portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

government | imperialism & war

Kucinich calls bullshit on Dean

"The President went into the 2004 election with tremendous vulnerability on the war, which the Democratic Party again sacrificed: by avoiding the issue of withdrawal from Iraq in the party platform, omitting it from campaign speeches and deleting it from the national convention."
The Nation
May 3, 2005

An Open Letter to Howard Dean

Dear Chairman Dean,

Speaking before an ACLU crowd last week in Minnesota, the home state of Paul Wellstone, you were quoted as saying, "Now that we're there [in Iraq], we're there and we can't get out.... I hope the President is incredibly successful with his policy now." Did these words really come from the same man who claimed to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and who had recently campaigned on the antiwar theme? What's changed?

Perhaps you now believe that an electoral victory for Democrats in 2006 and beyond requires sweeping this war under the rug. If so, you are only the latest in a long line of recent Democratic leaders who chose a strategy of letting "no light show" between Democrats and the President on the war. Emphasize the economy, instead, they advised, in 2002 and again in 2004.

Following this advice has kept us in the minority. During the 2002 election cycle, when Democrats felt they had historical precedent on their side (the President's party always loses seats in the midterm election), the Democratic leadership in Congress cut a deal with the President to bring the war resolution to a vote, and appeared with him in a Rose Garden ceremony. The "no light" strategy yielded a historic result: For the first time since Franklin Roosevelt, a President increased his majorities in both houses of Congress during a recession.

The President went into the 2004 election with tremendous vulnerability on the war, which the Democratic Party again sacrificed: by avoiding the issue of withdrawal from Iraq in the party platform, omitting it from campaign speeches and deleting it from the national convention.

Why does failure surely follow from sweeping the war and occupation under the rug? Because the war is one of the most potent political scandals of all time, and it has energized grassroots activity like few others.

President Bush led the country into war based on false information, falsified threats and a fictitious estimate of the consequences. His war and the continuing occupation transformed Iraq into a training ground for jihadists who want to hunt Americans, and a cause célèbre for stoking resentment in the Muslim world. His war and occupation squandered the abundant good will felt by the world for America after our losses of September 11. He enriched his cronies at Halliburton and other private interests through the occupation. And he diverted our attention and abilities away from apprehending the masterminds of the September 11 attack; instead, we are mired in occupation. The President's war and occupation in Iraq has already cost $125 billion, nearly 1,600 American lives, more than 11,000 American casualties and the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis. The occupation has been more costly in this regard than the war.

There is no end in sight for the occupation of Iraq. The President says we will stay until we're finished. A recent report by the Congressional Research Service concluded that the United States is probably building permanent military bases in Iraq. The President refuses to consider an exit strategy. The Republican Congress gives the President whatever he asks for.

We can draw no clearer distinction with the President than over this war. He cannot right a wrong (unjustified war) by perpetuating a military occupation. Military victory there is not possible. General Tommy Franks concedes that. The war will end when we say it's over. The Democratic leadership should be pressing for quick withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.

That's what most Democrats want, too. Your performance in the early stages of the primary, and your recent chairmanship of the party, were made possible by many, many progressive and liberal Democrats. It was their hope and expectation that you would prevent the party from repeating its past drift to the Republican-lite center. They hoped that this time the party would not abandon them or its core beliefs again.

Yet you say that you hope the President succeeds. With no pressure exerted from the leadership of the Democratic Party, the past threatens to repeat itself in 2006. We may not leave Iraq or our minority status in Washington for a long time to come.

Dennis J. Kucinich

homepage: homepage: http://www.thenation.com/

Rebuttal...Open Letter to Dennis Kucinich (lifted from Kucinich.us.) 10.May.2005 17:17


Dear Congressman Kucinich,

Regarding your open letter to DNC Chairman Dean, wherein you criticized Mr. Dean for his verbal support of the Presidents strategy in Iraq, I suggest your energy would have been better spent examining your own past failure to vigorously defend the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

Throughout the 2004 primary you did well. You gained the respect of progressives everywhere by imploring us to 'vote our hopes, not our fears.' But then, when the centrist juggernaut of John Kerry seemed to become unstoppable, you relaxed your anti-war pressure so as not to divide the party. If ever there was a time to do the opposite, to insist for inclusion and to stand on principle -even at risk of breaking rank and spitting the party- it was during the summer of 2004, when it became abundantly clear that progressives were 'in the tent' in name only.

