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February 17, 2003

Kucinich Now "Pro-Choice"

Dennis Kucinich, Congressman and former mayor of Cleveland, is announcing his candidacy for President. He's been seen as a stalwart for progressives, a champion of labor and the poor, and the natural choice for progressives unable to swallow Sharpton's past to rally around.

Except for one thing.

Kucinich is a leftwing Catholic who has historically taken the "seamless garment" position seriously-- no death penalty, full aid to children, and no abortion. A position I've always respected, since at least it takes "pro-life" seriously from conception beyond birth. Respected, but I wouldn't be able to support it for President, with abortion rights on the line.

But now Kucinich has announced a change in his position on abortion.

"as president, I would protect that right [to abortion], and I would also make sure that appointees to the Supreme Court protected that right."
So that should allow a lot more progressives to support him.

Some more links on Kucinich:

Presidential Exploratory Web site

Kucinich speeches:
A Prayer for America-- in Los Angeles (Feb. 2002)
The Sould of the Worker- Iowa AFL-CIO Convention (August 2002)
A new Horizon for the Democratic Party- DNC Western Caucus, Seattle (May 2002)
The Health of Our Nation- SEIU Union Leadership Conference, Oakland (Sept. 2002)
Thoughts on Iraq and Economy (Jan 2003)

Articles about Kucinich:
CNN story on possible candidacy of Kucinich (Feb. 2003)
Kucinich is the One- Studs Terkel, the Nation (April 2002)
Deeper Rivers- David Corn, LA Weekly (May 2002)

Kucinich Fan and Draft Sites:
Draft Kucinich

I'm not sure yet if Kucinich is my guy yet, whether pragmatism may trump the fact that he is just so right on the issues. On labor issues, he is rhetorically good and legislatively specific.

Take this from his web site:

In 2001 the U.S. Supreme Court repealed 100 years of labor and civil rights protections and gave employers the right to require mandatory, binding arbitration as a condition of employment. This repeal meant that anyone seeking a job in America could be required to sign away their civil rights, disability rights, sex discrimination protections, pension rights, and whistleblower rights.

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich offered legislation that year that reverses the Supreme Court's decision. The Preservation of Civil Rights Protections Act of 2001 would reverse this significant assault on employee rights. Arbitration is acceptable only if it is voluntary. Workers should not be required to waive their legal rights as a condition of employment.

Congressman Kucinich introduced HR 5644 to repeal sections of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which allow for Presidential interventions in strikes and lockouts.

On the issue of the obscenity of the Supreme Court decision trashing the obvious letter of the law, I wrote this column two years ago, so Kucinich is so on target in making this issue a front and center campaign item. And given the assault on the dockworkers this year by Bush, repeal of Taft-Hartley anti-strike rules is just a given.

So it may be very hard for me not to end up lining up behind Kucinich for 2004.

Posted by Nathan at February 17, 2003 10:35 AM

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Comments

How can we be truly sure that someone who has consistently voted pro-life in the congress is all of the sudden really pro-choice just because his website says so?

Posted by: JH at February 17, 2003 03:15 PM

Was this a concern in voting for Gore? Is it a concern in voting for Gephardt?

On a practical level (tinged with a hint of fantasy) if DK actually won the White House, he wouldn't appoint anti-Roe justices because his own party's senators would (and should) revolt. However, my trepidation with a DK presidency is that he would limit (or maintain current limitations on) access to abortion in ways that don't make the news media.

Still, the Democratic primaries just got interesting.

Posted by: Kumar at February 18, 2003 03:09 PM

Are there any pro-life positions you can point to in Gore's record? What's changed is his stance when it comes to federal funding on abortions, not his beliefs on abortion pro se.

Anyway, I like Kucinich's politics but I think he would be an awful candidate who will only drain votes away from progressives with a more pragmatic approach (yes, I'm looking at Howard Dean, flame away).

Posted by: Ben at February 18, 2003 05:50 PM

Kucinich may not have enough for the long haul but he will raise the stakes in the primaries. He has always stated that he would not oppose Roe. His entry brings in a real liberal who represents my views closer than any other candidate. I also like Dean. he seems to be a straight shooter. I mainly want a democrat who will stand up to the crap that the repugs will throw his way. Kucinich and Dean will.

