Opinion: Is Tuesday looking so bad that even Dennis Kucinich is an endangered species?
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Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is a tough little guy who has bounced up and back from numerous family and political adversities in his 64 years.
He’s lived in the family car; shined shoes; been a court clerk, a young Cleveland city councilman, a victorious, obstreperous big-city mayor, a defeated, obstreperous big-city mayor; and, since the Clinton landslide of 1996, an obstreperous House member from Ohio’s 10th congressional district.
But for how long?
Now seeking his eighth term, the liberal Kucinich is up against a competitive Republican opponent this time (Peter Corrigan, an area businessman) in a depressed city in a depressed state in a depressing year for Democrats.
You may have read a little something here or there about how bad election day is supposed to be for President Obama’s party, even in Ohio, which Obama won, 51% to 47%, in 2008 after losing the primary there to Hillary Clinton, 53% to 45%.
Obama hasn’t visited Ohio as often as he golfs. But he’s been there enough to know that the continuing high unemployment rate (10%) in the crucial battleground state is helping to....
...hold virtually all Democrats behind in statewide races there, including governor (incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland vs Republican ex-Rep. John Kasich , who’s had numerous GOP heavyweights pitch in including Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour) and senator (the GOP’s ex-Rep. Rob Portman, who’s dominating Lieut. Gov. Lee Fisher for George Voinivich’s open seat). (As for Ohio’s import, Republicans have not won the presidency without the state in 102 years.) Obama will return to Cleveland yet again this Sunday as part of his last-minute rhetorical carpet-bombing. See, ‘Why is nobody listening to Obama?’ But he probably won’t repeat the mistake he made on ‘The Daily Show.’ The Democrat paid a sincere compliment to his economic team. But even that sympathetic audience laughed.
(Severe Weather Alert: If the GOP’s election successes trickle down to state legislative races in the Buckeye state and elsewhere, Republicans will be drawing the new legislative districts from the 2010 Census that will shape political representation nationally for the next decade.)
Now, it seems even Kucinich’s once-safe local House seat could be among the projected 50-or-60 changing political posteriors when the next Congress convenes come January, making Nancy Pelosi a new former House speaker and turning Ohioan John Boehner into a new former non-Speaker.
A private poll reported earlier this month by the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol indicated that Kucinich held only a 4-point lead in a district that he used to own with winning percentages in the 70s. Then, RealClearPolitcs’ Sean Trende waded in with his expert outlook. Even in Obama’s big year of 2008, Kucinich’s support waned to 57%.
With Kucinich’s preposterous past presidential runs, his proposal for a federal Department of Peace, the non-recovery Recovery Summer and his sidling up to Obama to vote on healthcare may come back to haunt him now as seeming silliness in the face of real economic issues pressing in on Cleveland’s West Side families.
Now that the 2010 midterm campaign is nearly over, everyone is trying to collect last-minute money, Barack and Michelle and Joe, even John McCain, who doesn’t need it to ensure another Senate term. Kucinich’s Thursday money plea seemed particularly plaintive: ‘Why You May Want to Contribute Now.’
‘I cannot take this election for granted,’ Kucinich said. ‘We need immediate help to raise the funds to spend for last-minute media buys to make sure there is no question about the outcome. Please send a contribution.’
-- Andrew Malcolm
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