Kucinich on Creating Jobs in America

I normally steer away from political posts, but this two part interview with Dennis Kucinich on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown focuses on economic issues. The interviewer was throwing softballs, but the critique of Obama was blunt. Is a primary challenge in the offing?

Hat tip reader furzy mouse. Part 1:

Part 2:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. rjs

      dennis has been disgusted with everything obama has done; if he doesnt run against him, i’d bet he dont vote for him, even against bachmann

      1. attempter

        dennis has been disgusted with everything obama has done

        So disgusted that he went and whipped for Obama’s reactionary health racket bailout and Stamp mandate literally hours after he said he opposed it.

        You’d think such a vile act would permanently discredit someone.

        “Better elites”…no thanks.

        1. Patricia

          Obama made a profound private threat to Kucinich. There is no other way to explain the 180-degree switch after a 50-minute airplane trip, followed by Kucinich’s refunding of donor monies:



          It was when this happened that I fully realized our country was owned, top to bottom, by violent unscrupulous power-mongers and that Obama was a thorough-going player.

          1. attempter

            Obama made a profound private threat to Kucinich.

            Like what?

            It better have been a credible threat to kill his grandchildren or something. Anything short of that wouldn’t have an “objective correlative”, as Eliot called it.

            But I don’t believe there was any “threat”, beyond maybe the standard “I’ll break you!” BS. I don’t think you need to threaten “progressives”. The record shows that they’re always ready to cave, that they want to and merely need enough of a pretext to square it with their conscience.

            Obama probably told him Fox News would laugh at them if the Dems weren’t unanimous.

          2. Patricia

            I don’t know what kind of threat. As the article says, Kucinich would not talk about it. From what I know of the man’s actions over a long career, I am inclined to believe it was more on the order of “kill your grandchildren’. Kucinich doesn’t give a crap about what Fox News might say—they’ve done their best on him already.

            That is why I found it so chilling.

            It is not possible to maintain complete integrity when one works inside a corrupted system. And we need some people to stay inside, to slow down what can be slowed, to steer what is steerable. I admire Kucinich for staying the course while being continually discounted, scorned, side-lined, from both inside/outside the system. It is a rare person who can do so.

          3. Aquifer

            Get rid of his district – close.
            If you followed Kucinich in the ’08 cycle, you will remember that he dropped out of the Pres. primary to defend his own seat from an apparently credible Dem. primary attack by a well funded businessman who didn’t actually reside in his own district. Where do you suppose the money for that challenge came from? The DLC type Obama/Clinton supporters, i will lay odds on.

            On Air Force 1, all Obama had to do was suggest that K would indeed be ousted the next time around and K chose his seat over his principles.

            Now, however, it looks as though K will lose his seat in any case and he has discovered he sold his soul only to get screwed anyway – there is little fury like the wrath of a pol scorned. With nothing left to lose – he might actually bolt, but his cred has taken a real blow. As my Dad used to say, “too soon,old, too late smart”. The problem with too many Dems for too long is that they have subordinated principle to strategy and they have no credibility anymore even should they actually decide to be “principled” …

          4. attempter

            Getting rid of his district, primary challenges, blah blah…all political crap. Nothing which could justify such an absolute collapse and sellout. So you’re threatened that way, you fight back. If you lose the temporal fight, at least you didn’t lose your soul (and your credibility with anyone who matters; anyone who would defend K’s action here is indicating he’ll sell out himself the moment the going gets tough).

            The seat itself is of course just a vanity. Kucinich is certainly well known enough to Lead those who want to be Led without that seat. But evidently the gewgaw was more important than eating.

    2. Susan the other

      Wouldn’t it be nice if it were Elizabeth Warren. Even tho’ senator is achievable for her and she would be a powerful senator, I’d rather see her run against Obama just to hear someone speak the truth to his face. I have come to believe, because I cannot deny my gut reaction any longer, that Obama is an ideologue. He is not the compromiser he pretends to be. He is a dedicated ideologue. He is determined to bring global banking into safe harbor even if it destroys him politically. Obama couldn’t care less about the devastation he is causing. And all his maneuverings are to that end. It isn’t a very hidden agenda when you can watch it unfold. Why the sudden about-face on infrastructure spending? Because all the money must be dedicated to shoring up the banks for their transition into a global network. And gosh, Obama’s favorite confidant, larry Summers, just says “I hate infrastructure.” Then he goes on Charlie Rose and says he’s all for “infrastructure” but blah blah blah and makes no sense whatsoever. Clearly that money is needed elsewhere and in secret.

