To begin, I must admit to liking and respecting most of the Democrats who are seeking our support for president.
I have marched with Al Sharpton, contributed to Carol Moseley Braun's Senate campaign, met Dick Gephardt in college, and admired John Kerry's courage in opposing the Vietnam War after serving with distinction. (Those who never served but now urge us on to more and more pre-emptive strikes should, at a minimum, suit up and join our forces in Iraq.)
I'm impressed with Howard Dean's use of the Internet to raise money from, as Jim Hightower says, "the alley cats instead of the fat cats." And he took a bold and correct stance in opposing the invasion of Iraq.
I don't think we need a former general, Wesley Clark, to explain that President Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld screwed up. That is obvious to the majority of Democratic voters and, by his recent memo, apparent to Rumsfeld himself.
While I have never suffered from a migraine, watching and listening to Joe Lieberman's Bush apologia gives me some sense of how a migraine must feel.
I've written before that if Dean, Kerry or Dennis Kucinich wins the nomination, I'll be dancing in the street. And I must say that if Dick Gephardt wins, that's OK with me.
But primaries are about choices. When I ran for the Senate, I was opposed by a popular chair of the Democratic Party and by a state senator. I had to ask fellow Democrats to choose.
When we think back to Robert La Follette's reforms, the guts of the reforms rested on the selection of good candidates by the people, not the bosses. So I had to put people in the uncomfortable position of making a choice. If they chose someone else, that did not reduce them in my view nor did it make them "bad" progressives. They made a choice based on a myriad of issues, personalities or values.
The important thing is to make a choice, and I have made mine in the Democratic primary. I support, without any hesitation, the person I believe best articulates and lives our progressive values, Dennis Kucinich.
I first met Kucinich when he keynoted our first Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo. He gave a wonderful speech but the next day at our home, speaking to perhaps only 25 people, he moved into the rarified atmosphere of a Paul Simon and Gaylord Nelson. He was not just thoughtful, he was profound.
My wife and I went to a neighbor's home years ago to hear a Southern governor who was exhibit A for the "new South." We thought that Jimmy Carter had no chance of winning the presidency, but there was something about him that compelled us to hope that he just might make it to vice president at a minimum.
Listening to Kucinich in Baraboo and at the Orpheum Theatre in the vain but valiant effort to stop the invasion of Iraq, I had that same feeling. I turned to a friend and asked, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have a person with his vision and courage as president?" The response stuck with me: "And why not?"
Indeed, why not? If he carries Wisconsin, look out, Democratic Leadership Council.
He understands and voted against the Patriot Act. He opposed the invasion of Iraq, and while some others did as well, Kucinich wants our troops out of Iraq to be replaced by U.N. forces - now. He stands alone today, but just wait a few months.
He supports national health care without evasiveness. Could there be a more important issue than the life and death of our citizens?
And when I look at the decimation of our manufacturing base nationally and in Wisconsin, I want clear answers on the World Trade Organization and NAFTA. Kucinich boldly stakes out his position. "On the first day of my presidency, I will cancel NAFTA and WTO."
Joe Lieberman's first day? Appoint a hawk as secretary of defense. Dennis Kucinich would establish a Department of Peace.
Now the chickenhawks who don't mind sending the sons and daughters of the poor and working families into harm's way scoff at such a notion. Well, I don't know about you but the chickenhawks have as much credibility on "war" as Rush Limbaugh has on rehabilitation and addiction.
It is time for bold action, and Dennis Kucinich is the one who speaks out, tells the truth and makes the DLC cringe.
You know who else cringes? The Republicans, because with a choice between pre-emptive George Bush and Dennis Kucinich, guess who would get out and vote? Every Democrat, independent and Green in America. When we get a big turnout, we win. When we don't, the Republicans win. Offer the people a real choice and we win. Offer them Republican lite and get ready for Patriot Act II.
When you elect people to office, you can't stand over their shoulder day in and day out to determine if they are true to their word. Nor do we expect to be consulted on every action or vote, but we certainly don't expect them to hold a moistened finger in the air to see what is popular. We want people with integrity. We want a Bob Kastenmeier, Bobby Kennedy or Paul Wellstone. And I add one name to that group: Dennis Kucinich.
If you agree, contact www.kucinich.us and help us carry Wisconsin. If you disagree, send comments to fightingbob.com. Whatever you do, make a choice, get involved, don't let the bosses decide for us.
Ed Garvey, the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998, is a Madison lawyer and the editor of the fightingbob.com Web site.
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