Friday, January 4, 2008

Looking for My Candidate: Dennis Kucinich

MSNBC just issued an apology for saying, in error, that Mike Gravel had withdrawn from the Presidential campaign. I'd had it from two sources, but the other source was likely watching Keith Olbermann too.

I'd planned on doing John McCain next, but current news changed my mind.

Dennis Kucinich Barred from Texas Primary Ballot

Specifically, Kucinich refused to sign a loyalty oath to support the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she is. He tried to rewrite the oath to say he'd support the nominee provided that nominee were opposed to the war on Iraq. In other words, he won't support Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war in Iraq and who refuses to commit to withdrawing any troops at all should she be elected.

Kucinich is suing to get on the ballot; the court date is January 11. The timing will be very tight; the party chairs have to submit their slates of candidates to the Texas Secretary of State by January 6 (probably Jan. 7 this year, since the 6th falls on a Sunday). The SoS must then certify the ballots- ballot order, format, etc.- within about two weeks of that deadline, so that the counties can print ballots or set up machines by February 2. The primary itself is March 2, with early voting for the two full calendar weeks before then. Since Federal courts have ruled that political parties can control who is or isn't in their primaries on several occasions before, Kucinich has a steep uphill climb to get on the ballot here- and he has to do it first try, since there won't be time for appeals.

With this in mind, and since I admire Kucinich for his steadfast anti-war, pro-impeachment stands, I'm going to go ahead and score him today instead... while there's time.

Again, going by these standards:

WAR
: Out of Iraq, now, completely. No war in Iran or Sudan. Would end War on Terror, replace it with program to end global poverty. Would cut military budget, end all research into new military technologies, especially missile defense. 50%.

SEPARATION OF POWERS:
Demands end to imperial presidency. Wants to end government secrecy. Wants Congressional oversight of executive branch, especially Justice Dept. 75%.

HEALTHCARE:
Supports socialized medicine- no profit allowed, one payer, total government control. Derides tort reform as unimportant. 0%.

TAXATION AND BUDGET:
Would raise rates across the board, although would compensate households under $80,000/yr. with tax refunds and credits. Vast expansions in spending for a new War on Poverty, universal socialized medicine, universal socialized university education, revival of the Public Works Administration. Would make corporate taxes equal to other income taxes. 10%.

CIVIL LIBERTIES:
Opposes USA-PATRIOT. Opposes torture, Guantanamo. Supports amendment to ban flag-burning, ban on private spending for political speech in favor of government-run election financing. Calls for repeal of Military Commissions Act and restoration of habeas corpus. 50%.

IMPEACHMENT:
Leads the fight, such as it is. 100%.

IMMIGRATION:
Favors amnesty, simplification of immigration laws. Opposes militarization of Border Patrol and INS. 100%.

TRADE:
Opposes GATT, WTO, NAFTA. Defines "fair trade" to mandate high wages, environmental concern. No particular brief with China. 50%.

ENERGY:
Opposes all nuclear power. Opposes any and all expansion of oil drilling, refinining. Supports alternative energy, but also supports subsidized corn-based ethanol and biodiesel. Supports fuel efficiency standards for cars utterly unattainable with oil-based technologies (45 MPG minimum cars, 37.5 MPG for trucks and SUVs); therefore, presumably, supports electric, fuel-cell and hydrogen vehicles. 15%.

ENVIRONMENT:
Supports Kyoto, unattainable emissions reductions. Wants to make America vegan, or at the least make all American meat products free-range, regardless of the production losses this would entail. Wants to make all water, even bottled water, public domain and not susceptible to ownership or private exploitation. 0%.

TORT REFORM:
Opposes. 0%.

AVERAGE SCORE: 40.9%


VOTE KILLERS:

GUN CONTROL: Supports full civil liability for manufacturers whose guns are used in crimes, by supporting the "assault weapons" ban, and by wanting to essentially outlaw the sale or transfer of weapons between private citizens. Supports requiring a license before any person may own a gun for any reason. Sorry, Dennis, I can't support you after all.

RANKINGS TO DATE

Candidates in italics are not in consideration due to vote-killer positions.

Dennis Kucinich - 40.9%
Ron Paul - 28.2%
Mike Huckabee - 16.9%
Duncan Hunter - 11.8%
Fred Thompson - 11.1%

Next time: Rudy Giuliani, who recently said he'd like a man like Dick Cheney to be his vice-presidential running mate...

2 comments:

Celine said...

I don't understand why you're so hung up about tort reform. It's mostly corporate-speak for "screw the little guy by removing any ability to hold us accountable for our fuckups."

Kris Overstreet said...

I read it more as either, "Destroy your enemy by suing them into oblivion, even if you have no grounds," or, "Make a few lawyers immensely rich by getting jurors to follow emotion rather than fact, thus creating a massive extortion racket and driving entire industries out of business."

Even if you hold to the most idealistic view of the situation, the civil courts are being used as substitutes for the legislative process and the criminal courts- something they were never intended to do.

Civil courts were meant to settle disputes between two contracting parties. They were never intended to be a means of punishing wrongdoers. As such, they lack the safeguards for the accused that criminal courts have. There's no "beyond reasonable doubt" standard, no "innocent until proven guilty" standard, not even a clear standard on what is and is not a wrong.

If Kucinich had his way, gun manufacturing in the USA would cease... because gun manufacturers would be sued out of existence. If Duncan Hunter had his way, pornographers like myself, publishers who published anti-Christian books, etc. would vanish not because we were outlawed, but because we would lose everything to lawsuits.

This state of affairs has been growing for the past fifty years. It has created a system where the only people not terrified of a lawsuit are those with the money to lawyer up and brush them off...

... that is, the very same corporate fat cats you think (erroneously) are afraid of the courts.

The wealthy know they can buy off most plaintiffs and bankrupt the rest through clever and expensive lawyering. They like the current system just fine- it often serves as a weapon to crush competition and enforce obedience within the ranks.

For the rest of us, though, the system is badly broken- and only getting worse.