Posted by: Norm - Ventura at February 19, 2003 07:46 PM

I don't think Kucinich has a chance of getting the nomination, but the main benefit is that he (and probably Al Sharpton) will be in the debates. The other candidates will not be able to duck the issues with Kucinich and Sharpton there to keep them honest. Their presence could even pull other candidates, especially Howard Dean, to the left, the same way the Eugene McCarthy campaign did in 1968. This is shaping up to be the most interesting Democratic primary since '92. Kucinich has my vote regardless.

Posted by: Robert at February 19, 2003 08:49 PM

If you like Kucinich on everything else, why let his pro-life record stand in the way? Is killing babies really that important to you?

Posted by: Joe Millionaire at February 20, 2003 12:25 PM

Sorry if that came across the wrong way. But I am indeed curious. I can understand why pro-lifers would make abortion the overriding, predominant issue in their voting. If you really believe that 1.5 million babies are being murdered every year, that has to be something that takes precedence over just about everything else. It's literally a life or death issue, and whether or not you agree with it, you should be able to understand why they put such importance on it from their point of view.

But for pro-choicers, why should the issue take such preeminence over every other conceivable issue? It's not as if the overturning of Roe would mean all that much; maybe a few states would restrict abortion (Utah or Louisiana), but most states would keep abortion legal, just as it is now. So why make such a big deal out of it, if you like Kucinich on other issues? Why let that be the only litmus test?

Posted by: Joe Millionaire at February 20, 2003 12:50 PM

Labor issues are a litmus test for me. As is anti-racism. As is feminism and abortion rights.

Now, I'm pragmatic enough to bend on any of the issues, but not break, and a basic commitment to abortion rights is a basic issue of women's freedom.

Posted by: Nathan Newman at February 21, 2003 12:44 AM

The Worst Mayors (1820-1993)
Next, and seventh, is Cleveland's Dennis Kucinich (1977-79). Only thirty-one years old when elected, Cleveland's "boy" mayor had failings that were not the sins of venality or graft for personal gain, but rather matters of style, temperament, and bad judgment in office. Kucinich earned seventh place the hard way: by his abrasive, intemperate, and confrontational populist political style, which led to a disorderly and chaotic administration. He barely survived a recall vote just ten months into office, then disappeared for five weeks, reportedly recuperating from an ulcer. When he got back into the political fray, his demagogic rhetoric and slash-and-burn political style got him into serious trouble when he stubbornly refused to compromise and led Cleveland into financial default in late 1978—the first major city to default since the Great Depression. That led also to Kucinich's defeat and exit from executive office. Out of office, he dabbled in a Hollywoodesque spirit world and once believed he had met actress Shirley MacLaine in a previous life, seemingly confirming his critics' charges that he was a "nut-cake." After that, he experienced downward mobility, losing races for several other offices and finally ending up with a council seat; but more recently, he climbed back up to a seat in Congress. Bad judgment, demagoguery, and default also spelled political failure in the eyes of twenty-five of our experts, who ranked Dennis, whom the press called "the Menace," as seventh-worst.


The American Mayor
The Best & The Worst Big-City Leaders
By Melvin G. Holli
The Pennsylvania State University Press

Posted by: CLEVELAND (OHIO) at February 21, 2003 12:25 PM

Excuse me, but Dennis Kucinich as a presidential hopeful? How outrageous a notion. This is the man, the mayor, who brought Cleveland to its knees financially. Under his "leadership," the city went into default. We were broke by the time George Voinovich took over.
Voinovich brought the city back by working with corporate CEOs and visionaries in a consortium that helped bring renewed vibrancy to the city in terms of companies investing in real-estate development and manufacturing, revitalizing downtown after years of decline under Kucinich.

I can't believe Kucinich's constituents have been so gullible as to elect him for four terms as a congressman. What has he done for them - in Congress or as mayor?

Think back. The city had no money. Standard & Poors downgraded Cleveland's bond rating during Kucinich's outgoing year.

This man is to be considered to lead our great country? Get a grip, all you blue-collar workers and voters who cling to the hope that Kucinich is the answer. Forget it. He doesn't know how to lead or to bolster an economy.

