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The Consequences of No Agenda in Iowa

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Campaigns are in full-swing now. As January draws closer and closer, one in tune with politics will constantly feel the pull to weigh in on who will win and who won’t even come close to winning. One will hypothesize on an underdog victory for only so long before one will realize that it is too late for any Cinderella stories to emerge. Eventually, the top two will be the top two. And from that point, all the rest of the candidates will be history and will be tucked away in the history books for scholars and intellectual individuals to read about later on down the line when the 2008 election becomes relevant again.

That said, what are we to really make of Dennis Kucinich at this point? His supporters and volunteers may be the most optimistic and well-rounded people to grace any campaign for a Democratic president. Kucinich supporters and volunteers stick with him because they know the importance of fighting the good fight and voting your conscience because Kucinich has fought that good fight many times and won. They have put time and money into a candidate who is constantly being asked to remind people that he is not going to be staying at 3% in the polls but will rise. For example, supporters and followers of his campaign are all too familiar with this:

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I'm kind of the Seabiscuit of this campaign. And when I come from behind to win this race, people are going to say, no way are we going to run against this guy. ... Let me tell you, when I push through that agenda and establish a worker's White House, they're going to be there to say, 'No competition in 2012; we're ready for Kucinich for seven years, eight years.

As an ardent supporter, I am sitting back and wondering when “Seabiscuit” is going to start to pull closer to being the leader of the pack. When will the machinations of this election be too much for “Seabiscuit” to catch up? When will he break into double-digits percentage wise in the polls? At what point should we dismiss this highly motivational and influential man and accept that he isn’t going anywhere? Whether he is the answer or not, how much time and money do we put into a candidate before we ask, “When will you do what you said you will do?”, which is start to gain on those ahead.

Call it wishful thinking, but for a man who has a record like Kucinich, it is reasonable to think like he has been. He is flawless on Iraq having voted against the war and voted for any funds for the war. He is flawless on Iran, which is sure to become a prominent issue in the election as more stories of planned attacks are released, because he has voted against all antagonistic measures that would influence Iran’s decisions to strengthen its defenses against us and/or cause Iran to defy our calls to get rid of its nuclear facilities. He owns the issue of health care in America having been endorsed by Michael Moore for his co-authoring of H.R. 676. And he also has a “worker’s rights” record unlike any of the other candidates, which allows him to take bold stances like end NAFTA and reopen facilities so that we can “buy American” again.

However, many including myself deeply misunderstand his Iowa agenda, which is largely non-existent. Why is he ignoring it and not making it an issue? And why is he allowing himself to be buried even further in the race?

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All one has to do is visit this link to find out how much of a factor Dennis Kucinich wasn’t in the 2004 election. One will no doubt realize how much trouble he may be in this election. Notice the updates on Iowa involve an opening of headquarters, website redesigns, and then the releasing of TV ads that had to have been released weeks before the Iowa primary. There was no way he was going to take down Kerry or Edwards.

Also, note that he was campaigning on getting rid of NAFTA then. And he is campaigning on getting rid of it again. The implications of removing NAFTA would greatly help Americans. But, the question is, do they understand that? And is his stance on that enough? I mean, Kucinich’s whole campaign is about if what he is saying is enough.

Democrats who were so bent on “anybody but Bush” in 2004 are even more bent on “anybody but Bush [or a Republican to continue his policies]” this time. Americans know they cannot afford another term with Bush-like policies where human rights are repealed, civil liberties are repealed, wars are waged, foreign policy is ignorant of the world, science that predicts terrible futures is ignored, etc. That is why it is all too important to vote for that one Democrat that will be The One.

The One is necessary. The One will bring balance to life in America. The One will destroy all the evils that confront this nation. The One will allow Americans to live peaceful easy lives that do not require panicking about a president anymore. The One will fulfill his destiny and do for America what must be done. The One must be able to carry the weight of the world on his or her shoulders.

The trouble is, this Chosen One may have already been, well, chosen. And how ready are Americans to assess the situation and say, “Uh-oh, this man or woman is not right.” Many have lined up behind the popular candidates in the Democratic race and discarded any doubts they had about either of them realizing that this election is a monumental one, a chance to restore hope in America.I doubt that any American will remove the handcuffs of blind faith that they have put on so easily especially if he or she has already donated money. 

Barack Obama has more than 138,000 supporters on Facebook who are mainly college students and who are ready to vote for him because he is cool and a rock star. People have spoken about how impressive Barack can speak and carry himself when making public appearances at rallies. George Clooney has spoken of how magnetic Barack is in person and how he would love to see him as president. Oprah Winfrey has talked personally with him and given him countless praises. Jon Stewart has pumped up more support by inviting him to his show for two segments of an episode. Policies have been discarded and ignored. A rock star persona and a man who can talk is "in". Regardless of what Barack would actually do for America, Americans who support him could care less.

The same goes with Hillary, although her success is a result of a bit more shallowness emanating from her supporters. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the leader of the pack. Yet, instead of falling or rising in the polls as a leader of the pack might do, she sits stagnate. Obama closes in and so does Edwards. But Clinton sits atop because voters remember the good ‘ol days when Bill Clinton ran America. This was before the “dark ages” America has experienced and are still experiencing under George W. Bush. And so no matter how poorly they approve of Hillary, her “supporters” hang in there and hope that Bill pulls through and sets her straight in her presidency so they can live like they used to.

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Labor Day Weekend should have been the weekend that Kucinich further energized the population in Iowa and around the nation. It should have been the time to close in even more on Obama and Clinton. After making aggressive campaign statements on Scarborough, at the cancer forum broadcasted on MSNBC and hosted by Lance Armstrong and Chris Matthews, and after being the only candidate to issue a “Happy Labor Day” message directed towards the American worker, he should have come out swinging with comparisons of the candidates and information on his stances and policies. All could have been relayed to Americans through vibrant question and answer sessions throughout Iowa. By doing that, Kucinich would have had another “AFL-CIO moment” like the one at Soldier Field he continues to remind us all of. He would have been able to add to his list of successes, successes he references when granted the opportunity to be interviewed by members of the mainstream media---a media that is only focused on those who are “electable”.

But Kucinich took a trip to the Middle East. He drifted outside of the focus of the election, which moved to New Hampshire and Iowa for the weekend. Picnics and rallies were the talk of the campaigns. Kucinich was laughed and ostracized by many for not staying in the states. While it is admirable to have given the Middle Eastern countries the proper attention they deserve, from a PR standpoint, Kucinich blew it. And Dennis Kucinich deserves to know that you can’t communicate sound policies for change without good public relations.

Lastly, he seems to be attempting to claim the higher ground by not signing a pledge that all other top candidates have signed, which states that they will not campaign in states that have moved their primaries into January. One may think that all that the other candidates are doing is ridiculous and downright disrespectful to the Democrats in the states who have decided to move their primaries. However, the mainstream media isn’t spinning the pledge by Democratic presidential candidates like that. They are championing the candidates’ decision to uphold tradition and give early primaries the respect they deserve, whatever that respect may be.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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