinich candidacy to speak the truth, to relate to the everyday problems and concerns of Americans, to throw out the political-speak of those who reach out to Corporate America for their support and speak directly to the people and allow them to hear, in plain, clear terminology the truth about the blatant assault on their rights, the failure of their government to lead on the domestic problems facing the average working person, the war hungry insiders who want to fight first and talk later (while enriching defense contractors)," said Mike Swickey from Oklahoma and the creator of the Draft Kucinich Web site: