Dennis Kucinich's Scandals
New Age Mystic
Looking For Love
UFOs Put Instructions in His Head
Led Cleveland Into Bankruptcy
Dennis Kucinich's Skeleton Closet
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Dennis Kucinich is a very scrappy little (5'7") guy with a tough background. As a kid, his parents moved constantly, cramming 7 kids
into 2 bedroom apartments or even, at times, a car parked outside the steel mill where his dad worked. He was elected as the nation's
youngest mayor (of Cleveland) in 1977, and was known mostly for scrapping with established politicians, banks and just about everybody else.
After he fired his police chief -- live, on the 6 O'Clock news -- he was so unpopular that he wore a bulletproof vest when he threw out the
first pitch at an Indian's baseball game, and had police sharpshooters lined up all along the roof of the building.
After he was unceremoniously booted from office in his 1979 reelection fight, though, he drifted toward California and New Mexico, living for a while in his "dear friend" Shirley MacLaine's house, and began what he calls ""a journey into the poetry of my own life." Now, he has made quite a journey from scrappy poor kid to quixotic New Age lefty presidential candidate.
"Dennis Kucinich has spent his life fighting for the little guy -- and that little guy is Dennis." -- David Martin, the Cleveland Scene
"The energy of the stars becomes us. We become the energy of the stars. Stardust and spirit unite and we begin: one with the universe, whole and holy. From one source, endless creative energy, bursting forth, kinetic, elemental; we, the earth, air, water and fire-source of nearly fifteen billion years of cosmic spiraling." -- Kucinich, in the "Journal of Concious Evolution"
"As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady. And you know maybe Fox will want to sponsor it as a national contest or something. But in any event I would want definitely want someone who would not just be there by my side, but be a working partner because I think we're in a day in age when partnerships are imperative to making anything happening in the world. And I certainly want a dynamic, out-spoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal single-payer health care and a full employment economy. If you are out there call me." -- Kucinich, Nov. 5, 2003
"After I lost the [mayoral] election in Cleveland in 1979, I moved to California for a while. I actually remember walking in the area around L.A. known as MacArthur Park, and I was thinking of that song and thinking of the lyrics where they talk about 'Someone left the cake out in the rain. It took so long to make it.' And it goes on, raising the question of whether I'll ever have that recipe again." -- Kucinich
"There's no one in America who believes in Dennis Kucinich more than Dennis Kucinich. We used to say back here in Ohio, you've got to drive a stake through the guy's heart to get him out of it." -- Tim Hagan, former Cuyahoga County Democratic President
"My journey has spanned political, social, economic and even spiritual gulfs. And because of that journey, I really have a sense of the potential for oneness which exists in this nation and in the world community. I see how it all fits together . . ." -- Kucinich, in Beverly Hills
New Age Mystic
Kucinich likes to portray himself as a progressive, but for him that takes a turn not seen in mainstream politics since Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown ran for president. While his website tries to paint him as a down to earth midwesterner with a page titled "Polka, Bowling and Kielbasa", Kucinich is certainly the only admitted Vegan in the race (that is, a vegetarian who won't consume any animal products at all, including milk and honey.) The only kielbasa he'll be eating is made of tofurkey.
The blue collar kid from Cleveland now supports creating a Department of Peace. "I have a holistic view of the world," he explains. "I see the world as interconnected and interdependent and that leaves no room for war." He is also friends with Shirley MacLaine, who is the godmother of his daughter and attended his third wedding in 2005.
Other policy positions of his get a bit "out there" as well. In 2001, he introduced a bill to ban space-based and other exotic weapons, including "radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies . . . for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such populations."
Included in the ban were "chemtrails," supposed airplane emissions that change the weather or cause rashes in schoolkids, if you listen to the Art Bell radio show anyway. Chemtrails were removed in a revised draft of the bill. "I'm not into that," Kucinich told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Really? Kucinich was the legislation's sole author.
As snide as I'd like to be, I can't improve on Kucinich's own mysticism, so here's some more from the article in
New Connexion magazine:
Dennis' close friend Shirley Maclaine has an interesting story about him in her book, "Sage-ing While Age-ing." (Yeah, I know.) Shirley says he had a close encounter with a UFO at her house in Washington state that he found very moving.
"The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him. It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind."
I can't make that one any weirder or funnier, either.
