Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Candidate Analysis: Dennis Kucinich

Candidate: Dennis Kucinich
Party: Democratic
Political Background: U.S. Representative (OH-10), Former Mayor of Cleveland
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Hard-line environmentalist who is the only vegan in Congress, pro-gay marriage, very pro-gun control, supports single-payer universal health care, supports free Pre-K and College educations to all Americans, anti-free trade, anti-capital punishment, supports heavier regulation of commerce and industry, pro national public smoking ban, advocate for cutting Pentagon budget and creation of 'Department of Peace', supports impeachment of Dick Cheney, promotes amnesty for illegal aliens and making Spanish a national second language, supports fairness doctrine.

Cross-over Appeal to Republicans: Straddles pro-life/pro-choice divide, supported investigation of Lewinsky scandal during Bill Clinton's term.

Cons: Signed letter of solidarity with Hugo Chavez not a popular move with either party, support comes from extreme left and "green" voters, led Cleveland into financial default during term as Mayor, voted against nationwide AMBER alert system, mainstream Dems and Republicans see him as a weak leader, anti-war stances seen as too extreme by most voters.

My Personal Thoughts: Wow, where do I start with Kucinich. He's proven to be off-step with his own party (and most of the nation), he's proven to be a miserable failure of an executive (rated as one of the 10 worst big-city mayors of all-time, first city to go into default since Great Depression). His use of confrontational politics and negotiations has led him to lose a lot of support amongst his own party's leadership.

However, his "peacenik vegan rebel" persona has resonated with a small, but solid, bloc of Dem voters who sit to the general left of the Democratic Party itself. Although they represent about 1-2 percent of the entire Dem voting bloc, they are fairly loud advocates for their candidate as most advocates for "non-mainstream" candidates tend to be.

Nonetheless, Kucinich and his followers may be shooting for goals that are loftier than their cause will propel them. While many Dems believe America needs to shift "left", this is much further to the left than most Americans will ever accept.

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