Tag Archives: Dennis Kucinich

First-world congressional problems

Dennis Kucinich is Milton.
Most jobs you’re actually allowed to pack up your stuff and leave the building forever before you’re displaced from your desk. I mean imagine your boss telling you in two weeks you have to leave, and for that two weeks you have to move all your stuff to the room with the vending machines.

That’s akin to what’s happening in Congress. I guess it’s how things work there, because nobody complains about it that I know of. I didn’t know that was how things operated and I had the experience of a highly educational internship as a reporter in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1986, when John McCain, John Breaux, Harry Reid and Tom Daschle gave up their House seats for ones in the Senate.

I learned all about this office shuffling on Thursday. I had read the story about newly elected Congressman Derek Kilmer picking number 65 out of 70 for office space. (In that competition, that high score is a bad thing.) But it hadn’t occurred to me that Norm Dicks would already be out of his space. I mean now it makes sense. Like “duh.” I should have had my first clue when I saw all the furniture in the Rayburn hallways.

But on Thursday I knew his staff was in the Rayburn building. I went there and looked at the directory on the wall to find out which office belonged to our soon-to-be retired politician. I found the number, went to the location and found a California flag outside the door. The office now belongs to George Miller, D-Calif. I asked the cherubs inside the front office where Dicks’ office had gone to and was told it was in the basement cafeteria, where all the “retirees” from the building were placed. I put that word in quotes, because not everyone down there is retiring by choice.

“Basement” in this case isn’t as bad as it sounds, and there is a separation between the room of cubicles and the actual eating area.

After finding Dicks’ main cubicle (No. 36) I was told my contact there, Chief of Staff George Behan, would be there in a while. So I waited in a comfy chair nearby and was looking over emails when in my view I saw Cubicle 27, the current landing spot of U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. You may remember that Kucinich considered becoming “D-Wash.” but wasn’t exactly welcomed by local party brass and he wasn’t gerrymandered out of his district as expected. Instead, he was put in the same district as Marcy Kaptur, another Ohio Democrat who also wasn’t looking to retire. She beat him in the primary, which set the stage for Kucinich being found in a cubicle smaller than mine, straining his neck to talk on his cell phone and wondering where his stapler went.

Dicks, by the way, being the ranking Democrat in Appropriations, has office space in the committee offices and he has his own office space in the Capitol itself. From my perspective, he still looks like a member of Congress.

A week after the celebrating, was that proper?

Let me apologize right away for giving U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, more play than he probably deserves on a blog that’s mostly local to Kitsap County. This is a question, though, that speaks more to a broader question about the celebrations following the death of Osama bin Laden.

When Kucinich was first scheduled to speak on Bainbridge, I mistakenly thought the event was Sunday night. Fortunately we discovered the error on time. During the speech Kucinich was critical of Obama and NATO for the strike on Muammar Gaddafi’s home, which killed his son and three grandchildren. Kucinich had earlier issued a statement about the strike.

“NATO’s leaders have blood on their hands. NATO’s airstrike seems to have been intended to carry out an illegal policy of assassination. This is a deep stain which can never fully wash. This grave matter cannot be addressed with empty words. Words will not bring back dead children. Actions must be taken to stop more innocents from getting slaughtered.

“Today’s attack underscores that the Obama Doctrine of so-called humanitarian intervention appears to be a cover for regime change through assassination and murder,” said Kucinich.

Had the Bainbridge even actually been on Sunday, I’m sure the first item of discussion would have been bin Laden’s death. I wonder how Kucinich and the audience would have responded to that news given an opportunity to be in the same place at the same time when the news broke.

I heard quite a few conversations following Sunday’s news in which people thought the celebrations were somewhat creepy. Some of the celebrators appeared more influenced by the presence of television cameras, but not all of them.

In 2001 I didn’t think all of the flag waving was the blood lust for revenge some deemed it to be.

Last Sunday night I didn’t read whatever celebration there was as that either. In both cases I’m sure that sentiment was present, but I don’t necessarily believe revenge it was the dominant motivator for most people in the world.

If you believe the world one moment is better than it was the moment before, what is an appropriate response? Maybe whooping it up out on the street is not a bad answer.

What do you think?

Is Dennis Kucinich congressional district shopping?

Toward the end of Dennis Kucinich’s speech on Bainbridge Sunday, he told the audience, “I’m determined to continue my work in the U.S. Congress. I just don’t know what district I’ll be running in.”

At first it didn’t occur to me he might be thinking of moving from Ohio. Then I began to wonder, “Is he looking for a new district somewhere in the United States, anywhere in the United States? Then the wondering begins even further. Could Kucinich move to Washington and take over for U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee if he runs for governor?

No one shouted “Run here!” at least not loud enough for me to hear.

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one wondering, though, if Kucinich was out shopping for a congressional district. Joel Connelly at seattlep-i.com had the same thought. Connelly speculates more on Bellingham and Olympia, places that could be home to the next Washington congressional seat.

My thought is the odds would be long against Kucinich pulling it off in the First District, Inslee’s district. Inslee wins by big margins here, but I don’t think he is perceived as being as far to the left at Kucinich. I don’t know about Bellingham or Olympia, but Connelly expresses doubts about how those towns will fare in redistricting.

The one place I think Kucinich could have a good shot is in Seattle, but I haven’t heard any whispers of Jim McDermott’s retirement.