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Elizabeth Kucinich

A Conversation on the Campaign Trail

January 13th, 2008 · Written by · 1 Comment

Elizabeth Kucinich

How did you meet Dennis Kucinich?

I walked with my boss into Dennis’ Capitol Hill office for a meeting and something immediately clicked when I saw him. I just knew this man would be my husband. Although I didn’t yet know about any of his politics or policies, we later learned that our beliefs totally meshed with each other.

What sets your husband apart from the other presidential candidates?

On War

Dennis, as you know, is the only person running for president who voted against the war in Iraq, voted against funding the war, and has a plan that would end the war immediately. We are stuck between a rock and hard place. On the one hand, we have to help the Iraqis because we created the mess and we’ve got to help to sort it out, but at the same time our military is suggesting that our occupation is fueling 80% of the violence we see in Iraq. So as soon as we remove ourselves from that situation, violence levels will fall. Dennis has been actively involved with talking with other members of the international community asking leaders of a number of nations if they’d put together an international peacekeeping force, and they’ve all said yes, of course – if we agree to end the occupation. Dennis is the only person that’s recognized bringing the troops home immediately is important to stability in Iraq, and has an economic plan, reconstruction plan, and a reconciliation plan. And that’s all embodied in House Resolution 1234.

Dennis is the only person that’s recognized bringing the troops home immediately is important to stability in Iraq, and has an economic plan, reconstruction plan, and a reconciliation plan.

Dennis and I understand that global warming and global warring are inextricably linked. Dennis said on Meet the Press back in 2006 that the war in Iraq was all about oil. And just a few months ago Alan Greenspan came out in his book and said that we’ve got to admit that the reason we went into Iraq was about oil. We need to recognize the ties between the warring and the warming and change the national security doctrine. The doctrine we have right now is one of “peace though strength” and “peace through war.” What we say is “strength through peace.” An end to interventionism and an end to unilateralism. An end to the idea that we have to do unto others before they do unto us. We need to work with the international community, we have to work with diplomacy. We have to sign international treaties, treaties on global warming, on land mines. When we do this we send a message to the rest of the world that we really have a desire to work together instead of undermining other nations. When we start attacking whole nations for the actions of nonstate actors that have nothing to do with them, that’s when we come into the problems we are facing in Iraq.

On Healthcare

Dennis is also very committed to having a universal, single-payer not for profit healthcare system. Healthcare for all. Because we know that insurance companies make money not providing people with healthcare. All of the other candidates are talking about keeping the insurance industry in charge of the healthcare system but just having the government subsidize insurance policies, which is simply taking more of our tax dollars away and put into the profits of these companies, or mandating that we all have to purchase private health insurance. But I think if people were in a position to buy health insurance they would probably have it already.

Under a single-payer system, we’d be taking out three percent of your income and paying it out into a national health fund. It’s not that the government would be owning the hospitals or running everything, it’s that the government is the single payer. So when you need healthcare you literally go to the doctor of your choice, the hospital of your choice, and you get the healthcare that you need, and then the government is stuck with the headache. So you don’t have to fill out the paperwork, you don’t have to deal with bureaucrats in the insurance companies. About 50% of foreclosures in this country are related to healthcare costs so this is an issue that really affects so many people. There are almost 100 million Americans without adequate healthcare or with no insurance whatsoever.

And coming from a country which actually has a socialized [gasps] medicine program – which is not the same system we’re advocating here because in Britain they do run the hospitals – but anyway, in the UK, nobody even thinks about healthcare. When you need to go to the doctor it’s there, and when you need a prescription you go to the pharmacy and pay a nominal fee to get the drugs you need.

On the Economy

And Dennis is committed to ending NAFTA because he’s seen that NAFTA opened the doors to industries leaving the country. We want to restore manufacturing in the US. We need to renegotiate trade agreements based on workers rights, human rights, and the environment. If you want to trade with us than you need to take care of the water, land and air, you workers have to have rights – the right to organize and collectively bargain.

So we plan on creating millions of jobs by transitioning from a carbon-based economy to a green economy

The plan that we have is called the Works Green Administration, which is inspired by the way that Roosevelt stimulated economy of this country by injecting money into the base and rebuilding our infrastructure. In so doing, he created millions of well paying jobs around this country. So we plan on creating millions of jobs by transitioning from a carbon-based economy to a green economy where we’d primarily focus on wind, solar, and all the other renewable technologies. We have the opportunity for the government to literally be an engine of sustainability. We need to stop subsidizing oil, coal, and nuclear, and start incentivising the green technology in order to have a massive transformation. We can transform from having a war-based economy – making tanks, planes, and bullets – we can change those factories into a creative force: building rail cars instead of tanks, solar panels instead of “smart” weapons systems. These green products will all have to be designed, manufactured, and installed. Implementing them will create millions of new jobs.

What is it that Dennis finds appealing about running within the Democratic Party instead of trying to promote a party like the Green Party that seems to be more aligned with the values you espouse?

Well, I think that Dennis is aligned with Democratic values. He’s also aligned with the Green values, and independent values and so many others. I love it that so many different groups want to claim Dennis, I really do. But what we have to understand as an electorate is that we have to think about policy. Dennis is not an apologist for the party, he is standing up in order to bring it back to the way it should be. We respect very much independents who run, and Greens, and all those other parties, but we need one person who is a clear leader on all the issues we are concerned about. And it’s not just about Greens and Democrats and liberals. It’s also about conservative Republicans who really want to see the constitution stood up for. Who really understand the value of civil liberties. There is a lot more common ground that we think, and we’ve got to get beyond labels and really think: Who is this and where do they stand on this issue?

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Jolly Lama

    Wow – what an awesome interview this must have been. Kucinich is, and always has been (ok, since 2004) my vote. He just makes perfect sense. What is it that keeps us all from getting behind him? Oh yeah, I forgot, he saw a UFO. Damn you aliens!!!

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