by Ted Manna
American Reporter Correspondent
December 16, 2007
EXCLUSION FROM DEBATE ANGERS KUCINICH'S WIFE
DENVER, Dec. 14, 2007 -- Elizabeth Kucinich is mad, and this roving ambassador for her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, wants everyone to know.
In an exclusive interview with The American Reporter Thursday, after a grueling campaign stump through front-range Colorado, Mrs. Kucinich's green eyes flashed with fire when questioned about her husband's exclusion from Thursday's Democratic debate in Iowa. She placed the blame squarely on the restrictions placed on the democratic process by corporate interests, the very thing all the other candidates say they will eliminate if elected.
"Don't you dare think you actually have a voice," she said. "Don't you dare think that there are other people in this country who think like you," she said.
Mrs. Kucinich characterized her husband's candidacy as "an opportunity for America to reclaim it's independence, to really stand up as the people against this ... spin machine.
"You have allowed democracy to be undermined if you gag the only candidate that really stands with the people on all the issues. This isn't about personal ego. This about Americans. This is about democracy," she said.
"The Iowa caucuses have been portrayed as having national implications, and if the Register has decided to use hair splitting technicalities to exclude the leading voice of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, then the entire process is suspect," said the Kucinich campaign in a prepared statement. "The Des Moines Register's arbitrary and unreasonable exclusion of Congressman Kucinich is consistent with the treatment that the Congressman has received from the entrenched political and institutional interests in Iowa."
While the newspaper allowed peripheral candidate Allan Keyes to participate with the Republicans in their debate, it excluded Dennis Kucinich because his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront. At least Kucinich might not have accused his opponents of all being full of hot air and one of the causes of global warming, as Keyes did on Wednesday in the Republican part of the debate.
The Democratic Party and the included presidential candidates did themselves no favors today by excluding Kucinich. In fact, they probably gave themselves a black eye. Undecided and skeptical Americans may be thinking, "What have they got to hide? Is this silenced voice the one telling the truth?"
Meeting candidates, their wives and their volunteers offers insight into the humanity of these hard-working people. They have families and businesses; they work for a living and give enormous amounts of time and energy for their country and its ideals. This is real, non-partisan, grassroots level politics - eye-to-eye conversation among friends and equals. This is real democracy - meeting a Presidential campaigner, a gracious and beguiling woman, married to someone who may be the next President of the United States, and learning that she misses her husband. For her, that is the worst part of the campaign.
"These people make themselves available to all and sundry, without regard for their own personal time or sacrifices. They never fail to see the best in the people they meet," she said. Mrs. Kucinich confessed that the best part of the campaign was the feeling that everyone she has met, from different backgrounds and walks of life, treated her like family.
The transplanted Brit doesn't hesitate to wade into the campaig's central issues, whether it's about the democratic process or on gun control in the wake of multiple shootings at two evangelical Christian churches in the Denver area this week. While Dennis Kucinich supports enhanced background checks for gun owners, his wife even went a step further, recommending a mental health background check as well.
But the tragedy is that democracy becomes contingent on the whims and arbitrary rules of a newspaper that has a responsibility to all the voters of the state. The Register's failure to meet that responsibility is yet another way democracy is made less vital, less alive, less passionate. Bit it hasn't changed Elizabeth Kucinich, or her husband.