The Consumerist Interviews Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Presidential Candidate

Congressman Dennis Kucinich is making another run at the Presidency, after a heavily criticized run the Democratic nomination last time, where he was written off as “a Howard Dean without the poll numbers,” whatever that means. Now, he faces a primary in his home state by another Progressive politician upset with Kucinich’s absences from their Ohio district.

We caught up with “The Kuch,” as John Edwards has been known to call him affectionately, after he taped “Late Show with David Letterman” on Monday, although it was hard to think with his 29-year-old statuesque redheaded English wife standing heroically beside him…

CONSUMERIST: Is credit card industry reform doable in a Kucinich first term?

KUCINICH: It has to be… because what’s happening is people are already maxed out on their credit cards. Many people are going into bankruptcy, not being able to afford [to pay their debts.] I think there has to be a restructuring of the bankruptcy laws… and also, raising some questions about raising the limits on interest… because there are some real problems with luxurious interest rates…


and, of course, that’s going to have an effect on our monetary policy. So, we’re going to have to look at our monetary policy as it relates to credit… serious issue… and I intend to do that.

CONSUMERIST: Speaking of bankruptcy. The bankruptcy bill–

KUCINICH: Well, the bankruptcy bill was meant to keep people in bankruptcy. One of the biggest problems is that pensions do not have the same standing as financial institutions. I think pensions should be right up there with the first claims of the banks. I think those are basic rights that people have, they were promised. Those resources, they need them to live.

CONSUMERIST: How much, really, will climate change affect the American economy?

KUCINICH: Greatly. I mean, you’re looking at the potential for rising sea levels that’s gonna wipe out a lot of real estate on the coast. It’s talking about changing migratory patterns, causing certain species that are part of the cycle of life to become extinct. I mean, how do you quantify that? I mean, when you’re destroying the habitat that human beings need to survive, how do you quantify that? I mean, our whole life is at risk with global warming. And so I’m dedicated to creating an alternative with what I call the WGA… the Works Green Administration, organize everything in our economy toward our sustainability. Not just one area, the government and the private sector… move it away from coal, toward sun, wind, and fuel technology.

CONSUMERIST: Do you think our wonderful voting machines are going to play as big a role in ’08?

KUCINICH: I have a bill that I’m about to introduce that will end the role that these electronic voting machines have in Federal elections. I think that voting machines… there’s a lot of questions with that technology… the programming, the software… the Diebold company has not, to my satisfaction, answered the questions about how do they protect against a someone breaking into the software and changing the outcome of the election. I’m for paper ballots in all Federal elections–

CONSUMERIST: Optical scan?

KUCINICH: No, paper ballots, the ol’ mark your ballot and that is the paper trail.

CONSUMERIST: Is campaign finance reform gonna do a damn thing in the immediate future?

KUCINICH: Look what’s happening, these candidates are already raising an excess of 50 million dollars. When you have people that put that kind of money into a campaign, they expect something in return. So, when you look at the kind of money that’s going into the system right now, it’s pretty obvious that interest groups want to buy the government. Well, with me, what people see is what they get, there’s no interest group that’s gonna buy me or tell me that I gotta be more for for-profit healthcare, for war, for the oil industry when I’m not, that I have to be for a lack of oversight be the SEC when I’m not… people have to get the connection between the individuals that give and the impact on the decisions of our government. We need a public finance system… that may mean the Justice Department suing to overturn Buckley v. Valejo, or having a Constitutional amendment that will say all elections have to be publicly financed and end the influence of private interests in our political system.

Obviously, public financing is a major endeavor, with a Constitutional amendment a far off dream for anybody, including a brand-new President with it as his or her top priority. There is also a campaign brewing to publicly finance all Federal elections for $6 per citizen. Your thoughts in the comments… — BRIAN FAIRBANKS

(Photo: Mark Esper)

Comments

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  1. levenhopper says:

    you should not be taxed to vote
    last I checked poll taxes were outlawed…

  2. foghat81 says:

    just as an FYI, Letterman hosts “The Late Show with David Letterman” and Conan hosts “Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien”

    nice to see some national press for Northeast Ohio’s lovable little guy

  3. Mom2Talavera says:

    I would love to see a Dennis kucinich VS. Ron Paul debate!

  4. amsmith.dmycm says:

    I was fond of the thought of giving everyone $25.00 to finance their personal favorite candidate. Then we’d see who the people really support, without $$ from the big corps. getting in the way!

  5. RandomHookup says:

    Maybe I should run as a million-to-one longshot for prez if I get a shot at a hot, much younger English chick to tower over me.

  6. Doc Benway says:

    Remember Hillary couldn’t be bothered to voted for the Bankruptcy Bill. Dennis Kucinich at least voted against it.

  7. Toof_75_75 says:

    @RandomHookup:

    HAHA He looks so awkward with her…Or more specifically, she looks really out of place with him!