  1. psychohistorian

    The worm is turning…….YES!

    Kucinich did a marvelous job in those two segments of framing some of America’s malaise. Congratulations to him and the counter media that is bringing messages like this to a broader audience.

    Now, show me some segments like that that drive home the past 50 yrs of American IMPERIALISM (I apologize but it felt good) and more that show how the global inherited rich are playing countries and groups of countries against each other on a genocidal path.

    I want change I can believe in for a very sickly organized and focused world.

  2. IFKaramazov

    Regardless of whether Kucinich would have been “viable” in a general election, we should have just nominated him in 2008. At least we would have been able to say we stood up for our principles. Instead, we elected someone who sold us on being a progressive and turned out to be not only more of the same, but interested in meeting radicals “halfway.”

  3. Linus Huber

    A politician who at least states whom to blame. I hope this is the start of a trend allowing the American people to get to grips with the real problems.

    I enjoyed it and thanks to Yves.

  4. BDBlue

    Dennis isn’t going to primary Obama. He’s one of the rotating good guys of the Democratic Party. Allowed to come out and say what the left wants to hear so it believes the party is still worth supporting. When push comes to shove, however, if they need Dennis’ vote to pass something – no matter how vile – they’ll get it. Others have mentioned healthcare, which is a good example.

    Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer Dennis’ politics to Obama’s. But Dennis is a backbencher in the party for a reason and even if he did primary Obama, the MSM would ensure he wasn’t taken seriously.* I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he’s short.

    * The one thing that might get him to primary Obama is if they get rid of his seat when they re-apportion Ohio. This has been rumored, but I’ve always thought that’s what that infamous airplane ride and the resulting whipping for healthcare deform was about.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Alas, the Dixiecratic Party is not what it once was. It won’t come out straight out for repeal of the Emancipation Proclamation — it’ll just negotiate it away through arcane rigged trade deals and super-politburos so everyone can deny responsibility. Obama presides over a party irreparably corrupted by the DLC, MIC, Wall Street, and AIPAC . . . but I repeat myself.

      If Dennis does run as a Dixiecrat, it will only reinforce the impression, post-healthcare bailout, that his soul is forfeit after all, and that his key purpose is to keep the clingers-on, the hoper-dopers, from finally bolting the party entirely. If he runs as an Independent, with Bernie maybe, it might mean something.

  5. Schofield

    Kucinich is telling you the few have built an engine in America to loot the many. He is asking Main Street to smash this engine and build one that will fairly share wealth with the many.

  6. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    From Elizabeth Warren, a supposed outsider, to Dennis Kucinich, a consummate insider and professional politician, all in the span of a few weeks. Almost too predictable…

    In any case, why would any of you vote for Kucinich? He’s just another Democrat, right? It would be voting for the lesser of the lesser of the two evils. Is that a false positive? But if he can’t win the nomination he will be persona non grata among the Democratic leadership. At this point he may not care, but still prefer to fight from the inside.

    I would prefer that he simply bolt, take the rump of the Democratic faithful with him, and kill the Democrats once and for all. But that too has consequences…

    Listening to both videos it’s clear that “Dennis the Menace” – coined when he was mayor of Cleveland – is proposing another “NEW DEAL 2.0” – doesn’t Marshall Auerback write for them as well? – so Dennis isn’t calling for the abolition of capitalism, but merely blunting/reforming its rougher edges. And by the time the Republicans watered New Deal 2.0 down, it would be just another sell out – the lesser of the two evils again – right?

    Or is the strategy to have Dennis run on the presumption that doing so would “pull” Obama to the left, making him appear as a “centrist – which he isn’t – to counter the Republicans? But wouldn’t that enhance Mr. Obama’s electoral fortunes? Many of you, if not all, don’t want that either, right?

    So what do you want in the short term?

