The loss of Dennis Kucinich in Ohio’s 9th congressional district against fellow democrat Marcy Kaptur was not just the defeat of a longstanding member of congress, it was the loss of the Democrats moral compass. Kucinich was the last high profile Democratic congressman to be an archetype liberal: anti-war, anti-big business, anti-wall street, pro-environment, pro-universal healthcare liberal democrat who very rarely wavered on principles.
It may be hard to believe that Kucinich was the last bleeding heart liberal in congress and even harder to believe that Democrats have a moral compass, but he was and they did.
Kucinich was the most hard lined liberal democrat there was, he had a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL, 100% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, and a 92% rating from the ACLU. In his own words Kucinich said, "I'm from the universal-health-care wing of the Democratic Party. I'm from the Roe v. Wade-litmus-test wing of the Democratic Party. I'm from the abolish-the-death-penalty wing of the Democratic Party."
His most notable pieces of legislations included the creating the Department of Peace, banning all handguns, abolishing the death penalty, national healthcare for all US citizens, abolishing the Bush Tax Cuts, and amnesty to illegal immigrants. He also wrote the articles of impeachment for Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.
While these positions are not unusual for a liberal Democrat, in fact you will find many more Trotsky wing nuts occupying the halls of congress, it was Kucinich who took it to the furthest extreme.
Kucinich ran for President twice, in both 2004 and 2008, though 2004 was his more serious attempt. He was the last person to leave the race, stating he was trying to shape the Democratic debate.
During his eight terms in congress Kucinich raised more than $28 million in re-election bids, and true to liberal form most of it was from individual contributors and labor unions. Kucinich unlike many mainstream Democrats including President Obama was not bought by Wall Street, something he criticized the President for during multiple occasions. Kucinich was a critic of the Federal Reserve and co-sponsored Congressman Ron Paul’s efforts to have the Fed audited.
However the core of Kucinich’s convictions lie in his pacifism even it was in opposition was against his own president.
In 2011, Kucinich joined seven republicans as well as two of his fellow democrats, the aging John Conyers (D-MI) and Michael Capuano (D-MA) in suing a democrat president. Kucinich joined in the lawsuit against President Obama in response to the President’s continued bombing of Libya. The congressmen argued that the President was in defiance of both the constitution and the War Powers Act. When the administration stated that they were not actually at war because, “boots were not on the ground”, Kucinich defiantly argued back, “Tell it to a judge”.
In the modern democrat party, there is no room for the anti-war movement, Obama killed it. The Obama administration’s continuing of Bush’s drone warfare and expanded assault on individual liberty, especially with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, to wish Kucinich was opposed. Kucinich, ever the peacenik stood as the example for the Democrat party, away from it’s own hawkish wing. Kucinich’s vanguard essence on foreign policy and civil liberties sought to move the party away from the Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, and yes, Barack Obama wing of the Democrat Party.
For without people like Kucinich, the Democrat party is sure to become ever more enslaved to the corporate, warfare/welfare, intrusive, anti-sovereignty, anti-American Worker policies they‘ve already embraced. A Democrat Party without people like Dennis Kucinich is like the Republican Party without people like Ron Paul; just part of the two headed bird of prey. Kucinich may have been odd, kooky, and yes he showed a pie chart during a radio debate, but without him and people like him, the establishment is never challenged.
Kucinich’s career has been a consistent rollercoaster of highs and lows, he was mayor of Cleveland from 1978 to 1979, during the time he survived a mafia hit and a recall election. After losing re-election and a break from political life, he won a congressional district in Ohio’s 10th in 1996 which he held until the most recent primary.
Can Kucinich make a comeback? Only time will tell, which is the same for the party that rejected him.