Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ode to Dennis Kucinich

My eagerness and enthusiasm leading up to the first democratic debate ended up to have so many disappointing moments. I like Obama, in the sense I suppose, that I acknowledge it is probably going to be the best outcome I can reasonably hope for. More so then I even like him, is my want to really like him, which I suppose inevitably starts to complicate things. I like what I saw as an honest enthusiasm for the issues he likes to talk about, and especially his work on disclosing the stuff that the government is doing (ie being able to go online and see where exactly tax dollars are spent).

I've never really heard too many long
speech segments made by him however, and I was really uncomfortable with too many of his answers for me to want to start giving him my one and only vote that I get in this whole thing. I also didn't like (on a more general note) how the candidates went out of their way to seem like they were agreeing with each other, in an attempt to, I can only fathom, try not to step on other folk's toes too early; but that was supposed to be the point of this whole exercise.

This leads to my secret
candidate coming out and saving the day; Dennis Kuchinich. At this point, I'm so biased I almost can't tell people he's number one on my list without smiling. Even pushing aside the awesome work he's done for the AR movement, showing and constantly pointing out the link of how animal cruelty leads to humyn violence, recognizing the crisis our climate is in, and backing up everything he advocates by being vegan, and having a shockingly consistent voting record--breathe, yes, besides all that (the issues that I feel closest too, but understand don't hit very high on other folk's level of importance)-- I think he has an array of innovative and workable answers on many other issues such as immigration, energy, and education.

For anyone silly
enough to have missed the action, you can follow along here-

It will please me
immensely to put my top problems with the candidates (specifically towards Obama in general, only because he is my next "go to" person, so to speak) in list form, with how Kucunich solved the problem for me:
    1. I am uneasy with how Obama seems to answer questions with "run around the issue" answers that makes no clear articulation where he stands. Or attempts to push the topic to a place where he feels more comfortable, or has more solutions.

Senator Obama, on this same topic, what about your view on the decision on partial-birth abortion and your reaction to most of the public agreeing with the court's holding?

OBAMA: You know, I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don't make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy...Now, there is a broader issue, though. And that is can we move past some of the debates around which we disagree and can we start talking about the things we do agree on? Reducing teen pregnancy; making it less likely for women to find themselves in the circumstances where they've got to anguish over these decisions.

Those are areas where I think we can all start mobilizing and move forward rather than look backwards.


KUCINICH: But the truth of the matter is, it's possible, I believe, to take a course of action where you can get all the people of America in support of a culture of life which includes prenatal care, postnatal care, child care, universal health care, a living wage, all those things that give support to life.

a) Obama's response that we need to talk about abortion in terms of some ridiculously linking teen pregnancy issue where, "we do agree on" is atrocious. Nothing is going to be solved by side stepping to some ground deemed "safe". Debate needs to happen; there needs to be a discussion in which the harms are out in the open, where we are having a conversation about what it means when abortion is "legal" yet inaccessible to too many people, where the teen-age mothers Obama vaguely references are forced to let their fate fall into the hands of their parents, and what waiting 24 hours and listening to a stereo typed and simplified speech about abortion, really gains (personally, still searching for this last one...)

b)I'm not trying to say that Kucinich really scored too many points exactly on this particular point either, but as many have pointed out in examining the debate (talking unfortunately about other people, not him) , he won it by not losing; in this case, not pretending that it's simply a matter of stopping womyn from being in the position to make this decision in the first place.

2. I'm confused as to what Obama is actually proposing in terms of resolving the war.

OBAMA: ...there's no military solution to this. We've got to have a political solution, begin a phased withdrawal, and make certain that we've got benchmarks in place so that the Iraqi people can make a determination about how they want to move forward.


MODERATOR: Congressman Kucinich, do you think one can be against the war and yet still fund it?

KUCINICH: No. I think it's inconsistent to tell the American people that you oppose the war and, yet, you continue to vote to fund the war. Because every time you vote to fund the war, you're reauthorizing the war all over again...Furthermore, I don't think that it's sufficient to say that if we had the information at the beginning that we would have voted differently. That information was available to everyone. And, if you made the wrong choice, we're auditioning here for president of the United States. People have to see who had the judgment and the wisdom not to go to war in the first place, and I made the choice not to go to war.

a)What is his political solution? Reading other bits from where he talks about his plan, I've gathered he wants it to obviously end, and there is a bunch of troops being pulled out; but how is troop removal a political solution? According to his web site some troops will remain to "engage in counter-terrorism" ...which sounds suspiciously like what we are doing now, only with a few less people. If he really believes the war is "dumb", why would this still be going on? I am much more ready to listen to Kucinich's 'peacekeepers' without, you know, guns and other weapons that usually make talking harder, to try and resolve things.

3. You've got to be able to defend what you're doing, and why you are doing it; and then stick with it.

You've promised in your campaign a new kind of politics, but just this week the Chicago Sun-Times reported on questionable ties you have with a donor who was charged last year for demanding kickbacks on Illinois business deals. Aren't you practicing the very same kind of politics that many of the others on this stage have engaged in?

OBAMA: Well, not all, (emphasis added) we have thousands of donors. This donor engaged in some ethical (sic) behavior and I have denounced it. But I have a track record of bringing people around this new kind of politics, since I was in the state legislature.


MODERATOR: "show of hands" question: Do you believe there is such a thing as a global war on terror?Let's try Congressman Kucinich. Why is your hand not up?

KUCINICH: Because the fact of the matter is that the global war on terror has been a pretext for aggressive war. As president of the United States, I intend to take America in a different direction, rejecting war as an instrument of policy, reconnecting with the nations of the world, so that we can address the real issues that affect security all over the globe and affect our security at home: getting rid of all nuclear weapons, the United States participating in the chemical weapons convention, the biological weapons convention, the small arms treaty, the landmine treaty, joining the International Criminal Court, signing the Kyoto climate change treaty.

a)Direct questions need direct answers for me to believe what they are saying. I don't like fancy footwork that aims to distract from what is being discussed.

4. Seriously: Edwards spends $400 on his haircuts?
(even Kucinich couldn't resolve this problem, however)