Laura Carrabine

Cleveland, Ohio

Posted by: CLEVELAND (OHIO) at February 21, 2003 12:27 PM

Kucinich as mayor of Cleveland, as I recall, refused to privatize the city's public-owned utility system which the banks were demanding he do. The banks responded by declaring the city in default. Kucinich is now widely regarded as a hero for standing up to the pro-privatization forces and making the right decision.

Posted by: Robert at February 21, 2003 10:49 PM

Re Kucinich last May:

"He absolutely believes in the sanctity of life and that life begins at conception," his press secretary Kathie Scarrah nervously told me.

Source:

http://www.priestsforlife.org/news/infonet/infonet02-05-31.htm

And then, he flip-flops and tries to blame the GOP? Pathetic:


http://www.cleveland.com/letters/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/opinion/104582367576880.xml

Standing for choice, reducing need for abortion

02/21/03

Dennis Kucinich
Washington, D.C.

Control of the Congress, the White House, and by power of appointment, the federal judiciary, has occurred at a time when the national Republican Party has pledged to enact legislation that would criminalize abortion. It has committed to an increasingly aggressive campaign. In recognition of this, I have found that the abortion-related legislation being brought to the House floor no longer reflects my position. Last year, I withheld my support from a number of bills.

I don't believe in abortion; few do. I do, however, believe in choice.

I have always believed in the goal of reducing the need for abortions. Throughout my career, I have supported programs with this intent. I have supported social programs, expanded Medicaid coverage, and maternal and child nutrition programs to strengthen vulnerable families. Also, I have stood behind programs that teach sex education, domestic family planning and promote the use of contraception. It was my hope that these efforts would give women the information and support that they would need to make their own reproductive choices.

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is one of the most serious decisions a woman might make. It is deeply personal. In our society, all women and all men have a right to make difficult moral decisions and make personal choices. But women will not be equal to men if this constitutionally protected right is denied.

I believe that women have the right to determine their reproductive choices, and I believe that criminalizing abortion is unconstitutional. Increasingly, the bills that have been brought to the House floor would criminalize or eliminate women's reproductive rights. I have never favored changing the Constitution to criminalize abortion. I do not believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

At this very moment, members of Congress are preparing to dismantle this constitutional protection. I refuse to participate in this effort. The law has the potential to keep abortion legal and safe - or make it more expensive and more dangerous.

This is a moment in history when our country is in need of conciliation, not division. I believe it is possible to stand in defense of the Constitution and, at the same time, strive to reduce the need for abortions. It is my intent to remain committed to working with all parties in this debate.

I support the Constitution, and I support a woman's right to freedom of choice.


>

Posted by: Leo, Jr. at February 23, 2003 12:17 PM

I am a left-wing Christian. And althogh I have always been ambivilant about the abortion issue (while I think it is a sin in the eyes of God, I'm not sure that I want it to be illegal), I have always respected the fact that it appeared the Kucinich had some principles on this issue and that he took a stand against it.

Now, to see him abandon that stand for the sake of political expediency has just lost any support that I had for him. Let me be clear: It is not so much that Kucinich is now "pro-choice." It is that he abandoned what I previously thought was a principled and courageous position on his part, a position that he held in the face of an overwhelmingly opposing view of his own party.

In doing so, Kucinich has just revealed himself to be nothing more than another calculating politician. I was actually thinking of going to work for him as a volunteer . . . even to the point of quitting my job. Now, not only will I not do so for this guy, but he has also lost my vote.

And as for you Nathan, while I respect your view on the whole abortion issue, the fact that you would not support Kucinich based upon this issue alone when in every other way Kucinich has been a progressive to rival and perhaps even outstrip Wellstone, makes me think that your political priorities are very screwed up.

A damned shame.

And it's also a shame that Kucinich flip flopped like this because there are a lot of evangelicals who consistently vote "Republican" based upon the abortion issue alone. Had Kucinich stuck to his guns, he would have had a chance of capturing a lot of the "religious right" voters that are not comforatable with Republican economic priorities.

He fucked up . . . big time.

At this point, I'm going to support Howard Dean. Even though Dean is pro-choice, I am not yet aware of any way that he has fundamentally flip-flopped in order to be more politically palatable.

Once again, Kucinich fucked up.

Sorry Dennis, you blew this love affair before it even began.

