Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kucinich Toasted in TNR

Absolutely hilarious piece on The Koosh just posted in The New Republic. For those of you who don't care to register, here's a taste:

    As the underest of underdogs, it's Kucinich's right--and perhaps even his duty--to project an unrealistically outsized aura of confidence. But it would be hard for this confidence to be more misplaced. For one thing, there's the fresh memory of the Ohio Representative's 2004 run for the White House . . . And then there's the reality of Kucinich's current campaign, which is actually in worse shape than the last one.

    After all, in 2004, Kucinich managed to raise a respectable $13 million and had the support of a coterie of lefty celebrities, including Joaquin Phoenix and Danny Glover. This time around, Kucinich has taken in less than $350,000, according to the most recent campaign finance reports; and his most notable supporter is his new wife, Elizabeth, who--being 31 years younger and about a half-foot taller than her husband--turns many heads when she accompanies him on the campaign trail. (Elizabeth was not, for the record, a contestant in Kucinich's 2004 first lady search.) Worst of all, Kucinich has watched Mike Gravel fill the gadfly role in the race, stealing his thunder on Iraq and other issues at the two Democratic debates. Indeed, about the only thing as fantastical as Kucinich's claim that he'll be elected president is his claim that he's running in the first place.

    Kucinich's '08 gambit is less a presidential campaign than it is an elaborate fiction. That's because, aside from participating in the debates, he does virtually none of the things a presidential candidate does.
    Even the straightforward task of public relations--which, for a money-strapped candidate like Kucinich, is crucial, since his campaign's lifeblood is free media--seems to be an afterthought. A reporter trying to reach the Kucinich campaign gets routed to press secretary David Bright's cell phone--which Bright rarely answers, because, as he explains in his outgoing message, he lives in "rural Maine," where cell phone coverage is spotty.
    So Kucinich wages a Potemkin campaign. He declares that he expects to be president while he does nothing that would make that possibility, remote as it already is, closer to being a reality. Every politician, to be sure, lives in a bubble; but Kucinich's campaign exists in its own biosphere. On his recent swing through New Hampshire, he began his day at a high school in the university town of Durham, where a group called "Teaching Peace" was holding a conference. There, amid booths selling "Unscented Peace Vigil Votives" and Native American crafts, he mingled with about 100 people. Many of the adults already seemed to know him. One, a self-described "awakening coach" named Robert Foulkrod, first met Kucinich when he came to a retreat on Foulkrod's Maine farm 20 years ago. "I'm trying to inspire the city of Nashua to be organized for Dennis," he explained, before adding, "I'm not organizing it myself. I'm into awakening people. Do you know anyone in Nashua?" Meanwhile, Kucinich's attempts to win the support of those he didn't personally know--namely, the high school students in attendance--were largely for naught. "I'm not old enough to vote," one explained apologetically after Kucinich asked for her support. "But you're old enough to influence thousands!" he pleaded in response.
Since Blue Gal is the blogger I respect most who actually considers Kucinich's more than an elaborate joke, I surfed by her site to see if there is a defense of her guy, but so far no.

Instead, here's a YouTube she participated in, responding to Glennn Beccckkk's tasteless jokes about his marriage. BG and some compatriot Dennis fans basically took a page from the Chuck Norris lists. It takes a while to get to the point, but it's actually funny. And since it's about Kucinich I'll add: intentionally funny.


Ben said...

I am actually surprised he has raised $350,000. That is like setting your money on fire, whether you belive in his stances or not.

Village Green said...

I'm not laughing at The Nation's attempt to put down Dennis and his constituency. Kucinich came in a strong second in the poll taken after the MoveOn Planet for the Party events this past weekend. His answers to just about every question are right on, as far as I'm concerned and I'm not alone. I just watched him on CSpan talking with the Steelworkers at their convention. He's bright and he's forthright and won't be bought and sold. Mr Voice of the Nation may think he is awfully clever picking on a candidate for peace and justice and the working class, but I think there are far more worthy candidates to "toast."

Village Green said...

Sorry I meant to type voice of "The New Republic."

Pho said...


