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The Candidates: Dennis Kucinich
In Dissent, Number Ninety
by Brian S. Wise
27 February 2003

The first in an ongoing series by Brian Wise concerning the Democrats running for president.

Any discussion of presidential politics should begin with the standard intellectual release form: Politicians lie, and the standard one sets for himself in choosing a candidate should employ a system that cuts through the campaign speak and gets to the heart of the candidate’s positions on important things. Now, the higher up one gets in the political food chain (that is, the closer one gets to full blown national politics), the harder this becomes, which is why so many tend to refer to the generalities that separate the two major parties: Republicans generally want this, Democrats generally want that, so on and so forth, where it applies.

Presidential politics is absolutely no more entertaining than it is at times like these, so far removed from the conventions and elections, when the candidates say what they mean, knowing full well few people will call them on it in the summer or fall of 2004. These are the times to listen to Democrats – all of them, and aren’t there a tremendous number of Democrats running right now?! (Rumor has it that old Leftie Ronald McDonald is getting three percent approval in some parts of the East; probably in Teddy Kennedy’s neighborhood.) Why, for those with a fair IQ and decent reasoning skills, Democrats running for the nomination right now represent a type of thinker’s shooting gallery, upon which one should feel free to fire upon. (With the pen, of course – one must say that in 2003.)

The challenge in covering every Democrat running for president comes 1) from a research standpoint, and 2) from a columnist’s standpoint, one suggesting all examinations should done in around 750 words. (Close, but no cigar here.) In the end, it was Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) who turned this into an ongoing series, he of “We are going to war for Empire” fame. Thus far, he is the candidate who takes the most sincere delight in employing tortured logic to make his statements, not only against the Bush administration, but in favor of Democratism. We accept that there are such things as the sort of psychological anomalies that lead to his sort of Leftism (the sort of “Show me on the doll where they touched you” anomalies), in that his is a bleeding heart that can only have been hatched from some form of severe trauma. At least you hope that’s the reason.

Typically I would examine a man similar to Kucinich and find him, simply, not smart. And there should be no misunderstanding the point he is not a bright man; if he does possess some innate intelligence, no one has ever hidden it better. On the other hand, his are positions often claimed by Democratism at large, employing only the sort of backhanded wisdom the Left can manage. We have, for example, his opposition to the Iraqi war, which is not unique; and then we have his submission of HR 2459, a bill introduced to the House of Representatives calling for … a Department of Peace. And what tasks, pray tell, will the Department of Peace undertake?

“A structure of government informs the consciousness of a nation,” he told his Iowan audience on 19 February, “The Department of Peace will create a structure of government that will look at where violence starts. Poverty and homelessness are weapons of mass destruction [!]. Tis [sic] not too late to seek a newer world.” (If you haven’t heard the earnestness in his voice when he speaks like this, I assure you, he is very serious.) Well, by God Congressman, if poverty and homelessness are weapons of mass destruction, then you should be the first man in line to congratulate the president on his Iraqi position; the only chance those people have in ever again claiming some semblance of a normal life will be if Saddam Hussein is gone. (This is putting aside for a moment those threats to America, both real and perceived.)

But he also cares about economics. “The economic activity in this country is reflected in a consumer loss of confidence,” he told Neil Cavuto on Tuesday. “There’s a lack of confidence because there’s a fear in this country, people are afraid. The market has reflected that … the investor is saying, hey, we don’t know if we want to start investing because the country is going to war.” The war again, but the point is, the economy is a concern, a saving of the people’s tax dollars being paramount.

And a saving of those dollars is why he would like to see federal government implement the following things, on our dime: universal health care, free college for all students, an increase in the minimum wage (while somehow managing to keep employment below four percent, which is difficult when those small businesses unable to pay a higher minimum wage are forced to close), guarantee and expand Social Security, avoiding privatization, and probably significant reform altogether. Odd that someone complaining about the price of the Iraqi war should wish to implement steps that would require the sort of tax increases that would cripple the average taxpayer.

Of course, the Constitution only makes certain requirements of those running for president; age, citizenship. Presidential politics a battlefield of ideas, and all of Dennis Kucinich’s are bad – thankfully, he doesn’t represent the field, or party, as a whole.

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