His is one of the strongest progressive voices in national politics, and he just lost his job to fellow Democrat Rep. Marcy Kaptur in an awkward primary showdown on Super Tuesday.
Both candidates found themselves the victims of gerrymandering after declining population eliminated two of Ohio’s House seats and allowed Republicans to force a primary. According to The Hill, “A last-minute change to the map, put into place by Republican state lawmakers, added more of Kaptur’s Toledo-area constituents to the new district, giving her a built-in advantage.”
Kaptur will go on to face none other than Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher in the general election, which she should win in the Democratic-leaning district. She has served in the House for 14 terms, longer than any other woman, and is next in line to be the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
Kucinich has been in Congress for 15 years, and he ran for president twice. During that time he made peace abroad and prosperity for working people at home his signature issues. Kucinich proved unwavering in his convictions, except for two well-known examples. His views on abortion, which he had for many years opposed, evolved to be pro-choice. And his was one of the key votes in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, which he had railed against for its failure to provide consumers with a nonprofit or government-run alternative to private insurance.
Kucinich explained his turnaround on the health care bill in an interview on Truthdig Radio: “I understood that any opportunity we have to impact health care policy after this bill is really going to depend on whether the bill passes or not. If the bill goes down, we may not see another opportunity in our lifetime to have any serious discussion about expanding health care, about redefining it, about transforming it, making it more comprehensive. There are so many issues that are not addressed in this bill, and the whole debate occurs in the context of a for-profit health care system. And so there’s a lot of flaws here. But to get past the flaws, you have to make it possible to show that you can make some progress on health care even on a bill that’s flawed.”
Before his election to the House, Kucinich served in the Ohio state Senate and was the mayor of Cleveland.
Kucinich may be out of a job, but he has much to do. Whether he runs again or finds another platform for his voice, he has legions of fans across the country waiting for him to finish out his term and then get back to work. —PZS
AP / Mark Duncan
Rep. Dennis Kucinich meeting with steelworkers in Cleveland.