Kucinich Backs Obama

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 17:37


Kucinich switches from Edwards in 2004, and decides to back Obama instead:

Democratic Presidential candidate and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich opened the New Year by publicly asking his Iowa supporters to vote for him in the caucuses this Thursday, and suggesting that if he did not make the 15% threshold, their second ballot should be for Senator Barack Obama. "This is obviously an 'Iowa-only' recommendation, as Sen. Obama and I are competing in the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday where I want to be the first choice of New Hampshire voters.

"I hope Iowans will caucus for me as their first choice this Thursday, because of my singular positions on the war, on health care, and trade. This is an opportunity for people to stand up for themselves. But in those caucus locations where my support doesn't reach the necessary threshold, I strongly encourage all of my supporters to make Barack Obama their second choice. Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change."

I think Kucinich has something against the candidate that he believes is taking away his natural supporters. Back in 2004, I was very surprised that Kucinich didn't back Dean, and instead went for Edwards. I'm somewhat less surprised that he is backing Obama this time, since Kucinich has focused on the war and Obama is the only other candidate who opposed it from the start.

Still, backing away from Edwards after Edwards moved even further to the rhetorical and policy left seems odd to me. Of course, Kucinich is indeed an odd fellow, and I don't pretend to understand his thinking. One of the Kucinich supporters I know, my brother's long term girlfriend, even likes to satirically describe Kucincih as "a magical elf." That seems apt to me.

It should also be pointed out that the Kucinich endorsement will matter less in 2008 than it did in 2004.  Four years ago, Kucinich was polling at an average of 3.3% in Iowa just before the caucuses. Right now, he is only polling at around 1% in Iowa. Also, I'm starting to think that the entrance poll will determine the media narrative after Iowa, not the final caucus results. If someone wins the entrance poll, but loses after second-choices are allocated, both the campaign and the media will point that out in pretty much every write-up of the caucuses. In order for a candidate to score a real momentum boost from Iowa, it will be necessary to win both the entrance poll and the final results by 4% or more.

Chris Bowers :: Kucinich Backs Obama

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Great post. Why indeed does Kucinich hate outsider progressives? (0.00 / 0)
Back in 2004 I knew a handful of Dean/Kucinich fencesitters who were baffled and disappointed by his Edwards endorsement. They never really forgave their candidate for going with what was apparently the safer, more insider-friendly choice of Edwards. My guess is that that might account, at least to some degree, for Kucinich's more modest poll numbers this time around.

Kucinich Doesn't Matter (0.00 / 0)
and never has. He takes up very little oxygen and in 2004 and now is only in the race to make some noise and get some face time.

As for a serious and meaningful discussion on who gets supporters to caucus for another candidate I'm still waiting for an analysis on the front page as to where Biden, Richardson, and to a lesser extent Dodd are going to ask their support to go. I let my feelings on that already be known and I suspect I am right which is why it is not being talked about here.

Richardson and Biden's combined 11% are a back-breaker if they go where I think they 'naturally' will.


[ Parent ]
Kucinich is and always has been (0.00 / 0)
A vanity candidate.  In a way, he's the Ron Paul of the Left.  People overlook his conservative stands on reproductive rights and his kookier statements because they like his stand against the war.  He is a spoiler for progressives.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
I haven't overlooked it (0.00 / 0)
Then again, I would respect Kucinich more if he had remained a pro-lifer than made what struck me as one of the most blatant example of pandering by flip-flopping on abortion.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Seems obvious to me (0.00 / 0)
Kucinich would rather be a big fish in a small progressive pond than a small fish in a big progressive pond.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Cutting the italic (4.00 / 1)
Just getting rid of the italics

[ Parent ]
Entrance poll (4.00 / 1)
I had an inkling once the entrance poll consortium was formed that it could throw a wrench into the works.  I hope it does not.  These campaigns have all been playing the same caucus game for 12 months.  The goals of the game are:  (1) win the most "state delegate equivalents" you can, and (2) keep your most feared opponent's total low.  The fair thing would be to report the results of this game and try to guess as to why one candidate did better than others.

