Are you ready to RUMM-BLLLLLE? He’s tiny, he’s whitey, he’s mighty. His mind engages, his presence enrages. He’s wiry, fiery, inspirey. He bobs, he weaves, his people believe. He captivates, castigates, instigates and irritates. He’s the Irish-Croatian Sensation. HERE HE IS AMERICA: 5′7″ OF KVETCHING, JUG-EARED CLEVELAND FURRRRR-YYYYY………Dennis Kucinich.
And you’ll never hear this most feared famous short man since Robert Blake, because they aren’t letting him debate the monied candidates (it was a poetic accident that Tuesday’s debate was held at Las Vegas’ “Cashman Center”). Is this how they’re going to warm up for the most exciting election in our lifetime? Are they already looking ahead to their yawning, no-heavy-lifting showdown against the Washington Generals that they don’t dare let a little hotshot on their practice court, lest he show the world they’re no Harlem Globetrotters?
Honestly, is this the message they’re going to send? Squaring off against the weakest Republican field in at least a generation, they’re afraid of one of their own?
The biggest story of tonight’s Nevada Democratic debate didn’t take place on the stage, but outside the fallowed halls of the Nevada Supreme Court, where Dennis Kucinich had to cool his heels while the men on the bench had the say over who the game’s starters were going to be.
NBC took the principled position that they’d decided that only the top three finishers would be allowed to appear, but don’t think for a moment that the Democratic Party powers-that-be didn’t have their fingerprints all over this. For all their artful vitriol against one another, the Democrats still want to stay on message and appear to be a fairly happy family. But no happy family ever likes each other that much, and no one likes the black sheep brother to come home at Thanksgiving and say that the new baby is ugly.
It doesn’t matter if it was MSNBC alone or MSNBC heavily pressured by the Democratic Party apparatus who wanted Kucinich off that stage tonight. Neither wanted him there.
Why is everyone afraid of this tiny man? It’s perfectly conceivable that NBC didn’t want him on a rostrum tonight any more than they ever have for the simple rules of telegenics: He looks funny. If they were honest, from them that’s an explanation I’d be able to accept. News long ago stopped being about the issues. You can bring all the political integrity you want to the table, but it’s not going to fly if you don’t look good selling it.
As for the Democrats, he really is the surly and opinionated brother that no one wants at the Thanksgiving table, but there may be a bigger reason at work here, as I realized with a little help from a friend. As I puzzled over the Kucinich conundrum tonight with my co-author and compadre, Wayne, he reminded me of Ava Gardner when asked about her relationship with Frank Sinatra and why she bothered with this 119-pound lightweight who, at the time, had no conceivable future in the popular world. “Well, I’ll tell you”, she replied cooly, “19 pounds is cock.”
That may explain everything right there. Of the dozen and a half or so candidates to appear on either rostrum, only wee little Dennis Kucinich has had the stones to step up and put some real teeth in his “J’accuse!” of the current administration. Whatever your political affiliation, it’s hard to deny that the Bush-Cheney team is any more comfortable with the truth than Bill Clinton has ever been with celibacy and fidelity, and if extramarital fellatio is enough to warrant impeachment hearings, then (pick one) Blackwater, Guantanamo, Attorneygate, Contempt of Congress, and approval ratings that suggest most Americans wouldn’t trust them to mow their lawn let alone run their country–any one of those dubious resume entries should at least be worth an afternoon in front of the C-Span cameras and Carl Levin or snide, strident Joe Biden and his bad hairplugs.
But no one wants to upset the apple cart too much, lest they get tarred with the same brush as the ‘98 Congressional Republicans who voted for articles of impeachment against a President with a 69% approval rating.
Dennis Kucinich doesn’t care, though. He doesn’t have any big endorsements to lose. Texas, New York, California, and Florida are still likely going to go to someone else.
At the end of the day, no one should be afraid of this diminutive little powermouse. He may have a 19-pound cock, but he’s not going to stick it up your loading dock or use it on your wife. He may however use it as a cudgel to rap you across your myopic skull and wake you up to start asking the right questions and speaking “WTF???” to power. That’s good for America, good for politics, and good for ratings (even if it does make a lot of people feel inadequate).