The Kucinich Niche

The year 2006 hasn't even ended yet, and we're already surrounded by politicians announcing their candidacies for president.  I couldn't be happier.  Sure, there's plenty of stuff going on in the world, subtle and exhaustive minutiae for the press and blogosphere to pore over, but it's the clash of the pseudo-titans that makes for sexy blog entries!  In this posting, I want to address a little-discussed candidacy that I postulate may have a bigger impact than expected.

A few days ago, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich surprised me by announcing his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.  He had run in 2004, and while he was spirited and passionate, he failed to make a major splash in the campaign.  He was an interesting and inspiring side show, running a campaign he couldn't win, but giving us all something to believe in, and even if you didn't vote for him, you probably wished him well, and cheered his few double-digit showings in the primaries.  He was a positive influence who had the effect of keeping the leading candidates (as well as debate moderators) honest.  I'll never forget when he tore into Ted Koppel at one early debate for asking too many questions about process and the horse race (that's my job, now), and not enough about policy and the war in Iraq.

I thought that would be it for Dennis.  He had made his point, and with a new Democratic majority in the House, I assumed he would ease into the role of progressive elder statesman, making reasoned cases for controversial positions, from a place of greater influence.  When the news broke that he was back for more, I was surprised.  And then, I started on!

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Politics in the Bedroom

Last year, Grover Norquist told a New York Times reporter that he had little trouble getting the culture warriors over at the Eagle Forum to stand with the auto industry in opposition fuel efficiency standards because "it's backdoor family planning. You can't have nine kids in the little teeny cars." Certainly, leaders on the modern American right, as well as the left, struggles with how to keep its constituent movements working constructively together, or at least keep them from actively undercutting each other.  But those struggles seem to turn out better on the right.  Arguably, that's because the right has real power to mete out amongst the groups and individuals who make it work and can therefore keep them in line.  But there's as strong a case to be made that being out of power is more unifying - that's why, in the fall of 2004, well-justified and broadlyy shared anti-Bushism made it so much easier to imagine that there really was a coherent, unified left in this country.

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"I'm As Mad As Hell"

I tend to think most of life can be understood by looking at relationships. The exchanges that occur between people tell us a lot about the mechanics of power and persuasion. It is within those mechanics where one is most likely to find the forces that influence the bulk of what takes place in society. For me to understand and explain this best, I start by looking at the fundamental relationship...a marriage or other love relationship between two people. What an individual does in these relationships is often a good predictor of their actions in the larger society.

As I've watched these relationships over the years, one equation has piqued my attention. It's what I would call the accommodator phenomenon. In this model, one can usually determine which partner does the majority of the accommodating in order to make the relationship functional. Granted, this is an oversimplification, but I think its one that holds up to the analysis. This accommodation can be subtle or it can be pronounced...but it is often the defining characteristic of the relationship.

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The Party Really is Over

Split within Democratic Party
by darklywise, Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 06:22:40 PM EST

I sincerely hope that a review/analysis can be taken on the split within the Democratic Party about this whole Alito Filibuster mess. Personally, I don't think it is just the Democratic Leadership in the Senate refusing to take the hardline because of the political calculus. There is also an underlining issue that certain section of Democratic population are now taking a different view than the Democratic activists who are urging on the Filibuster. When you are so devoted to your ideals and causes, sometimes it is easy to forget there are people in your camp that may choose to voice their opinions a little differently. Nevertheless, if I learn anything from this Filibuster saga, it is that if you want to achieve anything in politics, your side has to be united. Indeed, "A house divided against itself can not stand". Hopefully people on the Left can figure out a way to work together instead of constantly ceding power to the Right, eventually.

Everyone's comments here are certainly valid. However, we are dealing with a problem that goes far beyond the Alito nomination.

Democrats are not just split on this issue, they are split on all of the issues.

The sad truth is that it may be time to start think about branching off and creating a new Democratic party--a Progressive Democratic party.

We've all grown up in a culture that only validates a two-party system. It's time to change that. The American people no longer find the Democratic Party appealing because it doesn't stand for anything. The foot soldiers on the ground (i.e., us) are not on the same page as the party we have been faithful to. We have a responsibility to this country to give the people a party worth fighting for.

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Maria: Contemplated Divorce To Arnold For Years

While Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that their separation was a decision made together, sources have come out saying that Shriver had contemplated a divorce since at least 2009. MORE




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