Call them the establishment, the defenders of the status quo, the business community, whatever: in celebrating the withdrawal of Dennis Kucinich from the presidential race and denigrating his campaign of conscience, our betters are telling us to forget about fair trade and labor policies, true universal health care, peace and nonintervention, and much more.
The Big Boys are telling us to accept whatever they’re willing to concede. And so we’re supposed to swallow years more of troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, half-trillion-dollar annual Pentagon budgets, pennies for housing, unaffordable health care and inadequate insurance, and relentless attacks on unions and working people’s lives.
I hope Kucinich will win re-election to Congress. His Cleveland-area district is fortunate to have him; voters there should watch out for the business-friendly Dems who’d like to snatch the reins from him and put them back in “respectable” hands. Kucinich’s presence in Congress is important for all Americans, too, since his steadfast progressive voting record shows the way for others (like our own Louise Slaughter) to oppose war and corporate power.
The other day on the Diane Rehm show (NPR), commentator Juan Williams, who plays a liberal on the radio though he profits from an association with Fox, chuckled loudly when Rehm asked him about the effect of the Kucinich campaign. The laughter was typical of the lumpen pundit class: these people don’t recognize anything beyond economic brute force, in the form of political contributions, which they regard as the sine qua non of the “credible” candidate, and promises of revolving-door payoffs. Populist insurgencies? Don’t make these guys laugh.
But as bad as Williams was on NPR, a Rochester liberal beat him in this media race to the bottom. Mary Anna Towler, in a City Newspaper editorial endorsing Barack Obama, dismissed Kucinich as one who ran more on rhetoric than substance. Even more oddly, she charged his “anger is troubling.” (Vital context: She said much the same about John Edwards. In this case, too, it’s probably a pro-union stance that put her off. I know from hard experience that she and her associates and attorneys are fans of what in the trade is called “union prevention.” City Newspaper occasionally papers this over with sympathetic coverage of local workers’ issues. Don’t be fooled.)
Towler’s characterization comes out of nowhere. I’ve followed the Kucinich campaign pretty closely; I’ve seen him in debates, on news programs, and in video clips – and never once have I seen anything like anger. He’s consistently analytical and measured, with just the right level of intensity to show he really cares. But I know Towler has had a mindless grudge against Kucinich for years. She brushed his 2004 candidacy aside in a rush to endorse John Kerry for the New York primary. The pattern is clear: City Newspaper hunkers down in the undemocratic wing of the Democratic Party.