    @Doc Benway:

    Remember, they both suck…

  8. Shadowman615 says:

    I don’t know how a publicly funded campaign would work. Does that mean any Joe Schmoe off the street would have access to equal funds for a presidential campaign?

  9. solmssen says:

    Did Kucinich really use the word luxurious about interest rates – seems more likely that he would have said usurious.


    [dictionary.reference.com]

  10. RSD says:

    Kucinich, Obama, and Ron Paul are the only genuine candidates I can see running in ’08. If I remember correctly, Obama has raised pretty much all his election money through public donations. Correct me if I’m wrong on that.

  11. Brian Gee says:

    Kucinich/Gravel in ’08!!!

    Ron Paul sounds pretty good, too, but the “Texas Republican” part gives me a bad feeling.

    The rest of the candidates seem like a bunch of smarmy, greasy politicians. John Edwards is the worst of the bunch. It just seems like everything he says is so calculated and fake. Its like he’s trying to tell the people what they want to hear, instead of his honest opinion.

    “The Kuch” seems to say what he thinks, and Gravel doesn’t sugar coat anything that comes out of his mouth. But unlike when our current douchebag-president speaks his mind, I like what Kucinich has to say.

  12. DCKiwi says:

    Unfortunately Kucinich has stated on several occasions that as president he would NOT kill Bin Laden if he had the chance because ‘violence is not the answer’.

    There’s pacifism, and then there’s complete lunacy. This guy is WAAAY too far left for most reasonable people.

  13. Triteon says:

    Looking at his wife causes my, uh…poll number to rise.

  14. Chris says:

    I agree, Solmssn. “Luxurious” makes little to no sense, even for DK.

  15. Toof_75_75 says:

    @Triteon:

    HAHA! Well played.

  16. Doc Benway says:

    @Toof_75_75: Wait I thought they both blew. . .

  17. kerry says:

    Dennis Kucinich is probably the smartest person running for president, which is why he will never win.

  18. kerry says:

    Also, are you sure he didn’t say “usurious,” not “luxurious?”

  19. Mom2Talavera says:

    Ron paul intoduced legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve. But until people stop fighting over “wedge issues” like gay marriage important legislation like this will never get though. He is one of the last true republicans.
    him on Real time
    [www.vsocial.com]


    Every year since 1999 Kucinich intorduced the “GE food right to know Act” which has yet to be voted on. 25 other countries require that GE foods be labled…but not us….
    him on Real time
    [www.vsocial.com]

  20. enm4r says:

    Why do people keep mentioning Gravel? Kucinich is indeed extremely intelligent, and generally has informed opinions on any matter you can bring up with him. While I might not agree with him on a number of things, he has sound reasoning for his beliefs, and is fairly consistent.

    Gravel is the complete opposite and seems completely uninformed on every topic that comes up. All he does is attack other candidates for being “extreme” and just seems like a grumpy old man on stage. It’s not even entertaining anymore, it’s just completely worthless.

  21. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    it was hard to think with his 29-year-old statuesque redheaded English wife standing heroically beside him…

    That is why that man will never become president… the envy of all woman-loving Americans, including me. I can’t figure out why he’d ever leave the house.

  22. acambras says:

    @King of the Wild Frontier:

    Not trying to be mean, but isn’t *any* woman standing next to Dennis Kucinich “statuesque” ?

  23. synergy says:

    @Brian Gee: Ron Paul is closer to a real conservative/republican than the other people running. Although he’s really more of a Libertarian. He only joined the Republican party, if I recall correctly, because he felt it would be the only way he’d actually be heard.

  24. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Hahahaha, I love all the people calling the Gnome of Cleveland “smart.”

    He’s a great politician to have on your side at the local level, like as a commissioner or board member or even the mayor. When you start getting him up into big-time politics… well, it’s not good.

    I saw him speak in ’04 — great speaker, very charismatic, completely unrealistic ideas. He was going to have the federal government sue any company that moved jobs out of the country, which, okay, I see why you’re mad about that, but LAWSUITS? I don’t think that’s how it works, champ.

  25. Brazell says:

    I am so tired of the “Ron Paul is the only true Republican,” or “Ron Paul is the only real conservative.” I agree largely with a number of his ideas, closing the IRS, abolishing income tax, and building the fence — but at the same time, a completely isolationist foreign policy is *not* anymore conservative than an interventionist foreign policy is. Modern American Conservatism was rose from the ashes in the 1950s, and no I am not talking about teh eval neoconz, and Ron Paul doesn’t embrace that better or worse than any other candidate.

    As for who the most intelligent candidates are, people like to always say that the candidates who are in last place are exceedingly more intelligent than the leading candidates, so that when they lose, somebody can differ their voting choice and say “We should have voted for the smarter guy!” I don’t like Hillary Clinton, but she is exceedingly intelligent and a brilliant politician, the same can be said for Mitt Romney, although his politicking prowess is less than Mz. Clinton’s.

  26. Brazell says:

    And, further, public financing of elections would be a disaster. Poll tax for the 21st century.