Dennis Kucinich says he's insulted. The local congressman and long-shot presidential candidate says it's "an insult to the voters, and the height of cynicism for candidates to refuse to take the public stage and subject themselves to public scrutiny."
The congressman's fuming because prominent Nevada Democrats, and several presidential candidates, have forced the cancellation of an August presidential candidate debate, sponsored by Fox News. Most voters would agree with him that politicians "take the public stage and subject themselves to public scrutiny." The only problem is that Kucinich has refused to publicly debate any challenger to his seat since coming to Washington in 1997.
A few examples:
Mike Dovilla, Kucinich's GOP general election foe in 2006, was stood up by the congressman at two separate scheduled debates: First, at the prestigious City Club of Cleveland (where Dovilla debated Kucinich's empty
chair) and then at a major candidates forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters (LWV) at Cuyahoga Community College.
Both times, Kucinich claimed "scheduling conflicts" prevented his participation. The previous April, the congressman stood up Barbara Ferris, his 2006 Democratic primary challenger, at another City Club forum. Ferris was so angry that, after leaving the event, she traveled to Kucinich's Lakewood district office and, in full view of a group of veterans and a local TV crew, challenged the congressman to debate. (He refused).
And in October 2004, Kucinich failed to show for still another City Club primary debate with Ferris (running then as an independent) and Ed Herman, the GOP challenger. Despite having confirmed his appearance beforehand, he cancelled at the last minute, saying "the people already knows where I stand."
How's that for arrogance? I could go on but suffice to say, Rep. Kucinich has not debated a single challenger to his congressional seat since he was first elected to Congress in 1996. Talk about Chutspah.
Given his career-long track record of refusing to debate his challengers, Kucinich reveals himself to be a hypocrite of the first order and, thusly, owes a public apology to the Nevada Democratic leaders and to the presidential candidates who he, unfairly and unmercifully slandered. Shame on him.
Lawrence J. McDonald