Posted by: Phillp Giannika at February 23, 2003 08:40 PM

Pragmatism.

Progressives often wonder how one could support a Democrat who took an anti-abortion stand. Do they wonder as often how one could support a 100% pro-abortion Democrat who was pro-NAFTA? I don't see it. It's somehow all right to take labor for granted but not pro-abortion.

Look, I could support a Democrat who was weak on labor issues but strong on women's issues. I could support a Democrat who was strong on labor issues but weak on women's issues. It's called the big tent. If we get a Democrat who's weak on all issues, might as well vote Green.

Every candidate has a past. Kucinich is trying to make peace within his party. Besides his negatives, he has some unique positives. He's been stalwart against Bush's war. Could he, on his worst day, be anywhere near as bad as Bush?

It's primary time. I don't say you must vote for him. I don't know that I will. But I don't understand anyone who would bolt the party just because he got the nomination.

Posted by: Steve Cohen at February 24, 2003 10:42 PM

GO TO WEBSITE: (deleted because my computer froze when I visited the site)

Posted by: CLEVELAND (OHIO) at March 2, 2003 12:34 PM

Frontpage ran an attack a few days ago, btw.
M.P.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, in his office on Capitol Hill.
The Salon Interview: Dennis Kucinich

The lefty long-shot presidential candidate has found new fans
because of his antiwar stance. He explains his "holistic
candidacy" -- and past pro- life votes -- to Salon.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - -

By Jake Tapper

 

 

March 1, 2003 | Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, enters the
contest for the Democratic presidential nomination with close
to no money or name recognition. But he's been openly,
vociferously, against the war with Iraq, and that's given his
long-shot campaign an early infusion of energy -- one that has
helped him expand his appeal a bit beyond the www.commondreams.org/orderstickers.htm">Common Dreams A>crowd.

 

It is not impossible that in the first-caucus state of Iowa --
where Kucinich kicked off his campaign and where he hopes to
make some inroads -- his views will find some real support. For
these he will no doubt get some stiff competition from
firebrand Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, who also
supports repealing the 2001 Bush tax cuts and prioritizing
health insurance coverage for more Americans, and who opposes
the war against Iraq (though in a far more qualified way).

 

The oldest of seven children, Kucinich first hopped on a
national stage in 1977 when, at age 31, he was elected mayor of
the city of his birth, Cleveland. It would be a short
mayoralty; after Kucinich refused to sell the city's
municipally owned electric system at the urging of the city's
banks, the banks defaulted. In 1979, Kucinich lost his
reelection bid. In 1984, he was elected to the Ohio Senate; in
1996 he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he
chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus and is known for
being an outspoken and reliably liberal voice on every issue
save abortion. He opposes free trade agreements like NAFTA and
has spoken in favor of the formation of a Department of Peace.

 

As his diminutive profile has slowly begun to emerge to the
public, certain key issues have arisen that will likely dog him
-- such as his pro-life positions, and charges of racial
political turf fights in his past. But he insists, in an
interview, that -- his New Age-speak of a "holistic" candidacy
aside - - he knows what he's up against.

 

"I'm not new to this," Kucinich says. "I did not just fall off
the Christmas tree."

 

Kucinich spoke with Salon by telephone:

 

Do you really, truly think you have any chance to win the
Democratic presidential nomination?

 

Yes. Because I'm the only candidate who has a message which
encompasses international politics and domestic politics and
shows the links between the two. I'm the only one. The only one
who has a real economic platform for the United States; it's
fair to say I come from the FDR school of the Democratic Party,
which is a full-employment economy, to work for lower interest
rates, to cancel NAFTA and the WTO, and return to bilateral
trade conditioned on workers rights, human rights, and
environmental principles, guaranteed healthcare for everyone,
guaranteed Social Security.

 

A rival's campaign has brought an April 1972 Cleveland Magazine
thismonth_features.asp?docid=267">article to my attention
in which you are accused of using racial politics. The story
says that after you arrived in the city council in 1967 you
began "playing confrontation politics with the city's black
administration as if [you] had invented the game." Care to
comment?

