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Is Tuesday looking so bad that even Dennis Kucinich is an endangered species?

Democrat Ohio representative Dennis Kucinich with president Barack Obama deplaning Air Force One on a campaign trip to Cleveland in 2010

Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is a tough little guy who has bounced up and back from numerous family and political adversities in his 64 years.

He's lived in the family car; shined shoes; been a court clerk, a young Cleveland city councilman, a victorious, obstreperous big-city mayor, a defeated, obstreperous big-city mayor; and, since the Clinton landslide of 1996, an obstreperous House member from Ohio's 10th congressional district.

But for how long?

Now seeking his eighth term, the liberal Kucinich is up against a competitive Republican opponent this time (Peter Corrigan, an area businessman) in a depressed city in a depressed state in a depressing year for Democrats.

You may have read a little something here or there about how bad election day is supposed to be for President Obama's party, even in Ohio, which Obama won, 51% to 47%, in 2008 after losing the primary there to Hillary Clinton, 53% to 45%.

Obama hasn't visited Ohio as often as he golfs. But he's been there enough to know that the continuing high unemployment rate (10%) in the crucial battleground state is helping to....

...hold virtually all Democrats behind in statewide races there, including governor (incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland vs Republican ex-Rep. John Kasich , who's had numerous GOP heavyweights pitch in including Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour) and senator (the GOP's ex-Rep. Rob Portman, who's dominating Lieut. Gov. Lee Fisher for George Voinivich's open seat). (As for Ohio's import, Republicans have not won the presidency without the state in 102 years.)

Obama will return to Cleveland yet again this Sunday as part of his last-minute rhetorical carpet-bombing. See, "Why is nobody listening to Obama?" But he probably won't repeat the mistake he made on "The Daily Show." The Democrat paid a sincere compliment to his economic team. But even that sympathetic audience laughed.Democrat president Barack Obama explains a point to comedian Jon Stewart on the Daily Show 10-27-10

(Severe Weather Alert: If the GOP's election successes trickle down to state legislative races in the Buckeye state and elsewhere, Republicans will be drawing the new legislative districts from the 2010 Census that will shape political representation nationally for the next decade.)

Now, it seems even Kucinich's once-safe local House seat could be among the projected 50-or-60 changing political posteriors when the next Congress convenes come January, making Nancy Pelosi a new former House speaker and turning Ohioan John Boehner into a new former non-Speaker.

A private poll reported earlier this month by the Weekly Standard's William Kristol indicated that  Kucinich held only a 4-point lead in a district that he used to own with winning percentages in the 70s. Then, RealClearPolitcs' Sean Trende waded in with his expert outlook. Even in Obama's big year of 2008, Kucinich's support waned to 57%.

With Kucinich's preposterous past presidential runs, his proposal for a federal Department of Peace, the non-recovery Recovery Summer and his sidling up to Obama to vote on healthcare may come back to haunt him now as seeming silliness in the face of real economic issues pressing in on Cleveland's West Side families.

Now that the 2010 midterm campaign is nearly over, everyone is trying to collect last-minute money, Barack and Michelle and Joe, even John McCain, who doesn't need it to ensure another Senate term. Kucinich's Thursday money plea seemed particularly plaintive: "Why You May Want to Contribute Now."

"I cannot take this election for granted," Kucinich said. "We need immediate help to raise the funds to spend for last-minute media buys to make sure there is no question about the outcome. Please send a contribution."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press (Obama takes Kucinich on an Air Force One ride early this year); Charles Dharapak / Associated Press (Obama on the Daily Show, 10-27-10).

Comments () | Archives (31)

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Was this beamed in from an alternate reality? 538 shows a 99% likelihood of Kucinich re-election, and that's not even dipping to the high of the "70s" you reference. His little parcel of the state is the one oasis of intelligence in an otherwise barren wasteland. It isn't going GOP anytime soon.

And seriously, citing a private poll by William Kristol is like saying Newt Gingrich asked a few friends around the pickle barrel down at the general store and reporting it as certainty.

Dear Rep. Dennis Kucinich,

I'll have to pass on contributing to your campaign. There are more important and pressing needs at this moment, like housing, power, food and clothing for my family.

Kucinich has been a bad joke in Cleveland since the 1970's. He has done virtually nothing for the City except to litteraly drive it into bankruptcy. He has done nothing as a Congressman except show up with a few signs on the day that some local business is closing to get on TV.

He's a kook and a loser.

I heard a Corrigan ad on the radio - tag line "Keep America, Change Congress" Fitting

Here is my prediction: Dennis is such a doofus that, if he loses, he and his wife will separate before 7/1/11.

