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Giving Dennis Kucinich His Due | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Giving Dennis Kucinich His Due

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

A certain kind of politician is becoming a dwindling breed. I’m not thinking of the over-praised and frequently eulogized centrist, the kind who spends a career watering things down and gets lionized for having done so. I mean the bold, politically courageous people who make real the cliché, “Speak truth to power.” The ones who are, perhaps, a little too righteous, who don’t compromise easily, but who prove again and again a tendency to be correct. They are the ones who are harder to dismiss, no matter how much the pundits or corporate media try. They insert themselves into the national conversation, pushing their ideas and their vision into the debate.

Dennis Kucinich is one of those politicians. At least, he was. Last week, thanks in large part to Republican gerrymandering, he lost his bid for reelection. In his loss, the country loses something too. Whatever your view of Kucinich’s politics or style, he mattered a great deal.

Kucinich was never afraid to take the positions that should have been at the core of the Democratic party. He opposed the Patriot Act when few brave Democrats would join him. He was opposed to the Iraq war from the outset, whipping his colleagues against it, with the result that three-fifths of House Democrats voted against that immoral, illegal invasion. Once it began, he called on Congress to defund it, when few in his party were willing to go along. Despite almost no political support, he introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney, accusing him (rightly, I believe) of lying to the American people to get us into the war in Iraq.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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