COLUMN: Forget Trix, I’m going cuckoo for Kucinich

By Eric Naing

He’s short, he’s funny looking, he’s a communist and a hippie, he’s not a “serious” candidate, he’s one of the few politicians who have been absolutely right about Iraq from the very beginning, he’s Dennis Kucinich.

Despite being completely written off by the media and fellow politicians, Kucinich is making another run for the presidency and maybe we would all be better off if we actually listened to him this time.

Opponents of Rep. Kucinich routinely mock his proposal for a Department of Peace and claim that following his plan for withdrawal would be disastrous. But what would you rather have?

At this point, I’d definitely prefer Kucinich being president and the United States not being caught in the middle of a civil war to Bush being president and the U.S. being stuck in a deadly Middle East quagmire.

Aside from being one of the few Democrats to vote against the initial Iraq war resolution, Kucinich also voted against the $87 billion dollars requested by the president in 2003 to further fund the war, both times choosing the politically foolish but morally correct path.

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    When asked about his vote on the $87 billion during a candidate debate in 2004, Rep. Kucinich replied, “I am going to vote no because I believe the best way to protect our troops is to bring them home.”

    And this was before we knew about prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, before the Golden Mosque bombing that kicked Iraq’s civil war into over drive, before the botched Saddam Hussein execution that further encouraged sectarian violence, before Bush asked for his 20,000 troop surge and before he laid the groundwork for potential military action in Iran.

    Imagine if we had listened to Kucinich then; three thousand American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians would still be alive.

    Despite Kucinich being so uncannily prescient, his candidacy is routinely dismissed as being nothing more than a publicity stunt. Even monolithic blog icon Markos Moulistas of the popular liberal blog Daily Kos calls Kucinich an”unserious” candidate.

    But what does this label mean?

    Looking back on the 2005 Democratic presidential candidates, almost all of them supported the war in some form.

    Even liberal boogeyman Howard Dean supported giving President Bush the $87 billion and the continued occupation of Iraq, equating plans for withdrawal to “cut and run.”

    In fact, only two opposed the war and called for bringing the troops home: Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton, the two “novelty” candidates.

    Calling Kucinich’s candidacy “unserious” is not only an insult to Rep. Kucinich, but also to the thousands of Americans who gave their time and money to support Kucinich in 2004 and who will do it again in 2006.

    Kucinich has more going for him than his position on the war though.

    He combines a message of hope with a substantial voting record and actual policy proposals unlike a certain fresh-faced junior senator from Illinois.

    Sure, Kucinich has no chance of winning the presidency, but so what?

    Now more than ever, we need candidates who are unafraid to voice what they truly believe and who will question “electable” candidates at every step.

    So-called “serious” candidates and “wise old men of Washington” have been consistently wrong about the defining issue of our time and yet, they get elected to office, they appear on political talk shows and they get hired by Time Magazine.

    Because we listened to them, we now find ourselves having to make the horrific choice of continuing a failed and increasingly deadly war or plunging the Middle East into chaos.

    In the ancient battle between the grey-haired, suit and tie wearing, troop supporting, speech giving, “serious” men and the dreadlocked, sign carrying, slogan chanting, unwashed, pot smoking, tie-dye-wearing hippies, the hippies were right.

    Kucinich is more than a gimmick. He’s the only one who knew what to do all along.