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Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Rodney Dangerfield of Politics

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2007 at 2:35 PM

Recently, Plain Dealer correspondent Sabrina Heaton reported that Rep. Dennis Kucinich had been named chairman of the new House Government Reform and Oversight subcommittee on domestic policy. This new subcommittee will, apparently, investigate domestic issues like electric utilities, nuclear power plants, water safety, health care, media concentration, and government treatment of American Indians. After 10 long years in the minority, Kucinich would finally chair a House subcommittee. But the failed 2004 antiwar presidential candidate had to be devastated with the decision. Ever since the November elections, Kucinich and his supporters have (properly) assumed that he would be named chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, a powerful subcommittee slated to investigate Bush administration officials and their roles in the disastrous Iraq war. As the ranking Democratic member, Kucinich was the likely successor to outgoing chairman Chris Shay (R-CT) and was apparently anxious to begin. In a recent interview with Truthdig.com's Joshua Scheer, he was already planning to hold hearings to get answers to "the questions about those who led us into war based on lies." Without question, Kucinich was salivating at the prospect of grilling Bush administration officials about the war. And why not? Televised hearings on C-SPAN would be a major boon to his 2008 (fake) presidential campaign. His presidential stock would soar. Unfortunately for him, House Speaker Nancy Pelossi (D-CA), doesn't share his dream. So why was Kucinich passed over for the National Security (et al) subcommittee chairmanship? Was it because he had so publicly criticized party leaders for not cutting off future funding for the war? Or maybe because he disrespected the Dem's 2004 presidential candidate, Senator John Kerrey, by continuing his own (fake) campaign for months after the senator clinched the party's nomination? Or was it simply because Pelosi (et al) didn't think Kucinich had the chops for such an important chairmanship? (Congress.com rates Kucinich #391 out of 435 Houses members, in terms of influence). Whatever the reason, Kucinich will be questioning utility and health care executives, in relative obscurity, instead of grilling administration officials and top generals in front of C-SPAN's television cameras. Poor Dennis. He's become the Rodney Dangerfield of national politics. Lawrence J. McDonald Fairview Park

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