Gore Vidal on the Democratic Debate Debacle
I don’t know how many of you were as appalled as I was at the way that the presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich was totally erased from the last Democratic debate held in Iowa. This was a decision that was made, I can tell, jointly by the one-time voice of AIPAC, Mr. Wolf Blitzer, and, at the same time, The Des Moines Register — or whatever it is called — a paper of no consequence for the United States of America.
Elements of right-wingism are keeping his voice from being heard, even though there are many millions of us (Kucinich is ahead of both Biden and Dodd in the national polls) out here who like to hear his voice. He is in the great tradition of the original People’s Party of the 1880s; he is in the tradition of George Washington and of Thomas Jefferson, and to silence him with a bunch of political hacks who have made such a mess of our political system, pretending these were the only voices who could talk as presidential candidates … is it because of their campaign budgets?
Now, I know, as all of you know, that people can come in with millions of dollars, like Romney and so on, and can buy time in Iowa and in the North Pole or wherever it is they are running. They can buy it, but to get an honest member of Congress speaking out for the people of the country is a great and rare thing.
I have listened to many political debates in my lifetime, if I may pull rank because I have been around longer than anybody else, and here is a voice not only against the war but the entire course leading us to it. I haven’t heard anybody who has ever listened to Kucinich who didn’t say, “Oh yes, yes, what he says is true, but nobody will ever take him seriously.”
Well, of course nobody will ever take him seriously, because they won’t let him on TV to stand side by side with the other candidates — some of them attractive candidates but whose roots are not as deep as his in what we may call “American life.” Dennis Kucinich was brought up in poverty, something the other candidates talk about but he actually lived through. He has known poverty in the richest country on Earth, a country that is constantly boasting, that seems to be out of control with self-love. Well, I say let’s have less self-love and pay some attention to our serious critics — and he is one — and his is a voice that’s showing us how to get to the exit from the box that we are all in.
It is so typical for CNN, a lousy network, and whatever that awful newspaper is called. Do we want to listen to them at the close of a primary campaign in a key state? They have nothing to say of any interest, and so they eliminate any voice that might say something intelligent. I have never felt more ashamed being an American than when I saw how this debate was handled.