People ask why I support someone seen as unelectable, Congressman Dennis Kucinich. The mere title, "Congressman," alone states that this man was elected. Thus, he is electable. Indeed, Dennis Kucinich was voted into office on more than one occasion. Personally, I am proud to state I cast a ballot for this esteemed and gentle giant, and that I will again. Many have voted for Dennis Kucinich in the past. I trust , just as the Presidential candidate from Ohio does, that they will again.
In the city of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich was elected Mayor in 1977, three long decades ago. That was not the first time the Presidential aspirant received the physical and philosophical support of numerous people. The Kucinich story began long before Dennis took office as the head of that Midwestern community. Recently, in a desire to share the home-state-historical-records of each of the Presidential candidates, New Hampshire Public Radio hosted a series of programs, Voters in New Hampshire have long been known as people that want more than a moment on television to help them determine who is the best person for the job of President. Depth and details gratify those in the Granite State.
Therefore, the North Easterners turned to an acclaimed resident of the heartland Vincent Duffy, from WKSU Radio in Kent, Ohio to learn of the Congressman from the Buckeye State. Duffy reflects on the history of this dedicated, devoted American.
(Kucinich, from announcement speech) "I stand here, ready to light up America! I'm Dennis John Kucinich and I'm running for the president of the United States!" (Sound of crowd cheering.)
Duffy muses, just as now, Kucinich was considered an improbable choice. A Don Quixote character, an idealistic candidate. Dennis Kucinich dreams of greatness. Others proclaim his visions are impossible to achieve. He cannot be heard over the roar of crowds clinging to conventions. Oh, how true that was and continues to be. Only today, we learn . . .
Des Moines - Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said Iowa Democratic Party leaders and other groups aligned with the entrenched political power structure are "rigging the game in Iowa" by excluding him from two Presidential events this week.
"The whole purpose of the primary and caucus season is to provide voters with opportunities, not to enable a carnival of interest groups to subvert the process," Kucinich said. "When Party leaders and their allies pre-select which candidates they will allow the voters to hear, it's a disservice to the voters. Iowans deserve better than a rigged game."
Congressman Kucinich, (D-OH), was not invited to Sunday's Democratic Steak Fry in Indianola, nor to a Democratic Presidential Forum Thursday in Davenport. Representatives of both events have falsely claimed that Kucinich does not have a sufficiently "active organization" in Iowa.
However, statewide and national polls consistently show Kucinich running ahead of Senators Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, who were invited to participate. A recent American Research Group poll in Iowa showed Kucinich getting 3% of the vote, ahead of Biden and Dodd, who were at the bottom with 1% each. In the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll in Iowa two weeks ago, Kucinich and Biden were both at 2% and Dodd was at 1%.
In the most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, Kucinich was at 3% nationally, Biden was at 2%, and Dodd was below 1%. Another national poll, Rasmussen Reports, showed Kucinich tied with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in fourth place, behind Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and former Senator John Edwards. Richardson was also invited to participate in the Iowa events. Kucinich also won a post-debate poll on ABC's website after the last Iowa debate.
"We're doing better than some of the establishment candidates, and we're moving up," Kucinich said. "Instead of spending millions of dollars on high-priced consultants, and slick advertising, we have a highly motivated grassroots organization."
Dennis does not have the dollars to competitively fund his run. People rarely equate charisma with one so slight, so soft-spoken, and one that the Almighty's make certain remains well hidden from the scene. Yet, Dennis has come from behind before.
(Duffy) Twenty-five years ago, the thought of Kucinich being drowned out in this room by cheering supporters would be hard to imagine. The early rise - and some thought fateful fall - of Dennis Kucinich began when the self-described champion of underdogs became the youngest mayor of a major American city in 1977, at the age of 31. Critics and comics called him "the boy mayor."
(Mike Polensec) "He inherited a city that had made some terrible financial decisions prior to him being elected."
Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensec was a young councilman when Kucinich was mayor, and says the relationship between the mayor and council was combative:
(Polensec) "Every Monday night was like D-Day. You know, it's like you wanted to come into council chambers wearing a helmet and a flak jacket. It was ugly every Monday night down here."
(Duffy) The confrontational mayor fired his police chief on live TV and alienated the business community. But his biggest battle came when local banks threatened to call in a $15 million loan if Kucinich didn't sell the city owned municipal electric company to its commercial rival. Kucinich refused to sell and Cleveland defaulted on the loans. His critics mounted a recall effort that Kucinich survived by only 236 votes. He lost re-election by a landslide. Two decades later, Polensec and others believe Kucinich was right not to sell Cleveland public power:
(Polensec) "Did Dennis do the right thing? Of course he did. There are some people who even went so far as to say he was a political martyr over it."
Dennis Kucinich in his youth, as a Mayor, was as principled as he is now. That alone is something to consider. Here is a "politician" with ethics. Dennis Kucinich fought from what proved right, for he was committed to the people he represented. For Dennis Kucinch, the cause is not his own ambition; it is the commonweal.
Ah, the novelty of altruism has always appealed to me. Apparently, I am not alone. Humanitarian, Dennis Kucinich thinks selflessness is best. Kucinich remained faithful to a doctrine that puts the rights of all people equally first.
While most in Ohio, in those early years, struggled to accept that someone might truly embrace philanthropy, particularly in a political forum; thus they continued to vote for the ultra-charming, infinitely captivating, and commercially sold product, oops I mean candidate, Dennis Kucinich remained undeterred.
(Duffy) Kucinich was determined to return to politics. He served briefly on city council, and mounted losing campaigns for Ohio governor and secretary of state and Congress. But in the '90s, Cleveland officials started crediting Kucinich for low utility rates, and he won a seat to the Ohio Senate with the slogan, "because he was right." Two years later voters elected him to Congress. He continued to champion the underdog, fighting to keep steel mills and hospitals open, and even standing in front of Jacobs Field vowing to keep Cleveland Indians baseball on local television:
(Kucinich, at Jacobs Field) "This is the house, the house that taxpayers built. And because it's the house that taxpayers built, and because this team is heavily subsidized with tax dollars, it's time for us to put our foot down and say look, we want the games back on free TV. We support this team so much, in so many ways, and that's what this bill is designed to do."
(Duffy) Kucinich represents a district where many trace their ancestry to Eastern Europe. His vegan diet and recent change to a pro-choice stance on abortion set him apart from most of his constituents. But his Web site does celebrate the area favorites of polka, kielbasa, and bowling. And at the Red Circle Bar and Lanes in Parma, Ohio, Kucinich's name still creates disagreements:
"When he was mayor, he was kind of anti-big business?" "That's good?" "He doesn't take care of?" "Look what big business is doing to this country today?" "You'll get your turn in later. I feel that half the businesses left Cleveland because of that."
(Duffy) But most agree Kucinich has matured since his days as the "boy mayor." He easily wins re-election to Congress and city leaders now welcome him. Earlier this year, current Mayor Jayne Campbell ended the symbol of a long held grudge against the former mayor:
(Campbell) "And everyone who has served as the mayor of Cleveland has a portrait, except Dennis Kucinich. It has been 22 years since Dennis Kucinich was mayor of Cleveland. It is time now to put Dennis Kucinich on the wall, because he served as mayor."
Perhaps, it is also time to place Dennis Kucinich center-stage. Might people throughout the country realize that this "boy Mayor," is perhaps better prepared to lead a nation than others might be. Congressman Kucinich proposed a more comprehensive Health Care plan than the other candidates have yet to conceive. In March 2007, Physicians for a National Health Program featured an article on the topic. Author Roger Hickey, compared and contrasted programs the Presidential hopefuls put forth.
The majority of the American people want a single-payer health care system - Medicare for all.
The majority of doctors want it.
A good chunk of hospital CEOs want it.
