We are the 99%

November 26, 2007

Dennis Kucinich Hearts Ron Paul


As a lefty, commie, progressive, liberal-type, I know that I'm supposed to like Dennis Kucinich. I know that I agree with him on many positions. But I've never really been a big fan. I chalk some of that up to the fact that I just don't trust people who have last minute conversions on big issues right before they make a run for president (Kucinich possessed one of the most antiabortion voting records of any Democrat in Congress right up until he announced his presidential candidacy the first time in 2003).

But, I have to admit that part of my dislike of him was that he often comes off as shrill and sanctimonious and -- sorry, folks -- I have a difficult time believing that a majority of Americans will vote for someone who looks like a Keebler Elf (not saying that's right, just that that is).

I know more than one fellow progressive who almost feels guilty not liking Kucinich more. They also know that they're supposed to, but they just can't bring themselves to support the guy.

So it's really nice to feel vindicated in my supreme ambivalence towards the Wingnuts' embodiment of a "moonbat":
"I'm thinking about Ron Paul" as a running mate, Kucinich told a crowd of about 70 supporters at a house party here, one of numerous stops throughout New Hampshire over the Thanksgiving weekend. A Kucinich-Paul administration could bring people together "to balance the energies in this country," Kucinich said.

It would create a stunning, if dizzying, blend of beliefs, wedding two politicians who hold different views on abortion rights, the role of government in providing health care, and the use of government in fostering -- or hampering -- the public's greater good. Those are among the reasons it would never work, said a spokesman for Paul, a congressman and doctor from Texas.

Anyone who's read this blog much knows that I have absolutely no respect for Ron Paul and, aside from both being against the War On Iraq, it's hard to think what Kucinich and Paul have in common. I will therefore make a guess as to what really motivated him.

Just as I find Kucinich extremely opportunistic in throwing off his pro-life mantle at a strategic moment, I believe that he's now grasping at those Democrats and Independents who say they like both men (the ones who drive me crazy).

Dennis, you've lost whatever progressive cred you may have had with this move. You haven't just seen a UFO, you're now apparently transmitting signals from one.

(h/t to Geekesque at Daily Kos.)

.

17 comments:

The Bag of Health and Politics said...

Kucinich is an absolute nut job. I worked in his district in 2004. He is a nut job. All the people there think he is a nut job. The district--suburban Cleveland--is soooooooooooo much more conservative than he is.

The last time he was an executive, (1977-81, the then 30 year old Mayor of Cleveland), he single handedly ran the city into the ground by trying to socialize the power agency. One of the worst Mayors of all time, anywhere, period. Luke in 30 years is Kucinich.

For that matter, Kucinich is probably Luke's guy. Ferlo is a big supporter of him.

Maria said...

I think Kucinich is far too socially liberal for Lil Mayor Luke.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Ron Paul had the endorsement of "Strippers for Ron Paul and today he picked up the endorsement of the guy who runs the Moonlight Ranch in Nevada. (Legal prostitutes) Ron Paul must be one hunk of a dude! LOL LOL LMAO Bunny Ranchers for Ron Paul. LMAO

First of the Mississippi Jukes said...

Dennis Kucinich ... seek Mike Gravel as a running mate! That would guarantee success!

Anonymous said...

Is Kucinich a nut? Possibly, probably. Still, I can't help but respect a man who can convince a nearly 6 foot tall readhead (!), with an English accent and tongue stud to boot, half his age to be his wife.

Shallow, I know, but still...

- Shawn

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Why would you call that shallow, Shawn? She's a stone fox.

Militant Omnitheist said...

I agree with you guys...I have absolutely no respect for an isolationist like Ron Paul.

Anonymous said...

She is indeed a "stone fox." Well put, Mr. Shitrock.

Pat Rogers said...

"As a lefty, commie, progressive, liberal-type, I know that I'm supposed to like Dennis Kucinich. I know that I agree with him on many positions. But I've never really been a big fan. I chalk some of that up to the fact that I just don't trust people who have last minute conversions on big issues..."

This defines Kucinich for me as well. He has the reputation for being an anti war on drugs candidate but he recently told Bill Maher that he would not legalize drugs. I have statements and video of the three candidates, who are billed as opposing major aspects of the drug war, posted on my blog. Kucinich is the most conservative of the three. Ron Paul, Mike Gravel and Kucinich.

Presidential Candidate Statements Against The War

Kucinich:
Maher: "Do you believe in legalizing all drugs?"

Kucinich: "I think that. No. The first answers no. But I do think that.."


