Monday, March 19, 2012
Curtain Call for Dennis the Menace
At the time of the Ohio primary election, I was otherwise busy, which is why I’m belatedly noting the apparent end of Dennis Kucinich’s career as a political office holder.
In 1969, I was growing up in the Cleveland area. So I was aware of Kucinich when he was first elected to the Cleveland City Council at the tender age of 23. His first attempt had been in 1967, when he was a college freshman. Try to imagine anyone that young and inexperienced feeling qualified to represent others in city hall. What incredible gall. It’s little wonder he was soon known to thousands as “Dennis the Menace.”
By 1974, Kucinich had already unsuccessfully run twice for Congress. Then in 1977, at age 31, he was elected Mayor of Cleveland, the youngest mayor of a major American city. He distinguished his single term of office by promptly leading the city into financial default. In 1979 the voters turned him out, delivering the office to George Voinovich (so there’s another thing to resent him for).
After his stint as mayor, Kucinich bounced around a bit before returning to the public payroll in 1994. He did so by getting elected to the state Senate. Two years later, having learned all there is to know about state government, he left the Senate, moving up to Congress. Apparently finding the federal government more complicated than the state and municipal levels, he put off running for President until 2004 (an effort, perhaps I need to add, he was unsuccessful with). And, yes, some might have seen him as a rank political opportunist. But by the standards of Barack Obama, Kucinich has been a rather shy, reticent fellow; unwilling to thrust himself forward.
For my tastes, I’ve always favored Democrats like Kucinich. If Democrats are going to hold any offices, then I want them to be as openly wacky as Kucinich. I don’t want them fooling about, posing as “fiscal conservatives” or pretending to have deep concerns about the nation’s welfare. No, give me guys like Kucinich – one minute introducing articles of impeachment against President Bush; and the next, getting caught up in a controversy over space aliens beaming instructions to his brain.
That’s why I was miffed when he was recently ousted from Congress by another long-term Democrat incumbent, Marcy Kaptur (the two of them having been shoved together by redistricting). Kaptur may be every bit as silly as Kucinich, but I much prefer office-holding libs to be men rather than women. On the whole, women are generally viewed as being less rational and more emotional than men. So it’s considered only natural for them to be more liberal in their politics. In fact, in polite society, it can be considered unfair and discourteous to hold a women accountable for having voted as a flaming lib. (“The poor dear; she just doesn’t know any better.”) As a result, it’s harder to unseat them once they’re in office. Look at how long it took Ohio Republicans to remove Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.
Oh, well. With the departure of Kucinich, conservatives have lost a nationally known Democrat flake; one they could always use as an illustration. Such a pity. He was as wacky as they come.
Update: typo's were corrected, and the reader is directed to a more recent posting referencing this one.