There’s a joke that goes like this: Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, an honest lawyer and an old drunk are walking down the street together when they simultaneously spot a hundred dollar bill. Who gets it? The old drunk, of course, the other three are mythological creatures. Kucinich’s lawyer may be an exception to the rule (however, it’s possible he is just a good lawyer and not an honest one.)
Kucinich’s lawyer recently managed to convince a judge in Nevada, Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson (Is it possible to send him Thank You notes?) hours ago that Dennis Kucinich must be included in NBC’s debate to air tomorrow night. The judge even plans to issue an injunction halting the nationally televised debate if MSNBC fails to comply.
Judge Thompson declared that it was “a matter of fairness and Nevada voters would benefit from hearing from more than just Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama.”
The story goes that Dennis Kucinich heard about this “during a telephone interview with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business channel.” He read the news item out loud: "It says ‘A Nevada judge said Monday that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must be included in Tuesday’s candidates’ debate in Nevada’. Holy smokes! I just found out. I have to get off the phone now. I have to make plans to go to Nevada.”
Now, NBC is going to challenge what the judge has just done. Think about this though.
It’s one thing to exclude a candidate once. It’s another thing to exclude a candidate once, be told to include that candidate by a judge who threatens an injunction, and then succeed in excluding that candidate again less than 24 hours before the debate is to take place.
If they get the judge’s decision overturned, that will make news. At least FOX News will cover it because it smells like foul play in the Democratic Party, NBC is their prime rival what with Olbermann on MSNBC, and covering Kucinich’s exclusion would mean another one or two days without paying attention to Iraq. People will start following Dennis a little more closely to see why he isn’t allowed to speak.
So, really, NBC should just include Dennis; give him only 5 minutes speaking time like all the other previous debates, and let him get away with his one or two one-liners that will be better than anything the other candidates have to say the entire debate.
But NBC, why not give him more time just for the sake of entertainment? I mean, you have to admit that Dennis makes the debates watchable and isn’t that the point of your television network? Don’t you want ratings and viewers?
There are no stories at this point about what happened when Hillary, Barack, or John heard that a judge was demanding Dennis be included. I can only imagine that John called Hillary to talk about getting the candidates down to a smaller number. Hillary agreed but she agreed on a plan she would also use to get Edwards out as soon as possible too. Barack wasn’t in the loop because Bill and Hillary Clinton and he have started some grudge that is so petty it almost is like Donald Trump vs. Rosie O’Donnell, and so instead, he sat down with his campaign staff that are not lobbyists, corporate, or special interest types and talked about how to handle anything Kucinich might say. The plan hashed out was to just respond with the word “hope” and “change” in the same sentence and to do this for every sentence so that the audience and viewers forget what Kucinich said and go back to thinking about “hope” and “change.” If that doesn't work, he can always summon the Culinary Workers Union to cook for the audience at minimum wage.
With tomorrow’s Michigan primary and news of inclusion (for now), Kucinich has a big day ahead of him. Tomorrow, America realizes there are not three candidates left in the Democratic race but four.
And so, I leave you with this though from a man whose birthday was January 15th:
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
Martin Luther King, Jr.