Silencing Dennis Kucinich – The Dirt on the American Presidential Campaign

27 Dec

Are the American Presidential Elections free and fair?

How else does one explain the exclusion of Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich from the Des Moines register- sponsored Presidential debate? The lame reason given by the organisers: his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront. In addition, Kucinich’s Iowa Field Director and State Coordinator Marcos Rubinstein is not a paid full time staff. This is despite Kucinich, being polled the top candidate conducted by Democracy for America (DFA), Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and the Nation magazine.

Gore Vidal was so angry, he accused the right-wingers, including AIPAC, Mr. Wolf Blitzer, The Des Moines Register and CNN of shunning Dennis Kucinich, whom he considered, belonging to the “great tradition of the original People’s Party of the 1880s… the tradition of George Washington and of Thomas Jefferson”

Another online critic pointed out the hypocrisy of the other Democratic candidates.

Says Michael O’McCarthy, “Not a peep (referring to the other Dems) from any of them: this served their interests… It was yet another time when they didn’t need to sit silently by as TV anchor after TV anchor avoided including Kucinich in the debate… These polls represent that very worst of the Democratic Party Machine that wants power for itself and its clients: the corporate controllers of the United States government. And the cowards they are, they will easily consent to anything that will limit the chance that Kucinich might be “electable” too if his message is heard. And its not just shame on them. Because these parasites have no shame.” He also reserved his venom towards the Kucinich campaigners for not “taking it to the streets”.

This is not the first time that Corporate America and the Democrats have been accused of creating an uneven playing field, executing smear campaigns, or using under-handed methods to prevent other candidates from contesting or campaigning.

Ralph Nader, who wanted to run for the Greens in 2004 has sued the Democratic Party “for conspiring to prevent him from running for president in 2004.” The lawsuit was filed on behalf of him, his vice presidential running mate Peter Miguel Camejo and supporters from several states who accused the Kerry-Edwards campaign, the Service Employees International Union, private law firms, and organizations like the Ballot Project and America Coming Together, promoting on behalf of the Democrats. The lawsuit said the defendants had used “groundless and abusive litigation” to bankrupt Ralph Nader’s campaign and to force him off the ballot in 18 states.

According to Carl Meyer, who was part of the legal team in filing the lawsuit, the defendants, led by a legal coalition of Toby Moffett and Elizabeth Holtzman, and the Ballot Project, around 527 organizations, “systematically went around the country and filed lawsuit after lawsuit, twenty-four in all, plus five FEC complaints, to try to completely remove the Nader campaign from the ballot and to, in effect, bankrupt the campaign, which they succeeded in doing.” One of the defendants, Reed Smith, a large corporate law firm in Pittsburgh, is now gunning for Ralph Nader’s personal bank account to make him pay for some of litigation cost.

While Nader has been sidelined for being “an outsider, of neither parties”, how does one explain the shoddy treatment towards Kucinich, who is campaigning under the Democratic banner? The answer lies in his credentials, plans and actions which puts him as the one of the foremost and most progressive Presidential candidate for 2008, a man who has not shied away from the hard issues.

This is the Democrat who is against the Iraqi invasion before it even started and went on to lead 125 of his Democrats contemporaries to vote against the decision. He has spoken out against George Bush’s war-mongering rhetoric against Iran, of which none of the Democrats has bothered to voice any concerns. He called for the impeachment of Dick Cheney, the vice President. A call which the other Democratic candidates choose to remain silent. On health care, he is the only candidate to push for a national, not-for-profit, single-payer health insurance system that will cover all Americans.

The Democrats are reluctant to campaign for these issues, as they do not want to destroy the “two party- dictatorship” which Ralph Nader has termed, perhaps not inappropriately. Impeaching Cheney and Bush for their decision to go to war is a dangerous slippery slope because the Democrats know that they, themselves, could become its next victims if they were to start a war with Iran or North Korea.

Seen from this perspective, one can easily understand why Kucinich will not stand a chance against the heavy-weights of Obamas and Clintons.

As John Walsh notes in his review of “An Unreasonable Man,” a recently aired documentary on Ralph Nader, he quotes from an insider, someone who has worked with the establishment, Lawrence O’Donnell, the director and writer of TV’s West Wing; the Democratic Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance from 1993 to 1995; and the Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in 1992:

“If you want to pull the party–the major party that is closest to the way you’re thinking–to what you’re thinking, YOU MUST, YOU MUST show them that you’re capable of not voting for them. If you don’t show them you’re capable of not voting for them, they don’t have to listen to you. I promise you that. I worked within the Democratic Party. I didn’t listen, or have to listen, to anything on the left while I was working in the Democratic Party, because the left had nowhere to go.” (Caps represent O’Donnell’s emphasis, where he raised his voice.)

Kucinich’s progressive stance is also a significant threat to the corporations who lobby and are behind the other major Presidential candidates. His health care reform plans will affect for-profit insurance companies who would lose federal subsidies and a huge consumer market. His plans for ending the war, troops withdrawal and reducing military expenditure will cause corporations such as Haliburton and Lockheed Martin to shut down their lucrative operations in Iraq and reduce profitable businesses with the Pentagon. His plans to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 will restore robust, effective collective bargaining, which means huge corporations face thorny negotiations in labour disputes. These are just some of the impending and ripple effects on the mega corporate sector if Kucinich becomes President.

The shunning and silencing of Dennis Kucinich is a deliberate measure. As a candidate who represents a potential threat to the behind-the-scenes Corporate America, the latter cannot stomach Kucinich, whose initiatives will cut off their bottom (life)line…

===

References:

1. Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register Debate

2. Democracy for America, 2008 Pulse Poll

3. Progressive Democrats of America, Presidential Straw Polls Results

4. Kucinich First, Edwards Second in PDA Straw Poll, Progressive Democrats of America, 5 December 2007

5. Gore Vidal on the Democratic Debate Debacle, Truthdig.com, Gore Vidal, 18 December, 2007

6. The Death of Democracy – Silence the Opposition!, Los Angeles Free Press.com, Michael O’McCarthy

7. Ralph Nader Files Lawsuit Accusing Democratic Party of Conspiring to Block Presidential Run, Democracy Now!, 31 October, 2007

8. Gitlin, Alterman and the Anti-Nader Democrats; Two Unreasonable Men, Counterpunch.com, John Walsh, 26 December, 2007

9. Democracy for America Poll

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3 Responses to “Silencing Dennis Kucinich – The Dirt on the American Presidential Campaign”

  1. FarmerJean December 27, 2007 at 9:29 pm #

    Correction–Contrary to the statement in this article, Kucinich’s Iowa Field Director and State Coordinator Marcos Rubinstein IS a paid full time staffer. He has been pulling a campaign salary since April 1, 2007.

  2. Benjamin Pickering-Watson December 28, 2007 at 5:56 am #

    Great information.

  3. joncharles December 28, 2007 at 12:05 pm #

    Thanks for the information Farmer Jean.

    Just more clarifications. According to Cleveland.com, Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel didn’t meet the criteria for participation. I quote,

    “Neither Dennis Kucinich nor Mike Gravel had a campaign office in Iowa by the Oct. 1 deadline, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission,” the newspaper said in a statement on its Web site. “Gravel also did not have any paid staff in the state by the deadline.”

    http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2007/12/kucinich_complains_about_iowa.html

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