 

My political career goes back to the '60s and those were times
of vigorous debates. But race was not a factor in those
debates. The debates were on issues, not about race -- there
may have been differences of opinion. But they were never about
race. When I was running for mayor I said that half of my major
appointments would go to members of the African-American
community, and they did. I could cite a long, deep connection
with the African-American community. I have a very strong
constituency in that community. So in the '60s was it possible
that there were some differences of opinion? Yes. But it was
never based on race. Never. Not a chance. Not even the people I
clashed with in major ways would ever say that.

 

You've been in the House since January 1997. How many inroads
have you made toward your presidential goals?

 

First let me tell you what I have done. I have been one of the
leaders in challenging trade policies and globalization. I've
organized members of Congress to beat back a couple attempts at
passing an extension of NAFTA, though we eventually lost that
vote about a year ago. I led the effort to get 114 Democrats to
take a position that America's trade under NAFTA and before the
WTO ought to have conditions on human rights, worker rights and
environmental principles. A letter we sent to President Clinton
on the evening of the WTO talks in Seattle ended up being very
influential and turned that discussion on its head for at least
a time.

 

Is there a reason why little of this was actually successful?

 

We are in a Congress where Republicans have resisted efforts to
provide healthcare for all, where Republicans have helped to
pass trade laws against the interests of our country.

 

But let's say it's January 2005. How would President Kucinich
get any of his agenda passed?

 

The way to do it is obvious. You run a campaign where the
nation becomes so excited with the possibility of change that
you bring in a new Congress as well. Look at FDR in 1932 and
you'll see -- he brought in close to 100 new Democrats. It gave
him a Congress that gave him the ability to get it done.

 

Your speech to the DNC last Saturday was about the war and
about foreign policy.

 

 

Successes on domestic policy have been undermined with our move
towards war, and they will continue to be undermined. Whether
it's
bb20021224.shtml">Lawrence Lindsey, the president's former
chief economic advisor, or
cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=96028">Professor [William]
Nordhaus of Yale, they both talk about the impact of the
war on the economy, and they see the cost of the war as
anywhere from $99 bil to a trillion or more, depending on the
costs of bombing, the costs of occupation, the costs of
reconstruction of Iraq. Two hundred billion dollars was
Lindsey's estimate. In addition to that, we all understood that
the rising cost of oil would have a very damaging effect on the
national economy.

 

I led the effort in the House of Representatives; I organized
126 Democrats to challenge the administration's policy. And
this is not only about Iraq. The White House relies on
preemption and unilateralism, and in this complex world that
can only mean more danger to United States.

 

You've had to answer lately some questions about what seems
like a shift in your position on abortion, which some have
accused you of doing for political expedience, so allow me to
ask some as well. In 1996 you ran for Congress as a pro- life
candidate --

 

Wait, wait, wait. When you say I ran as a pro-life candidate,
that implies that I ran on that as a campaign theme.

 

Well, when you first ran for Congress you said that you
believed that life begins at conception, and in the past you've
been pro-life.

 

I've had a five-year voting record, that's right. Like
everything I deal with, I took a lot of time to think about
this issue. This is a very complex issue. When I've been faced
with it for voting purposes, there are a couple things I
brought to it. First off, I never favored a constitutional
amendment to criminalize abortion or to overturn Roe v. Wade.
It's important to understand that from the beginning.

 

But there are a whole range of positions that come into this
discussion, so in my voting record that you're talking about,
from the second part of the last Congress, it came out that
I've been giving thought to this issue over the years. There
were some issues that came up in the second part of the last
Congress that started me to kind of express my concerns about
the way the issue was headed.

 

Specifically you're referring to a May 2002 amendment by Rep.
Loretta Sanchez [D-Calif.], which would have allowed for
federal funding of abortions in overseas U.S. military bases.
In September 2001 you voted against allowing such funding, but
in May 2002 you voted for it.

 

That was an issue when the woman was paying for it, and the
question was as to whether or not that woman was going to have
the right to obtain an abortion using her own funds in a
military health facility. I voted for the Sanchez amendment to
allow women in the military to use their own funds to pay for
that.

 

And despite having a generally pro-life voting record, you
support Roe v. Wade?

 

 

Yes; I've never been for overturning it. In fact, I had an
opponent in 1998, Joe Slovenec, who was from Operation Rescue,
and one of things he was pressing for in the campaign was a
constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. And I've
never been for that.