But what they want doesn't appear to matter.
Because a single-payer health care plan would mean the death of the private health insurance industry and reduced profits for the pharmaceutical industry.
Presidential candidates John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger talk a lot about universal health care.
But not one of them advocates for single-payer - because single-payer too directly confronts the big corporate interests profiting off the miserable health care system we are currently saddled with.
"Currently, we are spending almost a third of every health care dollar on administration and paperwork generated by the private health insurance industry," said Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. "Countries like Canada spend about half that much on the billing and paperwork side of medicine. If we go to a single-payer system and are able to cut the billing and paperwork costs of health care, that frees up about $300 billion per year. That's the money we need to cover the uninsured and then improve the coverage for those who have private insurance but are under-insured."
"The idea behind single-payer is you don't have to increase total health care spending," Woolhandler said in an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter. "You take the money we are now spending but cut the administrative fat and use that money to cover people."
None of the declared Presidential candidates - with the exception of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) - is supporting single-payer.
Last year, Kucinich and Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan), introduced a single-payer bill, HR 676, which garnered support of more than 75 members of the House.
And Woolhandler says grassroots activists have been mobilizing at the state level.
"State single-payer organizations have been very active," she said. "Early in the process, you can get a lot of politicians interested - they want to show up at your rallies to show support for national health insurance. But as you get closer and closer to actual passage of a law, it is harder to keep the politicians on board."
"The legislature in California passed a single-payer bill last year, but everybody knew that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to veto it. So, it was very easy for the politicians to say - yes, I'm going to support it. The insurance industry did not come in and throw their millions against it. But every time there is a real possibility of a bill coming through, the insurance industry has weighed in very heavily against."
Woolhandler called the universal health care law passed in Massachusetts by Governor Mitt Romney "a hoax."
"The core idea is the individual mandate - forcing uninsured people to go out and buy insurance," Woolhandler said. "And if they don't buy insurance, we are going to fine them. The first year it is an $80 fine. The second year, it's half the value of the lowest priced policy - we're talking about a $2,000 fine. So, they are saying anyone who earns more than three times poverty has to bear the entire price of a private insurance policy."
"Romney's bill was written by Blue Cross," Woolhandler said. "Romney was saying he was going to offer health insurance starting at $200 a month. And of course, that was a hoax. No insurance policy in Massachusetts comes in at $200 a month. When Blue Cross was asked to produce the policy, it turned out the policy was going to cost $380 a month for a policy that had a $2000 deductible. So, you are going to tell this poor bloke who is earning $29,400 a year that he has to go out and spend $4,000 a year on an insurance policy. And if he gets sick, he doesn't even have any coverage until he has spent $2,000. And that's not family coverage. That's individual coverage."
Schwarzenegger would do the same - fine individuals for not having insurance.
Former Senator John Edwards would have a Medicare-like system compete with private insurance.
"Edwards plan is not going to work," Woolhandler says flatly. "We know there is not going to be fair competition between Medicare and the private plans. You have to take on the private health insurance industry and tell them - you are out of here. . .
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) doesn't want to get specific.
"She is nowhere on this issue," Woolhandler says.
Ditto Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois).
Yet, those that know best how vital health care is, the elderly, are not given the opportunity to meet the candidate with the best plan for Universal Health Care coverage. As Congressman Kucinich travels around Iowa, in his quest to meet the common folk, the young, the middle age, and the elderly, he is again refused entrance into the discussion.
He [Dennis Kucinich] also questioned the decision by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Iowa Public Television to exclude him from Thursday's Democratic Presidential Forum, which will focus on the issues of health care and financial security.
"The Presidential debate on health care has been largely fake, with phony claims from candidates that they are providing 'universal health care' when, in fact, they are preserving the for-profit system of private insurance companies who make money not providing health care," Kucinich said.
"I am the only Presidential candidate to offer a true universal healthcare plan for America, HR676, Medicare for All. It is a comprehensive, not-for-profit, national health insurance plan, and everyone is covered," Kucinich said. "No premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments."
