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Opednews Exclusive: The Kucinich Vision: From Cleveland to the Future of America

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The stumbling block had become a stepping stone. In 1994, Kucinich won a seat in the Ohio State Senate, and in 1996 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In February, 2002, Rep. Kucinich passionately delivered his Prayer for America to a cheering group of over a thousand members of the Americans for Democratic Action, at USC in Los Angeles. It catapulted him squarely into a campaign for president.

Then Kucinich was the surprise hit of the first cyberspace primary in history. It was organized by which, in 2003, was just beginning to demonstrate the internet's potential as a tool for grassroots political action. Their reported membership at the time was over 1.5 million people, more than the entire populations of a dozen different states in the U.S.

Speaking out against the occupation of Iraq at the '04 DNC by wiki

Over 317,000 voters participated in the MoveOn primary on June 24-25, 2003, a number greater than the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucus combined.

Given Kucinich's late start in the race, limited resources, and conspicuous lack of media attention, he was expected to bring up a place in the rear. But he finished second, with 76,000 votes, 24% of the total. Howard Dean won with 44%. John Kerry captured only 16% of the votes. None of the other six candidates made it to the double digits.

Kucinich has consistently received more votes per campaign dollar spent than any other candidate. But in curious "math-from-hell" inverse proportion, he has also been the recipient of the most frequent black-out tactics. MoveOn all but ignored their 2nd place winner. In the 2004 Democratic Caucus in Hawaii, Kucinich also came in a very strong second, with 31% of the vote. But I remember a newspaper headline that read, "Kerry wins, Edwards third," and wondering why Kucinich sometimes seems invisible. 

Kucinich speaks during the 2nd day of the '08 DNC by wiki
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After thoughtful deduction, I finally discovered the common denominator. People who are out of integrity, themselves, have trouble connecting with - and even perceiving - someone who has integrity, as if they lived in alternate realities. So the difficulties in getting and keeping Kucinich in a position of service may have much more to do with the fact that the  aspirations of average American citizens seem to be quite a few notches below Kucinich's vision for us.

Dennis kindly answered a few questions just after his term expired.

MAB:  Dennis, thank you for making time to talk to me. Lots of us are wondering: what's the vision for your next chapter?

DK: First let me say that I'm grateful for the opportunity to chat, and answer your questions.

Well, this is only the 2nd day that I am not a member of Congress, and I've been so busy with the work of the nation and my constituents in the past year, that hasn't left me much time to think about my own plans before this. But now I am excited and expectant to be at the beginning of a whole new period.
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MAB: You certainly seem to be a favorite of the people. I know that you have consistently received more votes per campaign dollar spent than any other candidate.

DK: Yes, we raised significant amounts from the internet, from small donors, hundreds of thousands over the years. It's a testimony to making elections about participatory democracy at every level. We will continue to work toward public financing of elections at state and federal levels, and work toward a constitutional amendment to end corporate financing of campaigns.

In the last election cycle over 4 billion dollars was spent. When some individuals are able to invest millions of dollars, the government ends up being in an auction, going to the highest bidder.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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Awesome article, Meryl Ann! There is SO much to sa... by Robin Rae Swanson on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:44:46 AM
 When Dennis said it, I had the feeling that ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:25:49 AM
Great article.... by Don Caldarazzo on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 4:39:08 AM
Glad you liked it!  ;-)... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:26:12 AM
Almost a lone voice in the halls of congress, but ... by Lance Ciepiela on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 8:52:58 AM
...we are lucky to have this guy.... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:27:35 AM
Curing the {political, et al} addiction. &nb... by Ned Lud on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 9:10:20 AM
Kucinich hasn't given any other interviews yet on ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:32:12 AM
We call him Dennis in Cleveland.Search under Denni... by Ray Tapajna on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 11:41:20 AM
but it is beginning to look like being a politicia... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:15:08 PM
I admire Dennis kucinich, and he married a brillia... by Neo Conned on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 2:28:23 PM
but a new door has flung itself open for Dennis, a... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:12:27 PM
Dennis is a great man. I am sorry to see him leavi... by Ken Stevens on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 4:21:48 PM
I agree! And hope that now he will be freer to do ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:45:23 PM
Congrats on the interview! I lived in Clevela... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 4:35:06 PM
He is the sole reason I rekindled any interest in ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:44:09 PM
well done... by Joan Brunwasser on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 7:42:37 PM
you are my interview heroine, so that means a lot!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 9:18:18 PM
Dennis is indeed a hero and now, as he faces a new... by Rob Kall on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 10:49:26 AM
I'm eager to see how his journey transpires ... an... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 11:17:53 AM
President Obama could have given America real ch... by Spider53 on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 5:05:36 PM
to have Dennis as Secretary of State!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 5:22:01 PM