TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER
As of about an hour ago, the last progressive light went out of the presidential race with an announcement that Dennis Kucinich is throwing in the towel.
Congressman Kucinich Calls It Quits
Photograph: Manny Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images
CLEVELAND (AP) — Democrat Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his second, long-shot bid for the White House as he faces a tough fight to hold onto his other job — U.S. congressman.
In an interview with Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, the six-term House member said he was quitting the race and would make a formal announcement on Friday.
“I will be announcing that I’m transitioning out of the presidential campaign,” Kucinich said. “I’m making that announcement tomorrow about a new direction.”
Kucinich has received little support in his presidential bid; he got 1 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary and was shut out in the Iowa caucuses. He did have a devoted following.
Kucinich, 61, is facing four challengers in the Democratic congressional primary March 4, and earlier this week he made an urgent appeal on his Web site for funds for his re-election.
His decision comes a month after the death of his youngest brother, Perry Kucinich.
Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary.
HE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
This was Kucinich’s second run for the White House. As in 2004, he campaigned for an immediate exit in Iraq. But though the war was even more unpopular than four years ago, Kucinich found it harder to gain traction this time around in a Democratic field overwhelmed by celebrity and money power.
Kucinich made few campaign appearances outside New Hampshire. Aside from the occasional profile of his much younger and very glamourous British wife, Elizabeth Harper, 29, the Kucinich campaign was barely covered by the media.
His preoccupation with seeking the presidency also caused anger in Cleveland. The city’s mayor and a member of the local council last month launched primary challenges to Kucinich, arguing that he had neglected local concerns. In an email appeal to campaign donors, Kucinich said the challenges had been inspired by “corporate interests”.
Despite his apparent failure to gain support in presidential politics, commentators have given Kucinich credit for giving a greater airing to anti-war sentiment. But as he himself admitted yesterday: “There is a point at which you just realize that you, look, you accept it, that it isn’t going to happen and you move on.”
SO MUCH FOR A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE
After being ignored by the media, frozen out of debates and forced off state ballots in recent weeks, it’s no great surprise that Rep. Kucinich is dropping out of the race. But his decision comes at a time when the field of candidates has been narrowed down to three — Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards — all of whom tend to leave progressives cold.
So where will Kucinich’s supporters go now? With Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson out of the running, who will get the liberal, progressive and independent vote in the primaries? It’s difficult to imagine them flocking to Clinton, Obama, or even Edwards, who may not be in this race much longer himself if the pundits’ predictions come true.
Many of RFK Jr.’s supporters feel that this is the most opportune moment for him to jump into the race as a third party or independent candidate — and it’s easy to see why. With the Democratic party so deeply divided, the three frontrunners lack true progressive cred and are unlikely to overcome the perception of being corporate puppets. Where will all of these these disenfranchised Dems turn when their own party is sending them a clear message of “we don’t want or need you to win?”
We want to hear your thoughts on this most recent development. Has Kucinich dropping out of the race affected the way you will vote in your state’s primary or caucus? Will you throw your support to another Democratic candidate, or do you think they’re all worthless? Suffering from Electile Dysfunction? (Hint: you’re not alone.) Will you vote for a third-party, independent, or even a Republican candidate instead? Or will you vote at all?
Copyright RFKin2008.com, with reports from The Guardian and the Associated Press.