At school between classes the other day, a buddy of mine asked if I'd watched the YouTube Republican debate last week. I had, so we talked about it. He asked me what I thought. I think Huckabee showed up the best, which is scary given that he has real populist ideals combined with conservative social values... a real Nazi in the making.
My buddy told me he tried to watch the last Democratic debate, but switched it off after 15 minutes because nearly all the candidates he heard speak were attacking Hillary. I'm a political junkie, so I know that at this point, they're all just trying to take Hillary down. My buddy isn't plugged in to every news source within reach, so all the arguing was too much.
Two things should be done in order for us to affect a real change in leadership.
First, I think the Democratic candidates should periodically pick one thing they all agree on, and bring it up purposefully. This way, the crowd sees the Democrats as a whole. The Republican candidates do this all the time. They use Hillary, it's their one rallying point, and every time they bring it up I get the feeling they're all collectively leeching off her popularity. The Democrats need to do this so they aren't seen as constantly bickering... which they are, but only because Hillary is enjoying such a vast lead.
My buddy said he didn't trust Hillary, which is no surprise since that's a common statement. He also said he didn't trust Obama, which is somewhat surprising. I always think Obama sounds very genuine. I got some clarification, and what my friend meant to say was that Obama seems kind of wishy-washy to him. People just don't know where he really stands. I made a point to bring up Edwards, but my friend just said he had no idea about Edwards, since he doesn't have much experience to base a real opinion from.
My second point is that we should completely neglect the concept of winning the election at this point, and strive specifically to pick the candidate we trust the most. We should pick the candidate that - without a doubt - represents our values. This person should be someone that has proven, through real action, not just words, that they really do agree with what we want. I think if we pick the best, honest candidate, the votes will follow.
I realized this second point because my friend said he liked Guiliani and Ron Paul. He said they both represented people that allowed us to make our own moral choices, and were also good with economics. I held my tongue on Ron Paul because I think he's kind of crazy, since I wanted to hear his real opinions. I guess his main point on Ron Paul is that he knew Paul was honest, and wouldn't continue eroding our rights. He like Guiliani because he answered the "Bible question" well.
The advent of several things have made this last point stick in my mind. The passing of HR 1955 that myself, One Pissed Off Liberal, and others have written about. This is a direct attack on the 1st Amendment by mostly Democrats, agreed upon by most everyone in the House. The second is the well-known refusal of Nancy Pelosi et al. to bring impeachment proceedings against Bush et al. Personally, I think they should be criminally prosecuted, but at the least they should be impeached. The list goes on, really: the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, Abu Ghraib, grotesque overspending, the never-ending war, etc, etc, etc.
The one candidate that has been on the right side of all these issues every time is Dennis Kucinich. I want someone who's going to put their foot down and say no, absolutely no, eroding my rights and responsibilities. Kucinich has been around long enough, and we know where he stands on issues because he's voted on them time and again. We don't have to wonder if the triad of interchangeable top-contenders actually mean what they say, we can pick Kucinich.
I'm gonna have to break with the DKos convention. I'm not going to vote for just any Democrat. HR 1955 has shown me that's not even a possibility anymore. There's no point in having a blue majority if something like HR1955 comes out of it.
I'm voting Kucinich because no matter what you can say about him, you can't say he's not honest. You can't say he doesn't align properly with liberal values. Most of the other candidates, I'm not so sure about. There isn't a doubt in my mind with Kucinich. Sure, I admit some of his ideas are a bit much, but he would have Congress to contend with too if elected. And nominating him would be a fully symbolic gesture that says we, Americans, are done with the shit!
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I just want to laboriously reiterate that my support of Kucinich is less about Kucinich the man, and more about the real votes Kucinich has made. In this day and age of corrupt politicking, we know he's not a bad guy.