Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Kucinich and the Wolfman
(Wolf Blitzer, that is, not Wolfowitz)
Dennis Kucinich was on CNN's Late Edition yesterday:

BLITZER: Well, when you say corruption, Bush-Cheney corruption, are you accusing the president and the vice president of the United States of being corrupt, in terms of the problems that Enron had?

KUCINICH: Absolutely I am. There's no question that this administration was in bed with Ken Lay. They've covered up all the meetings that deal with energy policy.

They allowed Enron, to in effect, run the energy policy of this country, to be able to grow and grow, to capture wholesale markets, to put the country in a position -- and California particularly -- where the cost of electricity went up by a factor of four and five. California hard to borrow money to pay the electric bill. California still remains in trouble because of Enron.

You know what? We never had a chance to talk about Enron in the last election because the administration knew it was in trouble, they shifted the discussion to war. And now we find out there was no basis to go to war.


BLITZER: But look at Howard Dean. He comes from Vermont, a much smaller state than Ohio. Virtually no name recognition. He has raised $10 million. You've raised but a fraction of that. Why has he managed to get himself on the cover of Newsweek and Time magazine, for example, and you're still struggling to break out from obscurity?

KUCINICH: Well, I think we have to, first of all, congratulate him for the success that he's had.

However, he's been out there more than a year ahead of my campaign. And I think that as my campaign begins to develop, we're going to be able to attract some of the people who now, currently, feel that Howard Dean is the only alternative.

I mean, my campaign offers a true progressive alternative on trade. I'm the only candidate willing to come forward and say I'll cancel NAFTA and the WTO. On health care, the only candidate who is willing to say, look, the private sector has failed, the market has failed, we've got to go to universal single-payer health care, Medicare for all.

The candidate who's ready to challenge the bloated Pentagon budget, which, as you may know, Wolf, there's a trillion dollars in accounts they can't reconcile in the Pentagon. I'll save the taxpayers money, cut the Pentagon budget by 15 percent. That's $60 billion we can put into education and other programs.

So, as I define the differences, it will be very clear to the American people that I'm offering a true alternative, a progressive alternative. And frankly, it's only that kind of alternative which will motivate people to come to vote not only in Democratic primaries, but to give the American people a real choice versus this administration in November of 2004.

BLITZER: You were one of the early opponents of a war against Iraq, going way back, many, many months. But even in the most recent CNN poll, CNN-USA Today-Gallup Poll, look at this, 63 percent of the American public still think it was worth going to war in Iraq. You're still way in the minority position, presumably not only nationwide, but even among Democrats.

Are you rethinking your stance, as far as getting rid of Saddam Hussein?

KUCINICH: Well, you know, we can't measure truth by polls, because the American people didn't have all the information back then when -- and still today, as they're giving their opinion.

The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence that ever linked Iraq to 9/11, to al Qaeda's role in 9/11, to the anthrax attack on this country. Iraq did not have any usable weapons of mass destruction, and it didn't have the intention or the capability of attacking this country.

Now what we're finding out is that the administration took steps to make the American people believe that Iraq constituted an imminent threat, and the administration hyped a nuclear threat, and there was no proof of it.

I think as the American people learn that, the spell of fear which is on this country will be broken, and it's that truth that will help break the fear.

And when that happens, my candidacy, which comes from not only the heartland in Ohio, but comes from the heart of this country, my candidacy will begin to emerge powerfully, because I've told the truth, because I've been able to let the American people know what's really going on. And they want a president who is not only going to be candid and direct, but a president who is going to lead away from unnecessary wars toward peace, toward prosperity.

That's what I represent, Wolf, and I'm confident people are going to respond to that kind of a campaign.

BLITZER: But don't you think the region is better off right now without Saddam Hussein in charge of Baghdad and Iraq than it was before the war?

KUCINICH: Well, no one's ever made a case for Saddam Hussein's staying, but the problem is, you know, does the end justify the means? I mean, this administration did not tell the American...

BLITZER: Well, that's the question. Does the end, getting rid of Saddam Hussein, his Baath Party, the Saddam Fedayeen, all the elements that tyrannized Iraq for so many decades, doesn't that justify the means?

KUCINICH: Is it worth 259 American lives? No. As a matter of fact, we have to recognize that this administration took this country to war saying that there was an imminent threat and that Iraq had nuclear capability. That has proven to be a lie.

They didn't take us into war in order to create regime change, because if that's the policy of this country, we're going to be very busy looking at regime change in North Korea, in Iran, in Syria and any place this administration feels it ought to.

We have to work with the world community in order to achieve international security, and that's where the mistake was made. We should have worked with the United Nations, we should have continued the weapons inspections.

And it's unfortunate, the administration took us into war, and now they're changing the reason why we went to war. They didn't take us into war so that we could get rid of Saddam Hussein, they took us in to get rid of nuclear weapons.

BLITZER: Let me ask you about a novel proposal you came up with the other day, a creation of a Department of Peace here in Washington. Among other things, you write this, you said, "Of peace, wherein we all may tap the infinite capabilities of humanity to transform consciousness and conditions that impel or compel violence at a personal, group or national level, toward creating understanding, compassion and love."

What are you proposing, actually, by calling for the creation of a department, a federal bureaucracy of peace?

KUCINICH: Well, the same thing that Martin Luther King was talking about years ago when he talked about making nonviolence an organizing principle in our society, to create programs where we teach our children peace-giving and peace-sharing and mutuality and identifying the other person as oneself, where we learn that violence isn't inevitable.

We look at the challenges of domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, gangs in the schools, the problems that exist in racial violence, violence against gays.

I mean, our society has potential to evolve, and I think people want a leader who recognizes the power the American people have to continue this challenge we were given by our founders to create a more perfect union.

On an international level, the Department of Peace aspires to work with the world community to get away from war, to make war archaic. We have to believe in our capacity to create a world which has the ability to survive. And I'll tell you, Wolf, policies of unilateralism, preemption, of nuclear first-strike, building new nuclear weapons, putting weapons in space, building missile shields that contemplate World War III, take us away from the kind of peace which the American people are ready for.

We can achieve peace working with the world community, cooperating internationally. The Department of Peace built on a vision of people who for the longest time have believed that America has this great capacity to be able to not only improve itself, but to take us in a direction that's sustainable.

BLITZER: Congressman Dennis Kucinich wants to be president of the United States. We'll continue to cover your campaign.

Of course, if Wolf and CNN had actually been covering the campaign, they'd know that the Department of Peace idea isn't something that Kucinich just "came up with the other day." If they had been covering the campaign, a lot more people would know the truth and the poll numbers would be a lot different. But at least he gave him some time yesterday.