    Me thinks that the quiet desperation of the English has made its way to this side of the Atlantic. The choice in this election will be simple. What kind of state do you want: the capitalist variant or the more virulent market variant?

    No difference you say? Beg to differ. Because after last night’s Republican debate, it should be clear that no new taxes [10:1 NO!] coupled with additional tax cuts for business, even more deregulation, emasculation of the EPA etc., and real cuts in federal spending pursuant to a balanced budget are in their totality a prescription for the MARKET STATE – getting the government out of the way by replacing it with market-based solutions. Naked Capitalism 2.0!

    At least in the capitalist variant, the state still exists as a structured investment vehicle for capitalist accumulation with a much more pronounced role in the economy. Yves knows the difference of which I speak. The concept of the MARKET STATE appeared in one of her articles a few days back. But it got lost…

    In any case, come 2013, capitalism will likely still be with US. But then again you never know? So for many of you 2012 is already a lost cause. No point in voting at all, right? Not even for Kucinich. By the way, I voted for him in both the 2004 and 2008 primaries. Even met the man, shook hands, and campaigned a bit for him with neighbors. Look where it got US. Silly me…

    Huit clos!

    1. JTFaraday

      I think your “market state” and whatever it is you think the D-Party under Obama is delivering is a distinction without a difference.

      There may be a difference between the corporatist state and a small state. But to the extent that small government conservatives never do anything except attack the public, in the form of attacks on Social Security for example, instead of attacking the corrupt government, which they never do but which is the only thing that makes any sense, I think they will continue to be defeated by the establishment big government corporatists in both parties.

      Although, the corporatists might make use of the Teapers from time to time, just as they occasionally make use of Dennis Kucinich or liberal policy entrepreneurs like Jacob Hacker, of Obamacare infamy.

      Honestly, what’s the difference between Obama and Mitt Romney? The scary Mormons?

      1. Neo-Realist

        At the very least you won’t get anti-abortion judges like you would with any of the republicans. It may be one issue, but is it worth getting a lot of women killed in back alley abortions from a Roe v. Wade reversal??

        Some people say a conservative judge won’t have the stomach to reverse precendent, but after the Citizens United, I wouldn’t bet against this conservative cabal on the court with a new addition or two.

        1. JTFaraday

          I think the D-Party is going to have to accept that not everyone is going to vote based on that issue, and that if that’s all they have going for them, then they don’t have very much.

          I also have to seriously question the ethics of a political party that has as one of its primary control-freak strategies, the strategy of terrifying young women into line because they otherwise *don’t* have much else to offer the voting public, including young women.

          I’m not going to support that either.

          1. Neo-Realist

            Don’t underestimate the potential deleterious effects of a larger majority of conservative judges appointed by a potential republican president on not just abortion, but on broader civil liberty, civil rights, and economic issues for common americans.

            Ultimately, we’ll need to work toward a more progressive congress for our so-called salvation–another 50 state solution rather than opting for the replacement of a weak weasely centrist president beholden to predator state interests and allowing him to be replaced with a more extreme version which will make change harder to implement.

          2. JTFaraday

            Maybe, but my broader point is that this threat tactic is so all-pervasive in the dysfunctional D-Party that even anonymous D-Partisans posting on blogs, like yourself, can’t make a political argument without resorting to threats about “what the other side is going to do.”

            This rhetorical tactic about “what the other side is going to do” seems to me to be designed primarily to automatically shut down discussion about “what the D-Party *should* do” in order for D-Partisan to dictate what they’ve already decided to do (which is move to the right on economic issues while culture bagging the fearful).

            Perhaps that’s not what your intentions are, but you’ve absorbed the Party tactic nevertheless.

            I’m also not convinced that there is a huge, yawning gap between corporatist conservative justices and Elena Kagan’s tenure as the head of the Harvard Law.

            Nor could we have expected to have an accurate picture of what she’ll do, as she flip flopped on earlier positions the second she was nominated to the court, some of which I believe, had to do with the extent to which Congress was allowed to grill her in her nomination hearing.

            Not that that matters that much because, like Obama, Kagan left virtually no publication record. So, in the end, all we have to go on is that she dragged Harvard Law to the right.

          3. reslez

            Don’t underestimate the potential deleterious effects of a larger majority of conservative judges appointed by a potential republican president on not just abortion, but on broader civil liberty, civil rights, and economic issues for common americans.

