Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Ed Garvey: Kucinich stands for true Democratic principles

Well, I was afraid it might come to this. Wisconsin's most visible progressive drinks the Kool-Aid and signs on aboard the good ship Titanic with an endorsement of Dennis Kucinich in the Wisconsin Democratic primary.

I admire Dennis Kucinich, but I am a realist in politics, which is famously defined as the "art of the possible." And it is impossible for Kucinich to be elected president of the United States at this moment in history, with the electorate closely divided and scared of terrorists under the bed. While Kucinich excites a slice of the activist community and gets a rise out of political junkies, Mr. and Mrs. Average American Voter are simply not going to choose a vegan who wants to start a Department of Peace, and who has a naive and unrealistic view of what we ought to be doing in Iraq. Republicans could simply portray him as a McGovernesque nutjob who is weak on evil and nobody would ever hear one word he says, no matter how right those words are. Bush would have the landslide he acts like he got in 2000, and a mandate to continue burning down the village in the guise of saving it. And then where will we be?

Progressives need to be reminded--yet again, because it looks like the lessons of Ralph Nader have gone unlearned--that winning this election is all that matters. Progressive causes have suffered immeasurable damage during the first Bush term, and there will be little worth saving of them after a second. Nothing we want to do can start to get done unless we win the 2004 election first. Moral victories are losses, period. Support for a candidate who cannot win is a waste of time, and frankly, it's damned dangerous.

I hope that when it becomes clear that Kucinich has utterly no shot, probably after the New Hampshire primary, that he and his supporters will support the eventual nominee, and not go running to Nader or some other doomed candidate who allows them to maintain their political purity but has the effect of delivering the country up to further rape and pillage by the Bush gang. That will be the real test of whether Kucinich supporters really understand what is at stake in 2004--or if they're just dilettantes playing at politics.

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