A recent poll places Dennis Kucinich, who announced his run for Ohio governor on January 17, in second place among five Democratic primary contenders. When you are doing well in an election, like appears to be the case with Kucinich, you can expect attacks, including attacks based on deception, to start coming at you.
Ed Kilgore, in a Monday New York Magazine article, criticized Kucinich’s work as a Fox News contributor between Kucinich leaving the United States House of Representatives in 2013 and announcing his governor candidacy this month. Kilgore asserts Kucinich’s work with Fox News involved “steady criticism of the Obama administration’s hostility to Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime” and “turned more sinister as Donald Trump began his climb toward the presidency, with the former lefty gadfly often expressing agreement with the mogul’s anti-globalist rhetoric.” Further, Kilgore writes, Kucinich agreed in a Fox News interview in May that President Trump was then under attack from the deep state in the intelligence community.
Here are the facts. Kucinich has long been a supporter of nonintervention overseas. That includes in Syria. Over his 16 years in the House as a Democratic representative from Ohio, Kucinich opposed US “regime change” efforts and wars no matter the political party affiliations of the president and congressional leadership pushing such. Kucinich has also long been an opponent of so-called globalist policies in the form of huge international trade deals.
Kucinich, who served in Congress as a Democrat and is now running for Ohio governor in that party’s primary, has not been a party-line guy who follows leadership orders and blindly joins in whatever attacks are being hurled at people in the opposing political party. If, in his judgement, he sees a Republican is being unfairly attacked, do not be surprised to see Kucinich defend the Republican or at least refrain from joining in the attack.
Indeed, Kucinich’s independence has enabled him to consistently take his stands against foreign intervention and huge trade deals even when his party leadership supported the opposite.
On these issues, as well as others including opposing the USA PATRIOT Act, Kucinich would work with like-minded Republicans in the House. Among them was then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). In fact, Paul was so impressed by his interactions with Kucinich that, when Paul decided to found the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI) after leaving the House, Paul invited Kucinich to join the institute’s Advisory Board. Kucinich accepted the invitation and spoke at the 2013 event announcing the institute’s formation as well as at RPI’s 2017 annual conference.
In his speech at the 2013 RPI inaugural event, Kucinich said, “I’m shoulder to shoulder with Ron Paul in being concerned about how war enables the state to become more powerful; and, as a result, it deprives our citizens not only of economic vitality, but also of civil liberties.” Continuing, Kucinich expressed that RPI “has so much importance because it will provide a place for people to gather from across the political spectrum so that we can as Americans address our common concerns about freedom, about peace, about prosperity, and, in doing so, help to rescue our country from a trajectory that it’s on right now that can only lead to our destruction.”
Kucinich, in making these comments at the event, is not saying that he has become a libertarian like Paul or that he agrees with Paul on every issue. Instead, Kucinich is saying that he desires to work on a group of important matters with people who agree with him on those matters even if those individuals’ views on other matters differ very much from his. In this case, the common ground is expressed at the RPI website as “advocacy for a peaceful foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties at home.”
Similarly, Kucinich having worked as a contributor at Fox News does not mean he is or ever was in lockstep agreement with, say, Fox News host Sean Hannity. Instead, Kucinich at Fox expressed his own views on matters, just as an opinion columnist with a “left,” “right,” or whatever political orientation does so at a newspaper that generally has a different editorial viewpoint.
In fact, appearing on Fox News or Fox Business, Kucinich could potentially make a bigger impact than he would if he had chosen to work with a media company that is more closely aligned with his political views. At Fox, Kucinich was not preaching to the choir. Instead, he was communicating to an audience a large percentage of whose members were unfamiliar with or antagonistic to his thoughts on many issues.
Indeed, Kucinich alludes to his work with Fox News in a new interview at WOSU radio of Columbus, Ohio as helping contribute to his ability to win the Ohio governor general election for just this reason. “How do you court Republicans? How do you court the small government voters who propelled Trump to victory?” Steve Brown asks Kucinich in the interview. Answers Kucinich in part: “Because for the last five years I've had the ability to stand in the same position that I've always took on the floor of the House and to communicate with a constituency that most Democrats never get a chance to talk to.”
Suppose Kucinich is right. Suppose he can reach across party lines in the general election, leading to his winning the governorship. That prospect, combined with his apparent strength so far in the Democratic primary, is sure to draw out more criticisms of Kucinich. Expect more criticism, including criticism that, like the criticism of Kucinich for having worked with Fox News, may sound incriminating on a first hearing but is based on no more than misleading innuendo and fallacious guilt by association.
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