            The world you’re afraid of is the world we already live in. Citizens United is the law of the land. You’re afraid of “more evil” but the evil we already have isn’t waiting for a bigger majority, they already have a majority and they’re using it as they damn well please. If the SC is seriously your only reason you need to rethink things, because electing “Evil Lite” hasn’t made a dime’s worth of difference.

      2. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio


        I didn’t proffer the concept. Yves did! Search for it on NC to examine it in context. Then judge for yourself.

        It’s a bit early to pick the Republican candidate. Romney is tainted… as is Gingrich. It ultimately comes down to which candidate can bridge the gap between the small business and multinational/internationalist factions of the Republican Party. These two factions may agree on the need to reduce taxes, but large corporations are not opposed to regulations per se as they pose barriers to entry which limit competition from smaller competitors with fewer resources. Likewise, globalization and free trade threaten small domestically-oriented businesses. Too many mom and pop local stores have been annihilated by the WALMARTs of the planet. So it would be a mistake to view the Republicans as a monolithic structure. It too is a fractious group.

        But I’m inlined to view it as a choice between NAKED CAPITALISM 1.0 [1980-2012] and Naked Capitalism 2.0 [2013…]. We got screwed in the first version. This time around we will be raped. Maybe it’s just a question of degree, but in either case we get fucked.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      The choice between the lesser of two evils is at best a form of psychological warfare against democratic progresses by promoting the mass psychology of despair with voter suppression as the end result. Whether well meaning, the absolute god’s honest truth or a cynical ploy by the best dirty tricksters that the right has to offer, that is not a sufficient political framework from which to operate.

      The implication, that the democratic party or any personality of the moment presented as a choice for candidacy, was ever supposed to stand for or possibly accomplish structural changes to American society and economics via government legislation is a lie. What ever the best that could be hoped for as stated INTENTIONS, even if bold faced lies by any candidate, just to say what the people want to hear, in order to get elected, has and will always face strong and even violent organized opposition, even when elected. Even the biggest pseudo intellectual liberals and head up their ass left wing commie posers know this at some point, quickly after elections lost, as in the Wisconsin Recall Battle. Even the people well motivated, well funded and well organized, can lose elections. But not over time. Over time, the progress of wins has moved in the direction that I consider favorable for being able to live a life.

      So what of the sorely wounded and betrayed at the hands of Obama’s inability to govern whether willful or self inflicted and from beyond his power, constrained by strong organized political opposition? Shockingly revelations that Obama is part and parcel of the establishment, of capitalism and worse yet, fully funded by and returning the favor to the financial class of capitalists. What of this expose? Obama meets with George Will and company and vows fealty to Social Security’s demise. Not as some sort of 11th dimensional chess that will prove too clever for the republican iron fisting movement of a naked capitalism without tears of pity for safety netless masses. No, in this view, Obama is a camel’s nose in the tent, a Trojan horse, a Pat Toomey in black face, deceiving us all as we cheerfully march to the showers, unwittingly paying the taxes for our own liquidation and buying commemorative t-shirts celebrating our quisling executioner. A conspiracy so unspeakable not only do we dare not speak it, we dare not think about it.

      A little history is order. Liberalism and Conservatism, goes without saying, have always been two poles of the capitalist political economy. Liberalism has never been code for socialism and conservatism has never been pure, whatever that is, capitalism. Liberalism is the response to maintain the social order with ameliorative social programs, the welfare state, that is our corner of the social order. By our corner, that is for the have nots to have something, so that we do not repeat the French and Russian Revolutions. The social welfare state is just the cost of doing business. Up until now.

      At the commanding heights of capitalism, there is a war going on. In the heavens far above our corner of the social order, the mighty heavenly hosts are fighting for position, for survival, not ours, not even for the nations they came from, but for the continuation of the capacity to derive with impunity all of the wealth, power and privileges that come from an unquestioned position in the social order, however, and by what ever means that can be produced. Capitalist, feudal or something new, and different and much worse or better for me, I don’t know the future. But always with one over riding purpose, better for the haves.