Yet you advocated no such boldness. You evidenced much hand-wringing and tears, but rather than play hard ball with Kerry, you acquiesced to assure your continued seat at the table. In the end, in Boston, you stood side by side with John Kerry and on top of a very pro-war democratic platform. Not only was this a colossal strategic mistake, your failure to effectively broker the anti-war sentiment into the platform - and to the Kerry camp- was a colossal failure of leadership. Your leadership. You risked nothing on our behalf, and we got nothing in return.

You have not acknowledged your role in this, yet you now accuse Howard Dean of the same sort of timid political calculus.

While I agree with your observations regarding Mr. Dean, your position would be greatly strengthened if you were to first retreat to your glass house and acknowledge your own vulnerability to the ever-present and ever-daunting political currents. Then and only then could you begin to restore a credible commitment to the muscular defense of progressive values. Should you emerge withsuch an awakening, empowered once again by the unwavering vision of the primacy of progressive values over all other values, including those of party loyalty, I would follow you once again.

You ask this much of Howard Dean. I ask this of you.


Howard Dean is a Fake Dem 10.May.2005 18:23


Howard Dean, a man who openly professed his admiration for the Bush family prior to his presidential run in 2004, is not a progressive or a Republican. He is just another agent of the political establishment masquerading as a progressive. The kind of crap rebuttle by Hellenbach only shows the extent to which the Dems have been infiltrated by elephants in sheep's clothing. I think it's sad that so many progressives fell for Dean's awful portrayal of a blathering liberal fool.

No wonder Karl Rove would walk past Howard Dean rallies and and rave, "Yeah, go Dean!"

fake 10.May.2005 18:45

demreps bothfascists

Dean was a fake candidate and also his crash was scripted with the "wrong microphone".

Leftgatekeepers will however ignore his background anyway:

His former campaign chair was Stephen Grossman - ex-president of AIPAC, close to the Neocon nazis Douglas Feith and Larry Franklin.

His former advisor Joe Trippi came from Gary Hart (CFR) and just recently Trippi supported Toni Blairs campaign in england.

All democrats are traitors, because noone speaks out, what everyone else knows:
9/11 was an Inside Job

Thursday, May 5, 2005; Page A14

...Blair reached out to Penn for strategic advice and also sought help from
Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, who as Dean's campaign manager proved how
effective the Internet can be for organizing and fundraising.

Trippi made several trips to London for meetings with Blair and said he
spent more time talking about the Internet as a tool in governing than he
did the campaign. Blair "was more interested in whether I thought it was
possible for a sitting prime minister to use the Net to get citizens engaged
to help do things," Trippi said.

Takes One to Know One 10.May.2005 19:20


Re: "He is just another agent of the political establishment masquerading as a progressive."

I am confident that this point is based on personal knowledge.

Democrats are looking and smelling like a sea of rancid cowards.

(ps- Dean Stinks particularly badly)

Agree with T.O. Hellenbach 10.May.2005 20:51


I remember sitting there in People's listening to Dennis Kucinich and actually feeling a bit energized because he was saying things I'd never really heard a mainstream party candidate say (not that I'm personally a member of a mainstream party). But I also remember seeing him outside beforehand deciding with his handlers which lapel pin to wear; (I think he opted for some type of flower, but it was all very calculated). And when you get right down to it, he's shown himself to be yet another cog in the power structure...or put another way, another middle-aged white guy in a dark blue suit. Great that he's a vegan. Great that he said all those things, but in the end it's the same old swill.

What a shame 10.May.2005 22:51

George Bender

That Kucinich couldn't break with the Democrats in the general election. If he had only refused to support Kerry and run as an independent in the general election, I could have gladly followed him. But no....

Crap Is As Crap Does, Arch. 11.May.2005 10:22

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

"The kind of crap rebuttle[sic] by Hellenbach only shows the extent to which the Dems have been infiltrated by elephants in sheep's clothing."

Do you ever get tired of nonsensically implying that anyone who doesn't care to march under the Democrats' banner and says so aloud can only be working for Republicans ? Do you enjoy sounding like a complete and utter fool, Archy ? It sure seems that way.