 

I know that my voting record indicates very clearly that over a
five-year period I have voted in ways that have been supportive
of those who have worked to make sure that quality of life is
affirmed. And there have been some cases in which those votes
can be construed to be part of the polarity that this country's
in. But expanding one's view is beyond changing one's mind.

 

Well, can you explain to me precisely what that view is?

 

I support a woman's right to choose, which is guaranteed by the
Constitution. And on the other hand, I want to work to create
alternatives to abortion. And I think it's possible to do both.
Most Americans would like a leader to be elected who steps out
of the polarity and tries to reconcile people and recognize
that people may hold viewpoints that seem diametrically opposed.

 

In 1996 when you won your congressional seat, you declared, "I
believe that life begins at conception." Have you changed your
mind on that?

 

No, no. Not at all. That's what I think. But we live in a
pluralistic society and there are many different spiritual
beliefs in this Congress.

 

If I were a pro-choice Democrat how could I trust you?

 

I think what I've been able to demonstrate to people is they
see someone who wants to lead this nation, someone who has the
capacity for growth and the ability to look at complex and even
divisive issues anew, and that I've done that.

 

Let me ask you about another apparent inconsistency. On "Meet
the Press," in arguing against the war, you argued that the
way to remove Saddam Hussein from power "is continue to use
sanctions which thwart his efforts to grow." But in the
Progressive magazine last November, you wrote, "The time has
come for us to end the sanctions against Iraq, because those
sanctions punish the people of Iraq for having Saddam Hussein
as their leader. These sanctions have been instrumental in
causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children." How
do you reconcile those two statements?

 

I probably should have used a modifier on "Meet the Press." I
should have said smart sanctions. I would oppose some sanctions
-- no military equipment, nothing for the nuclear industry;
most people would agree with that. But I wouldn't want
sanctions on dialysis equipment, on surgical instruments, on
oxygen tents, on water-purification chemicals. I wouldn't want
sanctions on nasal gastric tubes or on any kind of medical
supplies or anything of use to the water.

 

Are there any conditions under which you would support military
action against anyone?

 

There are two conditions. After an attack on our country or an
imminent threat backed by incontrovertible evidence. Those
would be my foundations of principle. But no such evidence
exists in case of Iraq, and Iraq has not attacked our country.

 

You know, the day after attack there was a National Security
Council meeting and, according to Bob Woodward in "Bush at
War," in that meeting you had [Defense Secretary Donald]
Rumsfeld saying, 'Let's go after Iraq.' That's on page 49 of
his book. Check it out if you haven't read it already.

 

So this plan to go after Iraq has been on the boards for a long
time.

 

But would those rules, those "foundations of principle," have
permitted the U.S. to take action to stop the Nazis before
Pearl Harbor? It would seem that President Kucinich wouldn't
think we should take any action.

 

You're taking about a condition before the advent of the United
Nations. Now that we live in a world where there's a structure
and a United Nations charter, Hitler's activities would have
been the subject of a Security Council action and the world
community could have responded.

 

But it sure seems like the United Nations has a fairly high
tolerance for genocide. Didn't the U.N. sit back during the
reigns of terror in the Balkans, in Rwanda?

 

There have been, yes, and I think that an American president
can set a standard for engagement throughout the world
community. But I don't think it serves the purpose of this
country to conduct its affairs unilaterally. And I don't think
serves the interests of this country to have a unipolar
worldview.

 

You continue to emphasize the United Nations as this beacon of
hope and goodness. But there are serious substantive reasons to
look askance at the U.N. Libya, Syria and the Sudan -- where
there is still slavery -- have been given seats on the U.N.
Human Rights Commission.

 

Well, then, let's look at the United States. The United States
made an alliance with Saddam Hussein. We sold him biological
and chemical weapons agents and then did not object when he
gassed his own people. What kind of a president would I be? I'd
be the kind of president to reassert America's moral authority
by withdrawing this doctrine of unilateralism and of preemption
and of first strike, and by working with the world community on
matters of global security wherever those matters rear up. The
United States, through working with other nations, can address
these issues, but we shouldn't be expected to be the policeman
of the world. And we -- if we want to retain any moral
authority, we have to look at the consequences of our actions.