Ron Paul:
"A system designed to protect individual liberty will have no punishment for any group and no privileges. Today I think inner city folks, minorities are punished unfairly in the war on drugs. For instance, blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs. Yet 36% of those arrested are blacks. And it ends up that 63% of those who finally end up in prison are blacks. This has to change. We don't have to have more courts and more prisons. We need to repeal the whole war on drugs. It isn't working."

Mike Gravel:
"And if I'm president I'll do away with the war on drugs. Which does nothing but savage our inner-cities. And put our children at risk!"

Felix Dzerzhinsky said...

Maria: So you're saying that you hold it against Kucinich for changing his position in a good way (i.e., becoming pro-choice)? Do you trust only people whose politics springs to life fully-formed like Athena from the head of Zeus? This is just a canard on your part, an excuse to dislike Kucinich for routinely stupid, media-duped reasons: you admitted as much when you said you don't like Kucinich's elfin appearance, all of which is proof of your basically aesthetic and superficial approach to politics (as if your endorsement of Mark DeSantis weren't enough already -- and as if DeSantis and his political cohorts were any better than Ron Paul). Your approach to politics -- like too many in the USA saturated with the actually-existing news media -- is a popularity contest, not fundamentally different from deciding whether to love or hate Lindsay Lohan.

Meanwhile, "the bag of health and politics" -- as reliable and predictable as a Rolex -- does not have the slightest idea what he is talking about, yet feels emboldened to pontificate anyway. Whether or not Kucinich's blue-collar constituents think he is a "nut job," they vote for him anyway, and by wide margins, particularly the Steelworkers.

Further, the idiot commenter "bag of health and politics" gets basic facts wrong about Kucinich's Cleveland mayoralty. Kucinich did not "try to socialize the power agency." Cleveland's municipal power agency was already a public entity, but the private power corporations wanted to get their greedy hands on it so they could rip off the ratepayers and make obscene profits. Kucinich correctly said no, a move that took courage that a chump like Luke Ravenstahl simply does not have (making the "bag's" moronic comparison between Kucinich and Ravenstahl all that much more ridiculous). Meanwhile, however, the banks that held Cleveland's loans (which Kucinich himself had not entered into) -- which were also investors in the rapacious private companies trying to buy out the city power system -- decided to take their revenge.

It was not Kucinich who "ran the city into the ground." It was the banks, who called in the city's loans (which they did not have to do, and do not typically do anyway) and pushed the city into default as punishment for Kucinich not selling out city residents to the banks' parasitic, bloodsucking corporate friends. They then ran a massive campaign against Kucinich, and Voinovich defeated him because of that massive campaign and as a result of a sympathy vote when Voinovich's child was killed.

(Someone also put a mafia hit out on Kucinich during the height of the struggle over the power system. No one knows for sure who it was, but you can guess. You can find the Cleveland local TV reports -- from years later, and featuring the former local chief of police -- on Youtube.)

Years later, when Kucinich ran for the state senate, his slogan was "Kucinich: Because He Was Right," and he won handily because people knew it to be true. When he ran for Congress, it was the same thing. The fact that Kucinich saved Cleveland's municipal power system from the corporations was an argument in his favor, and no one denies this.

So before the next time you pontificate about something, at least get your fucking facts straight. And the fact is that Kucinich was punished politically for standing up to powerful monied interests. You either want a mayor -- or want politicians -- who do that sort of thing and are willing to pay the consequences, or you do not.

People like Maria and the "bag" obviously do not want politicians to defend the public from powerful corporate interests. They may say they do, but when the rubber hits the road, they chicken out. Kucinich's Ron Paul thing may be dumb, but you are using this as an excuse -- your real problem is that you are a fraud who likes to think of herself as a "liberal" or "progressive," but you can't stand political figures who actually stand for those principles. You find them embarrassing.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Felix, I congratulate you on getting the facts right on the Kucinich vs. Big Money thing, but I have to make a couple of comments:

* As much as I love Kucinich, the Ron Paul thing sprints past dumb and crosses the finish line ahead of bizarre. What was he thinking?

* There's an extended, excellent piece about Kucinich in the November Esquire.

* Maria is no fraud. She is completely genuine, even when she is being what you or I might consider silly or wrong. For example, I agree with you that her endorsement of De Santis was ill-considered, but you can bet she was 100% sincere about it. Sometimes I think Maria makes decisions with her gut, but that doesn't make her a dishonest person. It makes her a good person who sometimes makes decisions with her gut.

* It is pretty much impossible to avoid loving Lindsey Lohan since her role in "A Prarie Home Companion."

* Love the work you did with the Checka. Ground-breaking. Revolutionary, if you don't mind the pun.

Felix Dzerzhinsky said...

