By Mark Waite
Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D.-Ohio, said voters in the January caucus really need a choice between the Democratic and Republican candidate.
Kucinich’s speech to a small gathering at Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday night set her husband well apart from other candidates. She spoke about a resolution to impeach Vice-President Dick Cheney, an initiative for public funding of elections and trading community service for a free college education, ideas well out of the mainstream discussion in the 2008 campaign.
“This whole morphing of the Democratic Party into the Republican Party, trying to align them so closely that there is no choice, there is no difference, it’s not working. It’s weakening the party and strengthening the Republicans,” Kucinich said.
A native of Great Britain, Kucinich exhibited much of her idealism from the days when she volunteered to work with Mother Teresa in India in 1996 and worked for an advocate for regional development in Tanzania after receiving her Masters degree at the University of Kent.
“We don’t want more of the same. We don’t want it wrapped up in a blue banner as opposed to a red banner,” Kucinich said.
None of the other candidates talk about a non-profit health care system, withdrawing immediately from Iraq, canceling the North American Free Trade Agreement and replacing it with an agreement protecting workers rights and the environment, she said.
America has been told by the media we’re “between a rock and a hard place” in Iraq, we have to stand in what she called an illegal occupation or leave and create a vacuum. Kucinich said there’s plenty of middle ground, an international peace force should be formed, including Moslem armies, to replace American troops that leave.
Kucinich charged a benchmark set for the Iraqi government, promoting the sharing of oil revenue between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq was really a document about letting international oil interests get their hands on privatizing Iraqi oil. The doctrine of “peace through strength” is really about pre-emptive strikes, unilateralism, undermining international law, isolating America from the rest of the world and not engaging in diplomacy, Kucinich charged.
Voters need to break the hold insurance companies and corporations have on the fiscal process, including health care, Kucinich said.
“The way to do that is to elect someone who really will pitch for an amendment to the constitution which calls for public financing of elections,” she said.
Other candidates talk about health care reform, but she charged it was merely subsidizing private insurance company plans. There would still be premiums, co-pays and deductibles. Kucinich’s plan would have the government as a single payer.
“You have 2.9 percent taken out now for Medicare, a couple more percent taken out of your salary and that will cover your whole medical expenses,” Kucinich said.
Kucinich said her husband’s 12 point plan includes a Works Green Administration, similar to the Works Public Administration of the Depression years. She talked about an ambitious plan to retrofit American homes with wind turbines and solar panels. Mass transit systems are also desperately needed, she said.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) should be put to work on these projects, instead of sending people to the moon, Kucinich said. America should take the fat out of the Pentagon budget, she said.
The peace through strength policy should be turned on its head to strength through peace, she said.
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