Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why Can't Kucinich Catch On?

On the two key issues for 2008, Denis Kucinich seems to be in tune with Democratic voters. He wants to get us out of Iraq, and he favors a single-payer not-for-profit health care plan.

But his campaign is stuck in the second tier of candidates in single digits. Why? Is he too short? Is his name too hard to pronounce and spell? Does he make voters uneasy by unconventional moves such as his recent visit to Syria? Do they tune out because his solemn air makes them uncomfortable?

Amid all the talk about a woman or African-American in the White House, there seems to be a resistance to taking Kucinich seriously because, in some way, he is not stereotypically presidential--too ethnic, too working-class, too head-on in confronting issues without softening the edges.

He voted against the Iraq war and, in 2004, paid his dues by earning double-digit percentages of the vote in the Maine, Minnesota, Hawaii and Oregon primaries. But this time, he comes off as a “tweener,” not as slick as John Edwards or eccentric enough like Mike Gravel to show up on a Bill Maher panel.

If we were living in a Frank Capra movie, he might have a chance. Growing up so poor that his family was often homeless, fighting his way up in Cleveland politics and slipping back so far that in 1982 he reported $38 on his tax return, coming back to win a seat in Congress and the heart of a beautiful, idealistic young woman, Dennis Kucinich is an exemplar of what used to be the American Dream.

But these days, Frank Capra movies seem to be appropriate only for Christmas, not Election Day.


Mike said...

You hit the nail on the head right at the beginning of this post. I suspect you knew that all along, though.
Simply put, Kucinich couldn't win the Dem nomination, let alone the presidency, because too many shallow TV-nurtured voters won't take him seriously. They won't take him seriously because he's too short and they don't like his voice and he's not handsome enough. They won't even listen to him long enough to assess his ideas.
How very sad.

NA Patriot said...

Just as an fyi...we moved past the term "afro-american" about 20 years ago. As your point, it's clear that he is just plain not macho enough. He is the kid that got picked on in the playground. We NEVER elect that kid.

Swampcracker said...

Perhaps another point. Four years ago during the last run-up to the primaries, he seemed more of a fringe candidate, like the current Mr. Gavin, an image he never entirely cast off.

Too bad. He certainly has developed as a candidate, with wit and rhetorical zings to outmatch any in the field. But can he manage big government and take on the wingers without being ridiculed into the ground ... that is the question?

Swampcracker said...

correction: Gavin should be Gravel (flush with apologies)

Superdestroyer said...

Maybe it is because Kucinich is a loon. He confuses the job of the President with that of Congress and he serves in Congress. His economic proposals are insane. He basically wants to eliminate taxes on those making less than $50K along with a massive expansion of entitlement programs, a destruction of the college system, and an enormous government make work program.

In the U.S. that Kucinich images, you can not try in school but still get college paid for and even if you are illiterate, the government will give you a good job. How does he think the economy will function when anyone who wants a government job can get one and that job pays better than entry level in the U.S.? Why will anyone work hard if virtually everything they make from additional schooling, long term planning, and self0discipline is lost to very high taxes?

Swampcracker said...

Superdestroyer, considering the Shock Doctrine (and you should read what Klein has to say on the subject), any progressive change, including Kucinich, would be a step in the right direction.