 

So what would President Kucinich do to stop, say, Milosevic's
genocide in the Balkans?

 

I would go directly to the United Nations and develop a new
level of involvement and accountability. We have to get the
world community to function as a world community. And the U.S.
cannot do that if we're coming from a position of unilateralism.

 

You and other opponents of the war keep saying "unilateralism."
But President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have
spent a great deal of time lobbying other nations to get their
support, and while ultimately we may or may not get the sign-
off of the U.N. Security Council or NATO, if military action
begins we will be doing it with many other nations. The prime
ministers of Denmark, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland,
Portugal and Spain, and the president of the Czech Republic,
all published a statement of support for a war against Iraq.
We'll get help from Turkey and Jordan. It's anticipated that
U.S. soldiers will fight alongside those from Australia,
Britain, Poland, Spain --

 

But au contraire! You have to look at how the United States is
using its leverage to get this coalition together. You're
proving my point. Let me show you how. If the United States is
capable of putting together a coalition to attack Iraq without
having proven its case, then look at what the U.S. could do
with its leverage. The Institute for Policy Studies put out
this study, called
">"Coalition of the Willing or Coalition of the Coerced?"
which has a section called "Levers of U.S. Power." And it
details how the United States uses its military leverage, its
political leverage, and uses it across the spectrum to build
this coalition.

 

As the most powerful nation in the world, we're in position
where we can lead the world to peace, as it wants to be led,
or to war as we're doing. The U.S. government has to regain its
moral authority by pursuing the interests of all nations, not
just one nation.

 

I could cite to you NSAEBB/NSAEBB39/document2.pdf">National Security Directive
45, which is one of those seminal directives that need to
be looked at when you're deciding what we're doing in the Gulf.
And it states: "U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf are vital to
the national security. These interests include access to oil
and the security and stability of key friendly states in the
region."

 

That comes from the last Gulf War. And some of those same
policy themes are working their way through on this one. Is
there anybody in the world who thinks we're going to war
against Iraq for altruistic reasons?

 

I would imagine that of all the presidents we've had, you
probably would most emulate Jimmy Carter. Nonetheless, it was
during Carter's administration when Iran seized our hostages
and held them for 444 days. For all his idealism, it did
nothing to end the fact that there are a lot of people out
there who for ideological and other reasons are dead-set on
doing us harm.

 

But the war on Iraq will only make us more vulnerable. The FBI
admitted that in Sunday's New York Times, that if we go to war
we'll be more vulnerable to attack by lone-wolf terrorists. And
once we endorse preemption and unilateralism, what's to stop
China from going after Taiwan, or Russia from going back into
Chechnya? Or on first strike, what's to stop either India or
Pakistan from doing the same over Kashmir? We have to be
careful specifically because the world is so complex.

 

You know, I started my career in politics in 1967. I'm not new
to this. I did not just fall off the Christmas tree. I
understand the world is complex. I know that there are people
out there who want to hurt other people.

 

But the only path to the future is for the United States to
cooperate internationally with as many nations as it can. If we
go at it alone, we will be stuck alone. My philosophy comes
from a worldview that looks at the world as one. It's a
holistic view that sees the world as interconnected and
interdependent and integrated in so many different ways, which
informs my politics. I think this world's ready, and I think
the country's there.

 

 

 

- - - - - - - - - - - -

 

About the writer

Jake Tapper is national correspondent for Salon.

 

Posted by: Michael Pugliese at March 4, 2003 02:04 PM

URL:http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=6404 >

From:
"Max B. Sawicky"
To:

Subject:
RE: attack on Kucinich
Date:
Fri, 28 Feb 2003 09:07:09 -0500


If this is the best they can do, we're in good shape.


 


max


 


 


Posted by: Michael Pugliese at March 4, 2003 02:07 PM

WWW.KUCINICH.COM

GIVE IT A FEW SECONDS TO OPEN

Posted by: CLEVELAND (OH) at April 5, 2003 05:31 PM

Kucinich prevented the privatization of Cleveland's power generation. That is the alleged black mark on his record. He prevented what California has suffered, and is still suffering ($75 Billion down the drain). If standing up to corporate predators is a "bad" thing in your world view, you need some more facts.

Posted by: anon at August 15, 2003 03:27 AM

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