This is the Hope & Change that I've been waiting for.

We have to all fight back to not let the GOP divide and conquer. They truly have a very fascist agenda, and too many Americans are just too stupid and too busy and too misinformed to look at the facts. I guess that a GOP governor would do everything to split up Kucinich's district. You can bet they will do everything to make Ohio's districts as divided as possible. It is so sad that average ordinary Americans making below average incomes, will consider voting for these political nobody's from the GOP who have lots of cash and are being funded by big corporations.

When will this country ever come to their senses and when will we stop fighting progress? Corporate American greed, the Christian right and the tea party want to destroy the American middle class, and we must fight back. Kucinich Rocks!!!!! Keep up the good work and keep fighting for us!!!!

I live in the district and expect Corrigan to be within striking distance, though Kucinich is still likely to win. Still, the level of disdain many Cleveland west-siders have for Kucinich is palpable. More than ever he is leaning on his support from populus Lakewood, Parma, and part of Cleveland. And I'm not sure he is even trying in many of the other suburbs where Corrigan signs seem to be everywhere. 10+ years of Kucinich has split the district.

Fear not citizens of Gotham. We of the Ohio 10th Congressional District are true believers in the Obama Administration and our champion of the left Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

The Republican-Tea Party nonsensical plans for spending cuts combined with tax cuts for the wealthy holds no currency here.

They wish to criminalize doctors. They wish to perpetuate the oppression of gay citizens. They would have us believe that those who drove us into the economic ditch should now hold the keys.

No sir, this shall not stand in the Ohio 10th Congressional District.

Kucinich is through!

Barack Obama has done more to discredit Keynesian economic theory than anything else in the past 75 years. One myth that need busting is that FDR's policies didn't get the US out of the great depression, WWII did. A recent Harvard study has shown that government spending doesn't create jobs, it does the reverse and eliminates them instead. The economic's prof's were shocked at their results and nearly didn't publish them because it discredits their ideologically based economic models.

Now, Mr. Obama's economic agenda has put this country on the edge of depression, rather than saving us from one. Because within 10 years, if we don't put the brakes on spending, we will literally be funding the economic expansion of Communist China. As it is, the interest we pay on the debt they hold completely funds their military expansion.

Rich Vail,
Pikesville, MD

Maybe thinking Ohioans will vote for the businessman this time--someone who REALLY understands what it means to hire people, make a profit from selling a product or service, and struggle to pay taxes that destroy the company's ability to hire more people and grow. Truman once said: "The business of America IS business". Why? Because we all buy our stuff from some business, and the vast majority of new jobs are created by small businesses. Let's get these crazy Democrats off the backs of small business so Americans can get back to work and prosper again! Those looking for a free handout need not apply!

This guys a crackpot.....its going to be an interesting election cycle.....

Kucinich BANKRUPTED Cleveland as mayor, he's now doing the same in congress to America! This weasel is a scumbag and one of the reasons so many have left the Cleveland area, I for one have experienced his inept and leftist tendencies all too well!

Dennis Kucinich has outlived his usefulness, whatever that may have been. Misguided, utopian policies like his (and those of Barbara Boxer and Gov. Moonbeam) are what has expanded both the federal government and state governments into far too many areas beyond their competence and funding abilities. I contributed to Peter Corrigan because I HOPE for CHANGE, in Ohio as well as in California.

May Kucinich's posterior receive the thousands of kicks he has so valiantly
earned through years of unequaled incompetence.

Anyone who keeps spouting off buzzphrases about Kucinich bankrupting Cleveland should really check their facts. You want to know who really bankrupted Cleveland? The BANKS!! Kucinich was being pressured by the banks to allow the sale of Muny Light (publicly owned electric company) to private interests to go through. The mafia had stakes in the transaction.

He didn't allow the transaction to go through for the affect that it would have had on Cleveland residents and the fact that it would have no regulation by the city. It became such a problem for the private interests that were to benefit from the deal that the mafia got involved and a hit was put on Dennis. Dennis' refusal to sell Muny Light prompted the banks to decide to default the city's loans in retaliation. If you really look into the finer details he's a hero and he saved the city's people at the expense of his career.

Here's a video worth watching about it:

Also google "plot to assasinate dennis kucinich" if you wanna read about the mafia's hit on him

Thanks for highlighting Dennis Kucinich, one of our all-time best legislators and the most forthright and principled politician in the U.S. I hope it helps get him re-elected.

But calling his run for President "preposterous" and a Peace Department "silliness" is itself stupid, and insulting to the American people, who oppose the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and who also, by numerous polls endorse many policies that Kucinich has championed, including the public option for health care.

