Dennis Kucinich, Crazier Than You Thought

Jason Zengerle reports that Dennis Kucinich is even crazier and has less chance of getting elected president than you thought.

Kucinich’s ’08 gambit is less a presidential campaign than it is an elaborate fiction. That’s because, aside from participating in the debates, he does virtually none of the things a presidential candidate does.

Yes, Kucinich goes out and campaigns, but only in the narrowest slice of America– generally confining his stumping to vegan restaurants, small colleges, and other places that one finds within the listening area of a community radio station that broadcasts “Democracy Now!” And, as he hopscotches across this Pacifica archipelago, Kucinich doesn’t offer much in the way of traditional presidential campaign rhetoric. While he does talk about de-funding the war in Iraq and instituting single-payer health insurance, he spends much of his time dishing out gooey, New Age sentiments–telling people about how “we are interconnected and interdependent” and that “the call for human unity is the call to save the planet and save the world and the universe, and we imbue all of our citizens with the sense of love for each other.”


So Kucinich wages a Potemkin campaign. He declares that he expects to be president while he does nothing that would make that possibility, remote as it already is, closer to being a reality. Every politician, to be sure, lives in a bubble; but Kucinich’s campaign exists in its own biosphere. On his recent swing through New Hampshire, he began his day at a high school in the university town of Durham, where a group called “Teaching Peace” was holding a conference. There, amid booths selling “Unscented Peace Vigil Votives” and Native American crafts, he mingled with about 100 people. Many of the adults already seemed to know him. One, a self-described “awakening coach” named Robert Foulkrod, first met Kucinich when he came to a retreat on Foulkrod’s Maine farm 20 years ago. “I’m trying to inspire the city of Nashua to be organized for Dennis,” he explained, before adding, “I’m not organizing it myself. I’m into awakening people. Do you know anyone in Nashua?” Meanwhile, Kucinich’s attempts to win the support of those he didn’t personally know–namely, the high school students in attendance–were largely for naught. “I’m not old enough to vote,” one explained apologetically after Kucinich asked for her support. “But you’re old enough to influence thousands!” he pleaded in response.

Read the whole thing; it’s quite bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I think I’ve read elsewhere that it is about money. If he can qualify for matching funds he wins by losing. Kinda like The Producers if you think about it.

  2. Triumph says:

    Yeah, it is pretty crazy to talk about “gooey New Age sentiments” like “human unity”.

    Bush: “In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another, and an abiding love for our country. Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith, and every background.”

  3. soccer dad says:

    Charles Austin is correct.
    See Al Sharpton for example.

  4. floyd says:

    He couldn’t have less chance of getting elected president than I thought.

  5. Tano says:

    I cant let pass the opportunity to actually agree with Floyd on something.

    Tell us James, who in this known universe had ever pegged Dennis’s chances of becoming president as anything above zero?

    I think the piece comes off as a gratuitous hit at an easy target. If you want to write a piece about politicians talking empty nonsense, in a hermetic bubble disconnected from the real world, why not play in the big leagues and cover the president’s forays outside the beltway?

  6. James Joyner says:

    who in this known universe had ever pegged Dennis’s chances of becoming president as anything above zero?

    Aside from Kucinich? There are some in the Netroots, I think, who see him as a guy who was right on the war and just isn’t being taken seriously because he’s not part of The Establishment. He raised enough money in 2004 to qualify for nearly a million in matching funds, so somebody took him seriously.

    I think the piece comes off as a gratuitous hit at an easy target.

    He’s not just some vanity candidate; he’s a sitting Congressman. It’s worth noting, sometimes, what a kook this guy is.

    If you want to write a piece about politicians talking empty nonsense …

    It’s much more than that. Certainly, politicians do that every day. The man’s a loony toon.

  7. Tano says:

    Far be it for me to defend Dennis – I guess I really do have to admit that I agree with you, he is a loony tune, but it does somewhat irk me that he is being singled out here, in the article and by you. Personally, I think George Bush is a loony tune, every bit as much as Kucinich, albeit from a different perspecitve, and infinitly more dangerous to the health and welfare of the country and the world.

  8. Bandit says:

    Crazy …LIKE A FOX gets undeserved national exposure, perpetual incumbency, and probably some other side benefits for talking to hippies. Who’s crazy now?

  9. floyd says:

    Tano; Remember! Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you!

    BTW: Isn’t everyone in congress pretty much a looney tune?? At least a “Porky…Pig” if not a full fledged “Foghorn Leghorn”!
    AttaB…AttaB…AttaB… That’s All Folks!!

  10. Of course he’s crazy. What do you expect from a guy who thinks the US has mind control satellites (he submits a bill every year to cut off their funding)?