Indeed he is. Although John Edwards likes to claim that he was the first to propose Universal Health care coverage, he writes and includes on his website, that his proposal falls far short. Fortunately, few read what the contenders for the highest office in the land actually pen.
Choice between Public and Private Insurers: Health Care Markets will offer a choice between private insurers and a public insurance plan modeled after Medicare, but separate and apart from it. Families and individuals will choose the plan that works best for them. This American solution will reward the sector that offers the best care at the best price. Over time, the system may evolve toward a single-payer approach if individuals and businesses prefer the public plan.
Were the American public more engaged personally, perhaps we would see what Dennis Kucinich envisions, what I experienced first hand at a rally in Palm Beach, Florida. This magnificent man can inspire a crowd to come out in support of his campaign. In the quiet community of Palm Beach, three to five hundred persons walked the main streets in a Conservative enclave to proclaim "Strength Through Peace." These people saw the possibilities Dennis Kucinich speaks of. They listened to him tell tales of woe and wonder. Each was moved to stand in ovation. I believe it is as Duffy states.
(Duffy) Kucinich remains a long shot among Democratic candidates for president, but believes he will gain support as more people pay attention. He was a strong critic of the war in Iraq before it started, and now thinks just as he was eventually proven correct about Cleveland Public Power, he'll also be proven correct about the war.
For the Home-State Record Project, I'm Vincent Duffy.
Through the magic of video, I share another aspect of the Dennis Kucinich story. In an interview with Tom Snyder, Presidential hopeful, then Mayoral candidate spoke from his heart. Kucinich bared his soul, and offered solutions to problems that continue to plague many American citizens.
Dennis Kucinich, even in his youth, discussed dynamics from the perspective of the ordinary John and Jane Doe. Then, as now, Kucinich is considered a threat to the bankers and businesspersons that wish to marginalize the common folk. [Remember the health insurance companies that do not wish to lose their profits, and the candidates that receive money from these institutions that will work to honor their cause, not ours . . .]
Dennis Kucinich, unlike others makes no excuses. He need not. Kucinich does not entertain the contributions from lobbyists, hedge funds, bankers, and other questionable sources in local or national campaigns. This amazing man, in the past and the present stands for principles. As you listen to this conversation, you may realize Dennis Kucinich knew that Cleveland was a microcosm of America. Just as helped to give Cleveland back to the people, Kucinich is ready to bring power back to the people of America. Actually, he is better prepared. You may recall, now, even former enemies admit, Kucinich is older and wiser.
I also wish to share what I do not revel in. The approach of this next presentation is for me, a bit too blunt. Competitive commercials may be conventional wisdom in a campaign; nonetheless, they are not my preference. However, after reviewing the results of a Daily Kos poll, I realized few actually read what candidates offer at their websites. I accept the front-runners' sound-bites sell more than positions. Thus, I think the information, and perhaps the direct approach, may be necessary.
Granted, many candidates now tout portions of the Kucinich platform. However, one might ask, do we wish to vote solely for a "Progressive" Party candidate merely because they are registered as Democrats. Frequently, "liberals" have done little to represent the people that elected them.
I prefer to cast my ballot for a candidate with a vision, one with a consistent and proven record, a history that is admirable. Personalities may be pretty, popular, and idolized. Yet, as we too often learn, physical beauty is only skin deep. I yearn to vote for or a soul that soars. I prefer to elect a visionary that has a history of making dreams come true. Dennis Kucinich may be tilting at another windmill; nonetheless, he has ample support.
You, dear reader may recall Sancho was asked, why he stayed with Don Quixote, the Man From La Mancha, or was it Cleveland. Sancho replied, "I like him. I really like him!" Sancho may have not been able to put into words what is obvious to me. American's can dream the impossible dream and create profound truths!
Sources, Successes, Kucinich, President of the United States of America . . .