I’ve known Dennis since 1988.? We don’t really talk, or hang out, or even associate much anymore.? But I was there with Dennis, as a very green college intern, when he ran in a primary against Mary Rose Oakar in 1988, and got 25% of the vote.? At the time, Dennis was attempting the comeback from his disastrous stint as mayor of Cleveland, an office which Dennis handed on a silver platter to George Voinovich in 1979.

Dennis is reprising his stubbornness from his mayoralty over the current health care bill.? Like he is today, Dennis as mayor, took a single issue (the continued existence of a public utility, Cleveland Public Power) to the then logical extreme of leading the city of Cleveland into default.? Yes, Dennis was right at the time.? Yes, Cleveland Public Power is still with us, thanks to Dennis.? Yes, Dennis has been proven right over time.

All that “being right” also led to George Voinovich, a Republican mayor of the largest Democratic vote base in Ohio, in the most important presidential state in the country, Ohio. Dennis, in effect proven by facts, created with his own hand a kryptonite for Democrats statewide.? By giving birth to George Voinovich and a Voinovich GOP machine which could count on Democratic votes from the Democratic base, Dennis Kucinich, through his own stubbornness, doomed Ohio to two solid decades of Republican misrule, which in turn led to Ohio being the turning point for at least two Republican presidencies, each of which has been utterly disastrous for this country.? Just take one look around Ohio.

Now that I’m running for office, I have no incentive to criticize Dennis over his current idiocy on health care reform.? Dennis represents a good chunk of my county council district.? My voters like Dennis.? And I’d love to have Dennis’ support.? But I’d much rather have Dennis’ vote on this health care bill.

Because if Dennis gets his way on health care, and this bill fails, Dennis will again, as he did in Cleveland in 1978, doom this country to further Republican misrule.? Only this time, Dennis will be doing it with full knowledge aforethought.? Dennis knows that if this bill fails, Democrats across this country will pay a heavy price.? It may cost Barack Obama re-election. That’s just the politics.

More importantly, if this bill fails, Dennis will doom the rest of us, for the foreseeable future, to a health care system that is fundamentally broken.? Dennis will claim that he again is in the right.? Despite Dennis being completely unable to posit a scenario in which his position for single payer will ever be implemented, yes, he may be still be right.

The rest of us will pay for Dennis being right.? I know.? I’ve paid that price as a Clevelander, and an Ohioan, for a very long time.? I’m running for office in part to help clean up the mess “Dennis being right” left behind.

But you are wrong, Dennis, to vote against this health care bill.? The saddest part is that you know it.

Cross posted at DailyKos.

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  • Dormilona

    Dennis Kuchinich is one of the few people in Congress that I respect and trust. I don't consider him responsible for Ohio's shift to the right. If people insist upon remaining too ignorant and short-sighted to follow great leadership, whose fault is that? Remember (and I am SO not a Christian) the mob let the Romans crucify Jesus. The rich and the powerful almost always find ways to manipulate us to act against our own best interests.

    I was a huge supporter of health care reform all the way up to the point where Obama rescinded on his three stated “bedrock principles,”which included the public option. Now I'm against passage of this bill. Here's why:

    I think (tho' I'm one of the ignorant mob and am quite possibly terribly, terribly wrong) that the shape it is taking (without the public option and with so many concessions to the right) will lead us straight to the following scenario (which I believe is the aim of the GOP):

    1. The bill will pass on a simple majority.
    2. The bill has become so gutted and deformed by concessions that it will signally fail either to meet the needs of the poor or to contain costs.
    3. People will become furious with the Democrats for having passed a bill that doesn't solve our problems and makes our lives worse (e.g., forcing us to purchase insurance we may not want from private companies that aren't accountable to anyone but their shareholders).
    4. The Republicans will say, “See, we told you it was a bad bill, that's why we didn't vote for it. Look at what the Democrats have shoved down your throats.”
    5. And they will be, just where they planned to be, in the catbird seat. FOXy Loxy wins again.

    Sometimes NOTHING really is better than something.

    Please tell me I'm wrong and what I'm missing.

    Meanwhile, thank God for Dennis Kucinich, who has principles and a spine, despite being a Democrat.

  • Amber

    Why would he do something he thought was wrong?

  • mvirenicus

    it's all about elections to you, tim. whatever it takes to get elected. well, the last year has shown us what democrats do when elected: NOTHING.

    the only question that remains to my mind is why Dennis remains in the party.

  • While the events happened 40 years ago he has still yet to accept that what he did was wrong. Senators McCain and Glenn know they had a bad association and they righted that wrong and apologized.

  • seditious

    Rich analysis, Tim. Blaming Rep Kucinich for 20 years of Republican rule in Ohio and completely ignoring so many other facts like that the Democratic Party has done nothing about hackable Electronic Voting Machines and the Dems now supporting outsourcing our good paying jobs to brutal dictatorial countries.

    There is no excuse that a strong Public Option or lowered age for Medicare not be in the final HCR bill now that Dems only need 50 votes in the Senate.

    Mandates to buy expensive health insurance from for-profit companies is stupid policy and stupid politics. And I bet the Supreme Court finally makes a good ruling and declares it unconstitutional. What's next, mandatory gym memberships for fat people?

    Obama and the Dem Leadership is going along with the dangerous alliance of government power and Wall Street. At least someone on the left is speaking some truth.

    Thank You Representative Dennis Kucinich!!!

  • tudorman

    There are two people in congress that can be counted on to vote with integrity and stand up for what they believe. Although I don't agree with his positions, I admire Kucinich for having the balls to vote his conscience. The other person is Ron Paul, who will vote against his own proposals if they are attached to other legislation he feels is wrong. These are the guys that can't be bought. If there were more folks like that in office I could get excited about politics and democracy again.

    Nice work, Russo. If you're elected, when should your constituents expect the selling out?

  • tudorman

    As if on cue, Kucinich and Paul team up to take the warmongering criminals in Congress to task…


    This is why your slam against Kucinich is unwarranted. The man simply will not roll over and play dead. What about you Tim?

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