By Garry Rayno
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff
Nov. 30, 2007
MANCHESTER – The United States’ role in the world is the key question facing Americans as they prepare to vote for the next President, says Democratic presidential contender Dennis Kucinich.
“The new model for the paradigm is cooperation, not aggression,” the Ohio congressman said. “I want to start calling America home over a period of time in cooperation with other nations.”
Although he declined to say what overseas bases he would close first, Kucinich, 61, said the closure plan would be done in consultation with military leaders and discussions with the countries where the bases are located.
With technology today, he said, there is no reason to have military bases in far-flung corners of the world. “I want to see America take a different role,” he said.
He would like to see the U.S. work with Russian president Vladimir Putin to dismantle nuclear arsenals and to help the Russians destroy their chemical and other weapons instead of encouraging revolts by the countries along Russia’s southern border.
“America works best when it works from (a platform) of moral credibility,” Kucinich said. “When we act like ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ we undermine our credibility.”
He said he would not be a pushover with other countries. “I’m a street kid out of Cleveland, but I don’t mistake strength as just having weapons,” he said.
Kucinich, who is making his second run for the Democratic presidential nomination, has consistently opposed the Iraq War and has made that opposition the centerpiece of his campaign, whose theme is “strength through peace.”
In meeting with editors at the New Hampshire Union Leader this week, Kucinich, who is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House, emphasized his proposal for universal health care with a single-payer system. He says his plan is “Medicare for everyone.”
“Health care I see as a basic right, not as a privilege based on ability to pay,” he said. The costs of premiums, co-pays and deductibles have put health care out of reach for millions of Americans, not just the uninsured, he said.
The country currently pays $2.3 trillion for health care and that should be enough to provide health care to all Americans, just as other industrialized countries do for their citizens, Kucinich said.
He wants to eliminate the profits and administrative costs insurance companies add to the health cost picture. He said administrative costs should be in line with Medicare, 3 percent.
Kucinich also wants to be able to negotiate with the drug companies to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals, which the Veterans Administration does not, but he notes negotiations were forbidden under the Medicare Part D subscription drug program.
“I want to revitalized American industry and if we can’t change health then it can’t be done,” Kucinich said.
People are more receptive to his message about universal health care this time, he said, because people are in “real financial trouble.” He said New Hampshire and its grass roots tradition is the place for him to make his case.
All the other Democratic candidates for President are capitulating to the insurance industry, he said. He admitted his proposal would never make it through the current Congress and said that is why he would take his plan directly to the American people.
He said he is truly the only Democratic presidential candidate not indebted to the special interests. “There is a real choice (among candidates) if voters decide health care is essential in their lives,” Kucinich said.
Asked if government should also guarantee citizens food, clothes, shelter and a job, Kucinich said no one should starve today in this country. He said government should ensure there is full employment, which is not the case now.
“Government has the responsibility of being the employer of last resort, particularly when the private sector keeps cutting jobs,” Kucinich said. Government can make sure the mechanisms are there, he said.
But he noted, “Government can’t do everything in society, I understand that. … I don’t look at government as Big Daddy, and I certainly don’t want government to be Big Brother, either.”
Kucinich garnered attention for introducing an impeachment resolution against Vice President Dick Cheney. Recently he said he will expand another resolution to include the impeachment of President Bush.
He maintains the administration has lied about the reasons for going to war in Iraq and has trampled on the constitutional rights and civil liberties of the American people.
h/t: Dennis Kucinich for President (Official)
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