Liberal SHEEP Bash Kucinich for Being Anti-WarSubmitted by nathalja on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 16:54
Texas Democrats denied the Cleveland congressman a spot on the state's primary ballot because he crossed out that provision in paperwork he filed to participate in Texas' Democratic presidential primary. Kucinich informed the party he'd only pledge to support a nominee "who would not employ war as an instrument of foreign policy," court documents say.
No Democratic candidate has given such a pledge, nor is this a part of the party platform; unsurprising, really, for the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Kucinich's criteria for support cannot be met by any Democrat currently running.
Kucinich and country music star Willie Nelson, a Texas voter who supports Kucinich, challenged the Democratic Party's decision in United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. They said the "loyalty oath" violated Kucinich's "associational, speech and due process rights" and asked that Kucinich be placed on the state's March 4 primary ballot.
After listening to an hour of arguments on Friday morning, Judge Lee Yeakel issued a ruling (PDF) in favor of the Texas Democratic Party.
The other candidates have signed this oath and are promoted accordingly on the Texas Democrats' web site.
The Congressman's reasoning is made clear in a statement issued by his lawyer to Associated Press per the Dallas Morning News:
[Kucinich's lawyer Donald] McTigue argued that Kucinich's First Amendment rights would be violated by the required oath. He said it blocks his ballot access and would restrain his future speech if he didn't support the Democrats' presidential nominee.
"They never explain what their justification for doing it is," McTigue said of the oath. "It requires you to affirmatively support, not just stay on the sidelines."
Which is a perfectly reasonable requirement to make of anyone seeking our nomination. In fact, that's kind of the point of the entire exercise: the people vote, and the contestants, along with the rest of us, support whomever emerges as the party's choice.
A paramount issue for Kucinich in the dispute is his opposition to the war in Iraq and his belief in "not using the war as an instrument of foreign policy," McTigue said. The congressman does not want to be bound to supporting a Democratic candidate who disagrees with him on that and other issues, he said. [Emphasis added]
With Markos now adding the term 'concern trolling' to the national lexicon, perhaps it's time to add 'purity trolling' to the discourse as well. Kucinich's specific views on foreign and military policy are not shared by any of the potential nominees (or, judging by his anemic results at the ballot box, by more than 2% or so of the primary electorate), therefore, based on his arguments to the Texas court, it seems plausible that Kucinich will refrain from supporting the eventual nominee. Certainly, given the expense involved in actually going to court and now, filing an appeal, coupled with the yawning void that is his campaign treasury (Kucinich is currently selling Palm Beach County's old voting machines to make a buck, which is actually kind of cool), he seems rather serious about not making such an affirmation.
Kucinich's refusal to take the oath creates two scenarios: one, that he will sit on the sidelines after the primary process chooses the nominee, or two, that he will throw his support to a candidate running in another party or as an independent.
This is troubling, considering an earlier bit of eccentricity, in which Kucinich publicly dallied with the idea of a ticket of himself and neo-Confederate anti-war candidate wackjob Ron Paul. Given the persistent chatter about a possible independent run by Paul, Kucinich's litigious refusal to positively affirm his support of the winner of the Democratic nomination can be seen in a new and even more deeply irritating light. While Kucinich has disavowed the possibility of an independent run for himself, and retreated from the idiocy of a run with Paul rather quickly, his actions in Texas raise a legitimate question as to his intent. The only candidate currently running who could even implausibly be said to eschew war as an instrument of foreign policy is, indeed, Ron Paul, the isolationist, Stormfront-endorsed libertarian. Then again, Paul also thinks the Civil War should not have been fought.
One can argue about whether or not the loyalty oath required by the Texas Democrats is a good thing. It is somewhat difficult to imagine the party bringing a court case against those candidates that fall short of it; for example, Article I, Section 6 spells out broad privileges for the speech of Members of Congress. One can equally argue over whether Kucinich's actions presage a Ron Paul endorsement and, in effect, pulling a Lieberman; they may or may not. But it is clear that according to the Congressman's own narrow criteria, he has little choice but to endorse Paul, which would itself be an act of supreme disloyalty to his, our, party. Considering that Kucinich ran a commercial proclaiming himself the only real Democrat in the race - yes, rly - the irony fairly drips off the press release.
What's inarguable, however, is that Kucinich's refusal to take a largely symbolic oath of loyalty to the party's choice is a slap in the face of Democratic primary voters and of the Progressive movement. We implicitly expect all those running for President to commit to supporting whomever emerges as the choice of our party, if they themselves are attempting, however inartfully or failingly, to be that choice themselves.