Published on Friday, April 25, 2003 by the Berkeley Daily Planet
Presidential Hopeful Kucinich Condemns Bush for Violence
by David Scharfenberg
BERKELEY, CA - U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland), one of nine Democratic candidates for president, blasted the Bush Administration over the war in Iraq and insisted that his shoestring candidacy has a chance during a UC Berkeley appearance Wednesday.
“I think, on the whole range of issues, I will be able to consistently demonstrate real alternatives to the other candidates,” said Kucinich, who called for universal health care and major reductions in defense spending.
But analysts say Kucinich, who has lagged in the polls, has little chance of winning the Democratic nomination next year.
“He has no money and no real organization to speak of outside the Bay Area,” said UC Berkeley political science professor Alan Ross. “What I think he can do is, in the debates, bring up issues that other candidates won’t.”
Kucinich finished last in an April Field Poll of California Democratic voters, with only 8 percent saying they would be inclined to support him. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry led the pack, with 43 percent of voters supporting him, and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman was a close second with 42 percent of voters backing him. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 5.8 percent.
Kucinich, the keynote speaker at a day-long, anti-war teach-in, said the Bush administration’s world view has spawned violence.
“This administration is committed to a view of the world that makes war inevitable — us versus them,” said Kucinich. “The alternative is a politics which understands the essential interconnectedness of all peoples.”
Kucinich, in an interview after the speech, said he would deal with “rogue states” like Iraq and North Korea by including them in discussions of world security, rather than launching wars.
“We cannot put any nation outside the world community,” he said.
“That’s absurd,” said Ben Barron of the Berkeley College Republicans. “There were 12 years of diplomacy, there was a 12-year attempt at sanctions to end Saddam Hussein’s regime and it didn’t work.”
Kucinich got a largely warm reception from the roughly 300 students, professors and activists who packed Leconte Hall to hear him speak.
“I think it’s really encouraging to have someone talking about real alternatives,” said Sarah Harling, a UC Berkeley student.
Harling said she voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential election, but would cast a ballot for Kucinich next year.
Others in the crowd were less pleased with the Ohio congressman. One student tried, unsuccessfully, to win explicit statements of support for slavery reparations and pardons for jailed American Indian activist Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murdering a police officer.
Kucinich said he was not prepared to make statements on Peltier or Abu-Jamal. He said the government should greatly expand the services it provides to blacks, but stopped short of calling for reparations in the form of cash payments or land.
Kucinich for President website - http://www.kucinich.us/
Copyright 2003 Berkeley Daily Planet