CONG. DENNIS KUCINICH SAYS GOODBYE FOR NOW, ON DEMOCRACYNOW!
Leaving Congress after sixteen years (1997-2013), Rep. Dennis Kucinich does not sound bitter or angry even though he lost his seat to a fellow Democrat, thanks to some nasty gerrymandering by Ohio Republicans. In a valedictory visit to Democracy NOW! on December 28, this election-rigging, a routine, bi-partisan abuse of democratic process wasn't even mentioned, the sickness of American democracy was treated as a mere fact of life, more political bad weather.
As a progressive congressman in the House of Representatives, Kucinich is part of a minority of a minority, and that minority appears to be shrinking. Another, very different lame duck Congressman, Republican Allen West of Florida, notably claimed that there were 78 to 81 "members of the Communist Party" in Congress, referring to the Congressional Progressive caucus which had 76 members, including Kucinich, whose view of the caucus is somewhat more jaundiced: ).
""some members will choose affiliation with the Progressive Caucus as kind of a social function more than a political function. So the membership of the caucus belies the fact that once Democrats are voting on the floor of the House, you know, it doesn't matter what caucuses they're involved in. It's like a social thing"."
Kucinich didn't draw the connection specifically, but he cited an example of Democrats' willingness to entertain progressive ideas without being willing to act on them. After the 2004 election, most Democrats in the House were openly opposed to George Bush's policies generally, although perhaps more circumspect in their opposition to the Iraq war and the falsehoods that had persuaded many of them to vote for it. As Speaker of the House (and before) Nancy Pelosi stifled numerous impeachment efforts by members of her party, especially after Democrats controlled Congress after the 2006 elections.
The impeachment effort culminated in June 2008, when Kucinich and Rep. Robert Wexler, D-FL, introduced a bill of impeachment with 35 articles accusing President Bush of high crimes and misdemeanors --
"covering the Iraq war, the Valerie Plame affair, creating a case for war with Iran, capture and treatment of prisoners of war, spying and or wiretapping inside the United States, use of signing statements, failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas, the 2004 elections, medicare, Hurricane Katrina, global warming, and 9/11."
Under Pelosi's guidance, the House voted 251-166 to send the bill to committee, where it died, to Kucinich's continuing regret: