The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

The Morning After: Kucinich

You ever been in a situation like this? Say you’ve got this friend, who has a real shot at going out with this great guy. He may not have the flash of some other potential suitors, but he totally “gets” your friend. He cares, and it’s obvious he’s sincere. He continues trying to get your friend’s attention, and barely gets the time of day, even though he treats your friend way better than some of their other “people of interest.”

But instead, your friend spend most of his or her time, energy, and money chasing after potential S.O.’s that don’t give back half as much. You sit there and watch and shake your head. Right? That’s kind of how I feel about Dennis Kucinich. His turn on with the panel made me wonder why our community gives candidates like him short shrift, and treat other candidates — who don’t offer us nearly as much — so well?

I guess I understand it, though. I used to do the same thing when it came to relationships. At least until I got therapy.

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I’ll just come right out and admit, the only candidate who really spoke to me last night was Kucinich. I’ve been impressed with him for a while now, even moreso when he was the only candidate to come over and talk to the bloggers at the Howard University debate. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, but I did get a chance to speak with his lovely wife (Kim also got a great webcam interview with her). I “came out” to her in the process of our chat and she said to me “Dennis is one of the only candidates who supports full marriage equality.”

“Believe me,” I said to her, “I know.”

He’s also the only candidate who really spoke to me last night. In fact, I’ve decided that this year I’m voting my hopes. At least during the primaries, my support, my contributions, my time and energy will be going to Dennis Kucinich. I’m supporting Dennis Kucinich because he supports me and my family, and all LGBT Americans, without qualification or reservation. To that end, I’ve added a fundraising link on the right sidebar.

But I’m left wondering why more of us don’t support him. [Transcript via Jessica Hoffman at Bilerico.]

MR. CAPEHART: Congressman Kucinich, you’re seemingly for everything the gay community wants. I took a look at your HRC questionnaire. You support, support, support, support, support. So is there anything that the LGBT community — (laughter) — wants —

REP. KUCINICH: By the way — finish your question.

MR. CAPEHART: Is there anything the LGBT community wants that you’re against? (Pause.) There’s got to be something. (Laughter.)

REP. KUCINICH: All I can say is, keep those contributions coming, you’ll have the — (laughter) — and you’ll have the president that you want. (Applause.)

MR. CAPEHART: I’ll take that as a “no.”

REP. KUCINICH: That’s a “no.”

Well, what president do we want? But he doesn’t get our money, neither does anyone else who takes his positions. Much of our community’s contributions are going to Hillary, a candidate who can’t bring herself to fully embrace us. (I’ll get to that later.) I’m tempted sometimes to think that gay Democrats are only slightly different from gay Republicans. We give our money to candidates who promise us less than real equality? We give them lots of money? Is it because they’re more “serious” candidates? Do we help make “serious” candidates out of those who don’t publicly support real equality?

Are we perpetuating the idea that Democrats can’t win by running on their actual values? If so, then never mind the president we want. We’ll get the president we deserve.

Do we deserve a president who says stuff like this? And means it?

REP. KUCINICH: Well, I can tell you from my own experience. I mean, this is really a question of whether you really believe in equality. I mean I see the “equal” sign there, and I have that same sign in my office in Washington , D.C. And imagine that “equal” sign inside a heart. Because what we’re really talking about here is human love. And there’s no power on this Earth greater than human love. And when you understand what real equality is, you understand that people who love each other must have the opportunity to be able to express that in a way that is meaningful, and that the state should not be intervening against people, the state should be there on behalf of people, to make sure that that love has a chance to be facilitated.

So to me, this isn’t even a close question.

My guess is that this statement got a chuckle from a lot of people. We aren’t used to that kind of honestly or sincerity from our politicians. Plus, a guy talking so comfortably about love, and in a presidential forum is kinda … well, gay. Right.

Whatever. Dennis is my guy. He’s the about the only one who seems to understand real leadership.

REP. KUCINICH: Well, let me tell you why — I am the candidate right in the center of the aspirations of the American people’s hopes and dreams. I led the effort in the House of Representatives five years ago in challenging the administration’s march towards war against Iraq . No other candidate in this race can say that, nor can they say that they voted against the war and/or voted against funding for the war consistently. The rest of the country’s come in my direction on that. I took the stand when it was really unpopular to do so.

Being president of theUnited States means that you have to do the right thing the first time. And it means that when you’re talking about civil liberties, marriage equality, employment non- discrimination; when you’re talking about standing for people’s rights to be who they are without fear of being attacked, you’re talking about something that is really essentially American. And so I’m at the center of all of those discussions.

And so my candidacy for president is not only transforming the race, but I want you to understand how it will transform this nation when you have a president who cannot be bought or bossed, who has the willingness to stand up and speak out when others would be silent, who can challenge war, who can challenge corruption. Because my heart is clean, because I have the ability to see and pierce that veil of falsehood which covers so much of our country today. We — I see the world as one, Margaret. I see the world as being interconnected and interdependent. Anything that separates any of us needs to be looked at, and we need to find ways of discussing the imperative of human unity, but not just discussing it. It’s one thing to talk about it; it’s another thing to act from that understanding and awareness. And that’s what I’m prepared to do as the next president of the United States , elected in 2008.

Nope. Not the president most of us want. Melissa Etheridge said, somewhat jokingly that it may take another 5 times before Kucinich is elected president. I wish I had her optimism. I think it’s going to take another 500 elections before anyone remotely like him has a shot at the office.

Who better to lead the country along the path to full equality than someone who already supports full equality? That’s probably why they went with the talk show format rather than the traditional debate format. How would any of the other candidates have been able to respond to any of the above?

Not a chance, though. Damn shame, too. I’d like to live in a country that could elect someone to its highest office with the values Kucinich has. That’s the country we all deserve to live in, if you ask me.


  1. I absolutely love Kucinich and I am so confused as to why he is not more popular. He is smart, dedicated, compassionate. His views are clear, strong, progressive. Are we as progressives such cynics that we brush off real idealism and leadership. Real vision and hope in exchange for a watered down version of that what we really hold dear in the hope that…I can’t even answer what the hopes are. Is it really just “electability”? I mean can’t we see that after the horrible degradation that we’ve been through Kucinich IS electable. That we the people hunger for him and the only reason that we won’t get him or someone else like him is this constant playing it safe. Hedging the bets. Dennis is no holds barred on his belief system. He wouldn’t say there are things that people running for the candidacy shouldn’t say even if we believe it. He wouldn’t say that he was “unsure” about equality just to get into office even if he truly does believe in equality.

    I agree with you. Any money I can and any time I have until the primaries.

  2. The comparison to dating is very insightful. I supported Kucinich in the last election, too. What I still hear again and again from people who agree with Kucinich on the issues is that they don’t think it’s realistic to think he can get elected. It’s a tragic self-fulfilling prophecy.

  3. The reason people say they like Kucinich but won’t vote for him is because they have zero understanding of the primary election process. The purpose of a primary is for rank and file Democratic voters to tell their party — and the alleged “leadership” of the party — which candidate best represents that individual rank-and-file voter. But the media and the monied wing of the Democratic party want to get us lost in the “electibility” game, a word, by the way, that was undefined before John Kerry defined it.

    If you want marraige equality, and Kucinich is the candidate who supports it, and you don’t vote for Kucinich, then the party leadership will say “well I guess they didn’t want marraige equality after all.”

    If you know the Kucinich is the best candidate to represent your self interests, but you vote for another candidate the TV says is “electible” and then you hope that other candidate will adopt your issues once in office, you are exhibiting classic co-dependent behavior — acting against your own self interests in order to please someone in the hope they will change. It’s exactly the same as someone living with an alcoholic or an abusive partner.

    The establishment Democratic Party has flourished because of this behavior. Every two or four years the Democratic Party shows up at your door with candy and flowers, says it really respects you, and promises to work on your behalf. Then as soon as you please it with your vote you get assaulted again. The party continues to fund the war, convinces itself that domestic partnership is the same thing as marriage — even though a judge in Los Angeles ruled a couple of weeks ago that domestic partnerships are nothing more than legalized cohabitation — they continue to allow unfair trade at the expense of U.S. jobs, and they don’t deliver on universal health care.

    It’s time to stand up to the Democratic Party, and let it know that this time you WILL vote in your own best interests and not worry about the polls, the pundits or the promises ready to be broken.

    There are no Republicans running in the Democratic primary. And the Democratic nominee, and the Democratic Party platform, will not be determined by individual primary votes, but by a majority of the the 4,360 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Ideally a majority of those delegates will be Kucinich delegates, but there is still the possibility that after the primaries no candidate will have a majority of delegates, and delegates for any candidate who drops out will be able to switch to Kucinich. So the thing to do is go to your caucus or primary and vote Kucinich, then continue through the delegate selection process in your state.

    So show some pride. Hold your head high and support Kucinich – with your contribution, your voice and your vote.

  4. I voted for Kucinich last time and I will again. It’s pretty basic for me…our political leaders either support full civil rights for all AMericans, or they don’t.

    Obviously, most don’t. So, I guess they don’t need my hard earned queer dollars, now do they…