When the WTO brought its meeting to American shores, he marched with the people in the streets of Seattle. When Corporate Crooks and “free” trade bankrupted LTV Steel Company and hundreds of workers lost their jobs, he marched with the people in the streets of Cleveland. When Bush and the rest of the hawks declared a global war, he once again marched with the people. As crazy as it sounds, the man who was once “Boy Mayor” of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), quite possibly offers the best hope for the Democratic Party and the American Left to dethrone King George.
As Democrat presidential candidates throw their hats into the ring, many Americans wonder where the choice is. Only one possible candidate, Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) thus far actually voted against the resolution on war in Iraq. As conservative columnist, George Will noted, Graham voted it down because he did not feel it was strong enough. There is not a single Democratic presidential candidate in Congress that is against war in Iraq.
Representative Kucinich led the Congressional push against the Iraq resolution. He boldly held a symposium against war in Iraq that included former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter. At the symposium, Ritter claimed the US gov’t “sabotaged” inspections in 1998 and the current push for war is motivated by “domestic politics”. This past week, Kucinich spoke at an anti-war rally in Cleveland. In one of many anti-war speeches he has given he asks, “Why is our nation preparing to use the most powerful military machine in history to wage an assault against the people of Iraq, to destroy their houses and buildings, to wipe out their water and electric systems and to block their access to food and medical supplies? There is no answer which can separate itself from oil economics, profit requirements of arms trade, or distorted notions of empire-building.” Kucinich’s anti-war stance is not his only position that has resonated with progressives.
When “free” trade and corporate corruption buried the LTV Steel Company, he rallied with workers on the streets of Cleveland. Teaming up with the United Steelworkers of America, he successfully lobbied George W. Bush to protect the domestic steel industry from unfair foreign competition. To Kucinich’s credit, many of the former LTV steelworkers are back at the job.
Kucinich also sees the big picture of corporate Globalization. He actually marched with protesters at the infamous WTO protests in Seattle. NAFTA is also a target for Kucinich. More than most cities, Cleveland has witnessed what Ross Perot called the great sucking sound, the sound of America losing jobs.
Somewhat of an internationalist, Kucinich denounced US involvement in the attempted coup in Venezuela in April 2002. (His letter to George Bush can be found at http://www.narconews.com/
). Kucinich has also participated in the campaign to close down the US Army’s Latin American terrorist school, the School of the Americas (recently renamed as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). He realizes the negative effect American foreign policy has on third world democracy.
The media has not ignored Kucinich either. He received lots of media attention when he sued George W. Bush over the withdraw from the 1972 ABM Treaty. Kucinich and about 30 other members of Congress felt the Bush should have consulted Congress and therefore, the withdraw was un-Constitutional.
Back when he was “Boy Mayor” of Cleveland in the 1970’s, he fought the privatization of public utilities. This is a far cry from the Bush Administration who blocked the release of papers relating to the formation of the nation’s energy policy. Evidently, Cheney formulating energy policy with the crooks from Enron would be too damning. Kucinich has recently taken on the nuclear power industry and the Nuclear Regulating Commission over the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant fiasco. (Davis-Besse’s reactor had a hole in it that was leaking corrosive coolant, and the company knew about and the NRC did not figure this out for a whole two years. Check out http://www.cleveland.com/davisbesse
for thorough coverage of this incident)
Kucinich is also staunchly pro-environment. According to his website, http://www.house.gov/kucinich/
, “he has been honored by Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and the League of Conservation Voters as a champion of clean air, clean water and an unspoiled earth.”
After 9-11, Kucinich electrified the progressive wing of American politics with his masterpiece of a speech, “A Prayer for America”. The supporters of Kucinich have been urging him to run for president. They even created an entire website, http://www.draftkucinich.com/
, for their cause. On Sunday, January 12, 2003, the Plain Dealer published a front-page article discussing a possible run for the presidency for Kucinich. The article discussed how former Green Party Presidential Candidate and consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, is urging Kucinich to run.
This presents an interesting scenario. Could the Democrats win over the Greens with Kucinich as a Candidate? The Democrats could win over the Greens if they do not nominate another cowardly Centrist Republicrat. With Bush’s approval rating falling, there is an opportunity for meaningful regime change. Kucinich will fight tooth and nail for what he believes in and would make a wonderful Democratic presidential candidate. His message is clear. Kucinich believes in an “America which stands not in pursuit of an axis of evil, but which is itself at the axis of hope and faith and peace and freedom.”