If Kucinich's proposals were actually implemented, we wouldn't be throwing away over $700 billion a year on an over-inflated "defense" department, or shooting ourselves in the foot in a losing war in Afghanistan, and continuing to prop up a brutal and corrupt government in Iraq and many other countries. We would have a fiscally sound health care system that would cover 100% of our citizens.

The only preposterous thing in your article is that you consider those things preposterous; perhaps a better word would be outrageous, but in the end the right assessment is that it's tragic that that kind of attitude is considered mainstream.

Actually the headline should read "Is Tuesday looking so GOOD that even Dennis Kucinich is an endangered species?" Certainly makes a lot more sense.

The Republicans are fascists?
Dave Farley
You should do your research before you accuse Republicans of having a fascist agenda. Kucinich is the Vice Chair for DSA. He outranks Bernie Sanders!! They bill themselves as the heir to the defunct Socialist Party of America(no typo SOCIALIST PARTY). Its chief organizing objective is to work within the Democratic Party as the primary, but not sole, method of achieving public ownership of private property and the means of production.
Public Ownership of Private Property AND the Means of Production (aka Socialism). Read it and weep - if you listen to him you would have already known this. It amazes me that you would call anyone a fascist while talking about Kucinich!
I prefer a Republic and wished guys like Kucinich felt the same way. Oh well - so much for the Republicans being the fascists.

I guess that a GOP governor would do everything to split up Kucinich's district. You can bet they will do everything to make Ohio's districts as divided as possible.

If the people vote for another socialist democrat, then they deserve the high unemployment, high taxes, high crime and low opportunities for their children. It's clear the real enemy of America and the Constitution is the democrat party and those who belong to it and support it.

Kucinich IS an endangered species, but that's nothing new. He's in a small minority in Congress who fights continuously for people over profits. Mr. Malcolm describes Kucinich's presidential runs as “preposterous.” What's preposterous is that anyone could blame Kucinich for our country's economic mess! Kucinich has fought, in Congress and as a presidential candidate, for a WPA and Works Green Program to create jobs. He's fought consistently to end trade policies that send our jobs out of the country. Kucinich was the only presidential candidate pushing for these, for a sane energy policy, and for health care reform that would cover EVERY American and LOWER health care costs. Does Mr. Malcolm realize how many billions of dollars a Dept. of Peace would save our country, using a tiny percentage currently spent on “defense”? Kucinich voted against the Iraq invasion which has cost our country dearly in lives and economic well-being. When people say “Clean house in Congress” I say, “Yes, but leave Dennis Kucinich.” He represents “We, the people,” not the big money interests running our country into the ground. And Kucinich was elected State Senator when Cleveland realized the good he did as mayor.

While disagree with Dennis on many philosophical points, he's an honest man that has the best intererests of the country in his heart...To replace him with another non-liberty republican would surely be a waste...After Ron Paul, for me it's always DK...I'll take an honest socialist before a dishonest neo con any day.

RustyBuick - I don't want a neo con either. I do NOT want a socialist! When someone has the philosophy that they know what is best then they can no longer serve the purpose of truly representing their constituents.
They are real talented when it comes to presenting packages though. The problems is what is hidden under the hood that they don't tell us. I don't like being taken for stupid.
Last week Obama was asked about the increased costs premium costs associated with Health Care - his response, "I told everyone it would cost more"!!
Did I miss something? Was he lying or am I deaf? He got what he wanted so he can say whatever he wants now - we can't change our insurance company. I don't like being told to sit down and shut up but since they are the only player in the game I guess I have no choice - ehhh?
Try this one - empty your bank account and spend whatever you took from it(you will have to write checks like the government does). After all the checks clear put the money back in your account and spend it again - see if it works.
That is what they did to get the bill passed - they took 1/2 trillion from Medicare - applied it to the health care plan and still use it in Medicare. If you or I do that we go to jail for committing fraud but politicians can do it to further their social cause.
If you recall Dennis wouldn't vote for the bill until he got his ride on Air Force One. At least he was reasonable. 10 or 15 Nebraska kick backs would have broke us.
Tell me what business or program the government has run for a period of ten years or longer that runs within its budget or make a profit.
Postal Service - 1.5 billion annual losses - UPS & FED EX both profitable
Penn Central was taken over by the government in the early 70's
AMTRAK and Conrail were formed and run by the government
Contrail went private in 1981 - paid off all debt over a period of years to
the government. Current results
AMTRAK - 1.5 billion annual losses
Conrail - profitable
Social Security - with a ratio of 2 (baby boomers) paying in for each recipient where are we - Broke (the government used the money in the general budget) now we are proceeding to shift to more recipients than contributors.
Medicare - billions paid in fraudulent claims and Broke
Average government salary $70,000.
Average Private Sector salary $40,000
So NOW the government is going to instantly do a 180 degree turnaround?
If you or I lost huge sums of money in our jobs I seriously doubt that we would walk into our boss and ask for a raise AND ask for him to put us in charge of even more money! That is exactly what we are doing.
It doesn't take 2,700 pages to write a bill that provides Health Care that covers dependents up to the age of 26, covers preexisting conditions and remove caps.
Don't worry about the public option - you are going to get it faster than you think if the bill is ruled to be constitutional. Companies are waiting in line to dump their insurance and pay the penalties. That is exactly what they knew would happen when they wrote the bill.
The thought that everyone is going to be covered is a fantasy - they have never said that and they never will. I don't how people came up with that thought.
I agree with defense budget cuts but don't even think we can spend it on anything else. The US is currently on a "teaser" rate for our debt. If the interest rate goes up on our debt by 3 - 4% it will increase our interest payments by almost the entire defense budget.
The "trillion" gets thrown around so much now I don't think anyone even realizes how huge it is.
1 million seconds = 11 days
1 billion seconds = 30+ years
1 trillion seconds = 96,000 years!!
So let them keep on passing out the goodies - we won't be deciding when they end. They will end when China tells us we have reached our credit limit.