But the media is in control of spinning the results and they don't care about fairness.

I imagine that if Clinton comes in first in the entrance poll but not in the actual contest, her campaign will act like they won, particularly if they come in third in the actual contest for delegates.  Because they will need to.  But it will be a risky strategy.  Let's say the entrance poll is C 29, O 27, E 25, and the delegate result is O 34, E 32, C 27.  The media could ridicule you for touting the results of a barely scientific poll of 1500 voters over the official results of a 190,000 person caucus, and they will choose to if they prefer an unsullied "Obama won!" narrative.

On the other hand, if Edwards wins the actual contest...you can fill in the rest.  Whoever won the entrance poll will probably get favorable media treatment.

And that's not right!


What if the electoral college and the popular vote are split? (0.00 / 0)
Forget the second-choice angle for a moment and focus on the fact that each Iowa precinct gets an equal number of delegates, regardless of population.  What happens if say Obama gets more voters, but Edwards wins more precincts and more delegates (a reasonable possibility given that Obama is stronger with city-types and Edwards is said to be strong in the rural west)?

Does the entrance poll include any way of noting how many people are voting where?  Would it provide the kind of raw numbers needed to mount an "I won the popular vote but the caucus rules screwed me" argument?

Because that could get interesting.


I really loved Kucinich and... (0.00 / 0)

.........his very attractive wife on CNN talking about her tongue stud.


Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

Kucinich clearly doesn't give a damn about his issues. (4.00 / 4)
All he is a narcissist who seeks revenge against anyone who pushes his issues. It's like he thinks he has a patent on progressivism.

It'll matter more than we think ... (0.00 / 0)
I agree with Bowers that the Kucinich factor won't help Obama as much as it helped Edwards in 2004, but I think it's too narrow to just look at his 1% support and assume that's teh only impact it will have.

A lot of progressive Democrats like Kucinich, but have never identified as supporters because he's a "fringe" candidate.  His endorsement of Obama lends a certain "stamp of approval" for these voters, many of whom have been torn between Edwards and Obama.

All things considered, I wouldn't underestimate it.


Payback? (4.00 / 1)
Remember Edwards leaning over to Hillary after a debate and telling her they should limit the number of candidates at debates? If you forgot, I'm sure Dennis didn't.

I suggest you read the arctice from (4.00 / 1)
Cleveland's Scene magazine. The King of Spin. It will confirm your suspicions.

"They pour syrup on shit and tell us it's hotcakes." Meteor Blades

Magical elf? Firesign Theatre sez: (4.00 / 1)
"Don't crush that dwarf, hand me the pliers!"

Your right! (4.00 / 1)
Kucinich is obviously jealous, you can see this by the fact that he didn't support edwards. Who has suddenly transformed from the pro-business, pro-free-trade, pro-war supprter, to the more real, mans man, blue collar supporter, anti-war candidate.
  Edwards has promised, really promised to support you, the average man, despite his horrid past, of never supporting you the average worker.

Thank you guys for showing, that because Kucinich supports the person who, when he went to washington, immediatly began to work to change the system, and who always was opposed to the war, and who has a consistent track record of getting results in progressive areas; he must be jealous over Edwards support.

You guys see past the conservative media's ploys, you read between the lines, you divine the holy truth and save the average man from the man with the consistent record, I salute you.


Because Kucinich never, ever, changed his position (0.00 / 0)
on anything. Especially not on something as fundamental as, say, abortion.

But seriously, this is a pattern. His endorsement of Edwards in 2004 cannot be spun as anything else but revenge against Dean for treading on what Kucinich views as his territory, the entire left-wing of the Democratic party. There's every reason to believe that he's doing it again.



[ Parent ]
Not endorsement, (0.00 / 0)
deal, I should say.

[ Parent ]
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