If you look at the article, the author (actually a "Ms.") is wondering more about his nonexistent campaign than his ideology. His campaign basically consists of raising just enough money that he can continue touring his own echo chamber.

Dennis Kucinich is far to the left of me. I don't believe in pacifism as a foreign policy. But beyond that, his nonexistent campaign is just bizarre. It's like he signed up only to get on stage during the debates.

Rich in Medina said...

How does one find an "awakening coach?"

Pho said...

Dunno, Rich. My five-year-old is my awakening coach -- usually around 7 a.m on Saturday.

Village Green said...

As a life long non-religious pacifist, I can tell you that Dennis Kucinich is no joke in my book. You might want to consider what he does as campaign performance art. I love it that he has so little money on hand and that he is beholden to no corporate interests -- and yet he keeps on speaking out. Just because he doesn't fit your definition of a serious candidate doesn't mean that he and his constituency are to be written off so easily.

Blue Gal said...

Thanks for the respect, doll. Mutual, I'm sure.

I think it's still too early and this campaign is going to go very very fast once the early primaries and that ridiculous super Tuesday take place.

I was late to the Kucincich party and yeah I even treated it as a big joke for a while. But after Virginia Tech I decided that I'm just too old to compromise anymore. I want an end to this war and I want healthcare for all Americans and I don't care about pragmatism I'm going to stand up for what I think is right.

Manila Ryce said...

I can understand why mainstream Democrats fight against the very idea of democracy by cockblocking any truly liberal candidate who fights against injustice, but why bloggers toe the line is beyond me. Why we actually believe that the lesser of two evils is good runs contrary to our own interests. Do you want universal healthcare, impeachment, peace in the Middle East? Well, you could've had it all by now if Kucinich was elected in 2004. Continue to vote for Corporate America if you wish, but don't cry about your interests not being represented afterwards. The Democrats do not listen to the Left. It's a sad reality which ought to be obvious to everyone by now.

How many decades has it been since the Democrats actually worked for the people instead of for big business? After Reagan, the Democratic Party stopped being liberal, and they have no reason to be as long as we keep voting for them. With each election, the party grows more and more conservative, and they know the Left has nowhere else to go, no one else to vote for. Kucinich is the only exception in this campaign. Any high school student with a basic understanding of politics can look at where everyone else stands on the issues and see that Kucinich is the only true liberal.

So what would happen if we actually voted for a good candidate rather than the lesser of two evils? What would happen if we actually stopped parroting what we hear on television? What would happen if we bloggers thought for ourselves, and used this new form of media to empower the people? In 2000, Nader said there wasn't much difference between the Democrats and Republicans. They denounced him, but spent the last 8 years proving him right. Instead of being pissed off at people like Nader or Kucinich who point out the hypocrisy in the Democratic Party, how about being pissed off at the party itself for having those faults? Unless you'd like to continue Reagan's policy further, Kucinich IS the only sane choice.

Manila Ryce said...

for the record:

My last comment wasn't directed exclusively at you Pho, just people in general. I'm not familiar enough with your political ideology to speak against it. Also, articles of impeachment were not filed until well after the 2004 elections, and it's been 7 years since 2000, not 8. Just got into a bit of a typing frenzy.

QuakerDave said...

At least when I vote in my state's primary next year, I can go into the booth without holding my nose as I cast a vote for Kucinich. At least he has an agenda that is based on core beliefs, not on which way the wind is blowing. He has experience. And he believe in peace, not war.

Yeah, I'm voting for him. I'm sending him money. I'm volunteering for him this fall.

And I don't think he's a joke. Or "bizarre."

Pho said...

First off, thanks to national folks for taking the time on my humble little mostly local blog.

Once again, let's try to set ideology aside. If I were someone who agreed with Dennis Kucinich's platform, his faux-campaign shenanigans wouldn't inspire me, they'd piss me off. $350K. That would be a joke in a reasonably tight congressional race. No PR operation? Inexcusable.

All of which was what the TNR piece was about. The writer is even talks about how he could run a real campaign. But he doesn't. He raises no money, he tours his own echo chamber and he tells everyone he expects to be elected President.

Campaign performance art is the most charitable possible description of this. And it's the kind of performance art that makes me laugh.