It is sad to see how everyone is in such a rush to jump on board as Socialists. Once their standard of living drops below anything they ever imagined possible they might think differently.
Socialists come here because they love our system - people here want to become socialists.
I wished the people that want a socialists society would move to a country that has it and try it out for a year. I think they would enjoy coming back.

Such calculated disdain, Mr. Malcolm, for your fellow citizens; for a country trying to claw its way out of 1925 with the new GOP-gorilla on its back.

So you're unhappy. Get over it rather than crowing about how much bad you're going to visit on the Democrats after you win by a landslide. Give us a better big one won't you?As it stands, JDSc has already taken it to heart, though I think he's got the wrong man. I've given Dennis Kucinich an earful one or two times, but not for creating JDSc's suggested homelessness, lack of electricity, food and clothing for his family. Perhaps Kucinich should have supplied the patented pander answer of our current crop of Republican candidates: " We love you like brothers. It's those socialist , Hussein-lovin, money-stealin, American dream-killlin, sex-sellin, God-hatin, left-leanin Democrats who have betrayed you! Why? Cause some anonymous and impeccable snitch, or wingnut told me so, though it might have been R.Lmbgh, S. Hnnity. M. Svg., S. Pln. C.Krmmr, or my best friend, dumb as a post- joe. I'm really not sure, but trust me anyway." I seriously doubt D. K. would have fibbed so brazenly. No, I jerked his chain for failing to support his President ( not quite progressive enough for the K.)on health care until it was near too late.

On Corrigan's ad,most appropriate translation: "Destroy America, change Congress."

Tex Ed. Just which doofus are you?

Mike - bash me as much as you like - I voted Dems in the last election - I am overwhelmed with disappointment but for consolation I just remind myself of how much I despise what McCain really stands for.
I don't consider either side as the answer - as a matter of fact the best times usually come when control is split between Dems and Repugs, I am hoping that is what we have after the elections. Doing nothing is better than spending us into the abyss.
I do get angry when politicians take us for stupid and rewrite history with lies. I did research to find the cause of the disaster we are in - both parties were complicit but the undisputed consensus is that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were front and center through the housing meltdown. Frank blocked regulating Fannie and Freddie from 2003 until the meltdown occurred. Bush decided to give away things we couldn't afford and on we go into "prosperity"
Parties were created to play "good cop bad cop" so they can divide and conquer. It works to perfection :-)

If you're on any federal unemployment, you better pray the Dems keep control. If not, millions of Americans are going to be kicked off the federal extensions by December.

I wish there were more senators with the qualities, principles and integrity like those of Dennis Kucinich. He was for single payor; he voted against the Patriot Act and wanted to nullify it. He is for worker's rights, and wanted to rebuild those rights to protect our democracy. He is for sustainable energy sources, wind, water, solar. Unlike most of our representatives, he actually reads the bills and researches them, he doesn't just fall into line. He did not give away the power of his position (release of congressional powers), he voted against invasion of Iraq. Our country would be in a much better fiscal situation if there were more congressmen and women who actually took their oath of office in the service of the people not the monied few. He is a man of truth and would have made a wonderful President.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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