Critics are quick to charge that Kucinich "led Cleveland into bankruptcy" as a young (31) mayor, called "Dennis the Menace" by the press, and his administration was certainly messy. One book recently named him as the 7th worst mayor of American history, not for any reasons of corruption or scandal, but due to his "abrasive, intemperate, and chaotic administration." He survived a recall vote after only ten months in office by 231 votes (out of 120,000) and was voted out after one term by Republican George Voinovich, even through Democrats outnumbered Republicans 8 to 1. When he threw out the first pitch at a Cleveland Indians game, he wore a bullet-proof vest and had sharpshooters positioned on the stadium roof.
In many ways though history has vindicated Kucinich, at least on the bankruptcy. The city was already headed toward bankruptcy when Kucinich took office, and financial advisers were telling him to sell the city-owned electric company to stave it off. He refused this power play and the banks called in the city's loans, triggering bankruptcy. But the utility remains public, and, according to a study by Cleveland magazine, the utility's low rates saved customers about $195 million over the past 10 years. In fact, he got back into Congress in 2002 campaigning on the success of his effort to keep that utility.
Like so many New Age devotees desperately searching for universal love, Kucinich lacked a steady love partner during the 2004 elections. The twice-divorced dad, however, not only admitted it but went public with his search for a love connection during a 2004 debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, announcing his criteria for a first lady: "a dynamic, out-spoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal single-payer health care."
To help out, the PoliticsNH website started a personals area for Kucinich women wannabees. One of the first was Gina Marie (33) from New Jersey, who noted that "Madonna and Jennifer Lopez are probably two of the most recognizable, powerful women in our country yet they are not helping all Americans gain access to affordable healthcare." It's hard to argue with that logic.
Well, something must have worked, because in 2005, Dennis married his third wife, Elizabeth Harper of London England. She's an attractive, 6 foot tall woman 31 years younger than him. If he's elected, she will be the first First Lady with a tongue piercing. They met when she visited his congressional office; he proposed on the second date, and they married 30 days later.
While most politicians change their positions from time to time -- in fact, all good ones do, because they are learning and open to change -- Kucinich has made a dizzying switch on abortion with no apparent principle to back it up (other than, "I want to win some Democratic primaries.")
As a Congressman, he amassed one of the most anti-abortion voting records in Congress, one especially unusual for a Democrat. Fair enough, Kucinich was raised Catholic. He voted to criminalize partial birth abortions, to deny American servicewoman the right even to pay for their own abortions overseas, to prevent Washington, D.C. from funding abortions for poor women with nonfederal dollars, against research on RU-486, even against health coverage of basic contraception for federal employees. In 1996 he told Planned Parenthood that he did not support the substance of Roe v. Wade. He received a a 95 percent position rating from the National Right to Life Committee, versus 10 percent from Planned Parenthood and 0 percent from NARAL.
Now that he wants to run as a progressive Democrat though, he is waffling all over that stance. He told The Nation magazine that "I believe life begins at conception and that it doesn't end at birth." (Huh?) He said he was not in favor of either a Human Life Amendment that would constitutionally protect "life" from the moment of conception, nor the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and presented his votes as votes not against abortion per se but against federal funding of the procedure. That's not consistent with his votes on the servicewomen and Washington DC issues mentioned above, however. And while told The Nation he was not in favor of "criminalizing" abortion, he voted for a partial-birth-abortion ban that included fines and up to two years in jail for doctors who performed them, except to save the woman's life.
When pressed, Kucinich said "I haven't been a leader on this. These are issues I would not have chosen to bring up." Well, he has been at least a devoted follower of the anti-abortion position, until it became politically inconvenient. And if he's not a leader, why should anyone elect him as president?
"Shirley MacLaine claims Kucinich had UFO encounter", by Mark Naymik, Cleveland Plain Dealer (newspaper), October 23, 2007
"Meet Democrat Dennis Kucinich's Wife: She's a New Age, Tongue-Pierced Brit", the London Sunday Times, May 20, 2007
"Ohio's comeback kid", by Sandy Nelson, Campaigns & Election,; Sep97, Vol. 18 Issue 8, p51
"Regressive Progressive?", Katha Politt, the Nation, 5/27/2002, Vol. 274 Issue 20, p10
"Spirit and Stardust", by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, New Connexion Magazine, September 2002
Hollow Man, BY DAVID W. MARTIN The Cleveland Scene (newspaper), March 19, 2003
"Democratic candidate draws support from peace activists, New Age gurus", by MALIA RULON, (Associated Press), San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, May 30, 2003
"The American Mayor," by Melvin Holli
"Field Notes: Dennis Kucinich", ABC-News Online, Nov. 6, 2003
"Who Wants To Be a First Lady?", PoliticsNH.Com, November 5, 2003
"Dennis Kucinich: The combative mystic". by Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2003
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