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Thursday, February 25, 2010

DENNIS, YOU'RE NOT HELPING

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 4:34 PM

We like Dennis Kucinich. We believe his heart is in the right place and his goals are sound. But sometimes he leaves us scratching our heads.

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Tuesday, following the announcement that foreclosure prevention money would be distributed to five hard-hit states not including Ohio, Kucinich drafted a letter to President Obama complaining about the oversight (cowritten, oddly enough, with his self-congratulatory Republican colleague Steve LaTourette from Geauga County).

Kucinich announced that today, the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he chairs, would hold a hearing on how the money was allocated. Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, a national leader on foreclosure issues, is in Washington now, preparing to testify this afternoon, according to a press release sent out by his office. It says, “Treasurer Rokakis is expected to stress the need for continued funding of face-to-face mortgage counseling programs and ask for federal help for the county’s successful Don't Borrow Trouble campaign. Additionally, Rokakis will address the ineffectiveness of the federal HAMP program.”

This is all great stuff which deserves attention, but once again, Kucinich’s timing is peculiar. Today is, of course, President Obama’s big bipartisan summit on health-care reform, the issue that’s overshadowing everything else. If Kucinich wants to draw attention to the issue of foreclosure, he could hardly have picked a worse day.

Even more peculiar, a “Medicare for All” activist group sent out a e-mail via Ohio’s Single Payer Action Network, promoting a rally outside Kucinich’s Lakewood office this morning and a meet-up with Kucinich in his Washington office this afternoon to complain about the exclusion of Kucinich and other single-payer advocates from the health-care summit.

The e-mail says, “On February 8, 2010, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, wrote President Obama, asking him to invite to the February 25 summit ‘a representative of the community that is advocating for the only health care that has consistently proven to address each of the criteria you have outlined for a satisfactory health care plan: Medicare for All.’ Congressman Kucinich added: ‘I would be happy to attend the summit as a representative of the Medicare for All community. Alternatively, I could provide names of other potential representatives for your consideration.’ To date, Mr. Kucinich has received no response to his request to be included at the summit."

So holding his foreclosure hearing while the health-care summit is going on could be interpreted as sulking. At best, it’s another example of his ineffective strategies on behalf of worthy aims that cause even some who share his aims to marginalize Kucinich. — Anastasia Pantsios

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