Embarrassing Dennis

Embarrassing Dennis

by digby

Glenn Greenwald says everything that needs to be said about the near universal reaction to the defeat of Dennis Kucinich. It's dispiriting, to say the least, that such a stalwart liberal losing his office is celebrated with even more gusto than the defeat of your average Blue Dog, but there it is.

I realize that Kucinich was an odd duck and that he probably "asked for it" by supporting the gerrymander along with a hundred other bad political decisions. Nobody ever said he was a master strategist. What he was, was the guy who occupied the most leftward space in our political system along with just a small handful of others like Barbara Lee and Bernie Sanders --- and that's important. It's not like they grow on trees.

Yes, he was by mainstream political standards "wacky" in his policy views, but then so am I. And it's true that he said some embarrassing things at times, but so what? There really are worse things than being embarrassing --- in fact, it's often a brave and necessary thing to do. Frankly, I think we could use a few more people who are willing to be embarrassing on our side. This pusillanimous unwillingness to be uncool or unrespectable is a shortcoming not a strength. It limits our creativity and turns liberalism into a cramped and inflexible ideology, smaller and less interesting all the time.

Kucinich was an indomitable, true blue liberal who stood up and said what everyone else was too afraid to say. It would be just terrific if we had a lot more politicians who had the courage of his convictions and fewer of his personality quirks. But unfortunately we don't, so I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be celebrating. One less embarrassment in the House?

I guess it all depends on who you find more embarrassing -- flaky liberals or corrupt hypocrites. I happen to be mortified whenever I see the likes of Steny Hoyer speaking for the Democratic Party, but that's just me. Dennis never made me feel ashamed the way those guys do.