Schmuck: My polemical ferocity cannot lie dormant for long; it emerges when my frustration boils over at the site of the kind of ill-informed, fact-free "gut" (instead of head) politics you so accurately attribute to Maria, and she is not alone in that. I find the "bag of politics" guy especially frustrating, because his habit of spouting off without even the slightest knowledge of the facts is downright uncanny. I don't think I've seen a single post or comment of his that is grounded in reality.

On the Kucinich-Paul matter, I agree that it is weird and dumb. We could have a separate discussion on where this comes from, but the short answer is that I see it as a symptom of the unmoored, strategy-less habits of the US left (and I do consider Kucinich a part of the left, not just a liberal). Cynthia McKinney -- another principled member of Congress who was unfairly pilloried and run out of the House (twice!) with enthusiastic white liberal participation -- shows even more of these unhappy traits, what with her decision to launch a Green Party exploratory effort for the Presidency. The US left from top to bottom is rife with vanity instead of an orientation to the masses; theatrics instead of organizing; and moral witness not as a supplement but as a substitute for sober strategy. These are very real problems, and yet disagreements about all of this are still disagreements among people who are ultimately on the same side of the barricades -- it's all "within the family," if you will.

But the attacks on Kucinich -- like this post, and even moreso the ill-informed comment by the "bag" -- are something else entirely. They amount to excuse-making for liberals who are embarrassed or even scandalized by people who are in real earnest about changing the world, and never have I seen a critique of Kucinich (or McKinney) emanating from liberal (as opposed to left) quarters that was made in anything other than bad faith. They lay it on thick about Kucinich's flaws and shortcomings, and yet less than a year from now, all of us are going to be pushing that touch-screen for Hillary Clinton -- some of us having made excuses for sins of hers that are a thousand times worse than anything the Croatian Sensation has ever done. Yet we can't have a mere half-dozen truly principled members of Congress without these liberals taking a shit all over them at every opportunity. When I see people doing this, it makes me wonder what side they are on.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Felix, I would like to tug you gently back into serenity for a moment. I understand -- even share -- your frustration.

But consider: If folks who consider themselves progressive are not always guided by their frontal lobes but by some organ well to the south, I maintain that is a common tendency among humans of all ideologies, and is perhaps a bit stronger among those with enhanced empathy -- i.e. libs.

WRT the acrimony raised by our boy Dennis (may he campaign in a city near me provided that he brings his spouse), I think there are at least two factors at play: The Marias and BH&Ps of the world ARE embarrassed by such shenanigans as the Ron Paul episode; and they know he doesn't have the chance of being elected President that a wombat has of becoming Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon. Yes, I think they are looking for an excuse to dislike him, consciously or not, and it is their desire to win and their political instincts that send them there. They may not be able to articulate this attitude, and I could be completely off base, but if one looks at it from that perspective, there is nothing despicable about it.

Maria said...

My vote against Luke was a "gut" decision? Is there anyone that has a "D" beside their name that you wouldn't vote for?

I've spent the last year blogging on Luke's numerous lies, poor judgment and his complete lack of a moral compass -- not to mention his extreme social conservatism -- and I'm supposed to vote for him? Hell, I was blogging on him before he even became Council President to the effect that he was an empty suit. How is that a "gut" reaction?

I think the man is awful based on his actions. Awful enough that there's no way I could possibly vote for him. And, I don't believe in symbolic votes (leaving a blank for mayor). I honestly believed that DeSantis was the best candidate running -- FAR from ideal, but the best running.

RE: Kucinich, I don't believe his switch anymore than I believe Romney's or Rudy's the other way. If I had seen some evolution over time with these guys rather than a switch right before they ran for president than maybe I'd find their "come to Jesus moment" more convincing and less opportunistic.

Yeah, the elf comment was a cheap shot. The same could have been said against Chuck Pennacchio, but I still supported him because in addition to him being a real progressive, I can't imagine him ever lining up with someone like Ron Paul (who believes there is no right to privacy, who sponsored racist rants, who wants to leave most civil rights for women and minorities to the State to decide).

Kucinich jumped the shark with Ron Paul plain and simple. Why the hell would I take him seriously after he aligns himself with the skinheads' favorite candidate?

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Maria, if your post was directed at me, I'm afraid it wasn't accurate. I didn't say your vote against Luke was a gut reaction, although I do think your vote FOR an arch-conservative was a bad reaction. Luke and De Santis were not your only options.

As for voting for anyone as long as he/she is a Dem, once again you seem to have our roles reversed. As I understand it, one of us voted for the right-winger Bob Casey and one of us did not. The one who voted for the anti-choice, anti-civil liberty candidate sure wasn't me.

Maria said...

SS,

I get home from work late these days so I was a bit lazy and wrote one post answering both Felix and you.

Probably not the best way to go.

Birth Mom of Adoption said...

Ron Paul is no nut job, sir. Everyone else is