Thursday, February 28, 2008
Why Kucinich cut his presidential race short
The Cleveland Scene, an alternative newspaper, has an article up about his opponent, a former Kucinich groupie named Joe Cimperman who wanted to commission a portrait of the congressman, but got burned and then got pissed.
The new Kucinich, he argues, is rarely involved in matters at home anymore. He's twice run for president, but barely registered in the national consciousness. Meanwhile, while the congressman was "spending all his time in Hawaii and Syria," Cleveland was being rushed to an economic emergency ward.
So Cimperman decided to take Kucinich's job — the 10th Congressional District seat, representing an area that stretches from Cleveland to North Olmsted. It's not like he's betraying his mentor, says Cimperman. "I didn't leave Dennis. Dennis left me."....
A few weeks later, Cimperman delivered a gift basket — stuffed with sausages and a map of Cuyahoga County — to Kucinich's house. The message: In case you forgot about Cleveland . . .
The next week, a staffer filmed him as he went to Kucinich's office to drop off a "missing" flier featuring the congressman's face.
He immediately launched TV ads attacking Kucinich's most vulnerable flanks, accusing him of ignoring his job and failing to deliver anything meaningful to the district.
Kucinich was forced to cut short his presidential bid and scurry back to Cleveland. He seemed to understand that he faced a legitimate threat, an opponent regarded as such a tireless campaigner and aggressive self-promoter that he's often accused of grandstanding.
In other words, Kucinich had come home to battle a younger version of himself.....
Yet outside the unswayable core, Kucinich has done his best to alienate lay Democrats. His two presidential bids seemed like the antics of a kid brother who's constantly trying to play with the older boys. Despite three years of nonstop campaigning, he rarely scored more than 1 percent in the primaries.
At home he (Kucinich) was anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage, praising the merits of bowling and sausage. In California he was a vegan liberal. At home he refused to debate his opponents; in New Hampshire and Nevada he sued to be included.
Unfortunately, Scene couldn't get Kucinich on the phone either. His cell phone picks up after one ring. This is Dennis. Thanks for calling. I'm looking forward to speaking with you . . .
But he never calls back.
And lest you think this is a flank attack by conservatives and/or Democratic Party insiders, Cimperman has mostly championed progressive causes including a failed attempt to keep WalMart out of Cleveland. He has compromised on other issues according to the article, but he does not appear to be hitting Kucinich from the right. On the other hand, note the first comment to the article which claims that Kucinich has an excellent attendance record in Congress despite his campaigns - and isn't that really the job of a congressional representative? The portrait incident may actually weigh against Cimperman's central theme.
Still, Kucinich's sudden departure from the presidential race would indicate that he's well aware of his vulnerabilities.
Disclosure: I voted for Kucinich in the 2004 primary.
First the gibes about Hillary's so-called "war chest." Now grade-school-level taunts about Kucinich's stature.
Have you no decency, Kirk?
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