Sunday, March 9, 2008

In Dennis They Trust

After extensive electronic browbeating from Rick Wilson, I am now surfacing to draft my first post to this august blog. And I will begin with a subject that, for better or for worse, is intimately familiar to me: Dennis Kucinich.

As I have been going around telling people since returning to Cleveland in January from my yearlong vacation (fully paid by the federal government) in Southwest Asia during 2007, Dennis will win - with a majority of the vote - his five-way primary for the Democratic nomination on March 4. And history (or at least the voters of the district I know so well) has again proven what an astute observer of Northeast Ohio politics your dear author is...and humble, too.

The only difference this time was the fundraising. Despite truckloads of dollars being thrown at Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, the annointed candidate of "official Cleveland" (who doesn't even live in the 10th District), Dennis emerged victorious. Something almost made me want to cheer for him as the election approached, if for no other reason than to verify that my own failure to defeat him in the 2006 general election had nothing to do with the (very) modest size of our warchest and everything to do with the hold he has on the electorate in this district (and to give our 2008 nominee, former State Representative Jim Trakas, the best chance of winning in November). Even as scores of Republican friends of mine pulled Dem ballots last Tuesday so they could "vote against Dennis" (not to mention to vote for Hillary to keep that delicious nomination fight going), Dennis demonstrated anew the affection West Siders have for him. Indeed, that unbridled adoration for Cleveland's former "Boy Mayor" baffles those of us who have fought to defend this country, understand the benefits of limited government and lower taxes, and know in our bones that any further expansions of the welfare state (whether socialized medicine, manditory pre-school, or the other socialist proposals Dennis promotes) will break our nation.

But then the story took an even more bizarre turn. I was in Washington this past week for my first drill weekend back with the Navy Reserve unit I serve with and to connect with some old colleauges. I also attended the annual State of Ohio Birthday Celebration at the Library of Congress. As I was making a circuit of the room, who do I see but the good Congressman from Ohio 10? So, I walked up to him and experienced pol that he is, it took only a moment for him to realize who I was (although we happened into one another exactly twice on the campaign trail in 2006, since he refused to debate me at the City Club of Cleveland or elsewhere). He was quite charming, asking, "what are you doing now," etc. When I reminded him that I had recently returned from a 12-month tour in Iraq, the man who has railed against the Bush Adminstration and its so-called "illegal" war, refused to support a 9/11 commemorative resolution, and appeared on Syrian state television to denounce the country in whose national legislative body he holds a seat, he thanked me no fewer than three times in about a 90 second conversation for my service. Apparently, the small role I played in the war wasn't illegal, but was something for which gratitude should be shown by a Member of Congress. Interesting, that.

So, it's good to be back in the land of Dennis, surreal as it usually is. Perhaps one day the people of Greater Cleveland will realize what they continue to do to our region by sending this man to represent our interests in Washington. When they figure that out, I'll be here to step "once more into the breach, dear friends."

But for now, I must sign off. One of the other great joys of the North Coast visited our fair region this weekend - a late winter snowstorm. And there is about 15 inches of the white stuff to move from one location to another outside my house. So, get out your shovels, kids, and stay tuned for my next post!

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