      So, as peaceful, reasonably well off dwellers in towns and farms and neighborhoods here across America, what are we to do? Who do I give a shit about, in their fight for survival? When the giants kick over my anthill, it’s a problem for me. It is not a question of the lesser of two evils, it has always been little more than who inadvertently offers themselves as some sort of ally for a better life for me and my family and my community, all the way up to the national level. The liberals, as they colonized the world, and extracted wealth from others, from me as well, have offered the welfare state. That the nation of my patriotic devotion was no longer the subject to aristocratic privilege, but the public’s enterprise as well. It served a dual role, out of necessity. The social order would be maintained for the haves and also, to a smaller measure, the have nots. What we got from the liberals, who have come to reside by and large, only in the democratic party, is an open door, an amelioration of much oppression. The New Deal and The Great Society are not empty punch lines to me. They are the fountain of equity for generations of work and wars fought and lives lost. They sent my relatives to college and made them homeowners. They beat down poverty. They let me and others through the doors of affluence, education, that provided medical care and pensions and more than an empty gesture at power sharing so I could live a life. So I could have the same leisure and freedom from want of an Adam Smith, to sit and quietly read and become as educated and politically aware as Roman Senator. The fact that I know that the system is little more than a rigged system for the aristocratically wealthy and politically powerful does not cause me to despair any more than I am aware that humanity is little more than an ambulant pus on the face of the earth that will die off in due time. After all, as JFK said;

      “So, let us not be blind to our differences—but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal. ”


      So, how disgusted am I with Obama? Not much, he will come and go. I focus on the policies that I can support and NOT the horse races, the personalities, the lies that maintain the social order, but THAT the social order is maintained at all. But that does not mean I don’t ever miss an election and not vote. If you look at what Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, say and do when in power, and the consequences, not only to keep the haves in power, but that they take down the social order, because it is too much of a cost of doing business for their patrons. The democrats, at least know that a cycle of revolts follows the business cycles and must be managed so the social order, which is the platform for wealth for everyone, is maintained, and does not descend into a bloodbath. The costs of doing business under those conditions creates much more uncertainty than Obamacare, financial regulations, consumer and environmental protection. The choice then is NOT the simplistic lesser of two evils. The choice is to support the social order and not its liquidation. The cost of doing business, the welfare state, with all of its implication must be fought for and maintained, not because there is less evil in the process of maintaining it, but because we all fucking die in a bloodbath if it comes apart at the seams. Beyond good and evil, is survival. Kennedy shepherded us through the real possibility of nuclear annihilation, Obama just has to get us through economic chaos which can produce the same amount of devastation if left unchecked. If he can do that much, he has done enough. As you can see, my hopes are not for any kind of golden age, just the ability to age at all.

      1. JasonRines

        Your intent is noble. I wish you well for this coming decade of trouble. But make no mistake, Obama is Chavez. I regret supporting some I once did. I pay pennence by working to strenghten my local community. It will help them and me increase odds for survival. Bittersweet adventure is all that can be gleaned in the short and mid term.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      You keep misrepresenting my views. That is very clearly against comments policy. Keep it up and you go in moderation. I don’t have any tolerance for that, no matter how much of a regular you are.

      I never said the point of primarying Obama was to change Obama. He lies far more than any politician I can recall (there are norms for how much you lie when campaigning) and governs as he damned well pleases.

      The point is to get more what used to be mainstream but are now branded as leftist ideas back into the discourse, particularly the MSM. The MSM cannot ignore primary candidates and a serious primary challenge to Obama would get a lot of media attention.

  7. Scott

    If you vote for either Republicans or Democrats in 2012, you deserve what you get. Kucinich is still a democrat in Congress today. Only a new party that will not be beholden to the establishment has any chance to make real changes to this country.

  8. Hugh

    I agree with both attempter and BDBlue. If Obama has taught us anything, it is that talk’s cheap. The only thing unusual about Kucinich is that he is one of the few Democrats left who even bother to sound occasionally like Democrats. But it doesn’t mean anything. If he had wanted to be a focus of opposition to Obama anytime the last two and a half years, he could have, but as his big cave on healthcare showed, he’s just another soldier of kleptocracy. Kucinich and Sanders serve much the same purpose as Trojan horse liberal orgs and elite blogs. They are not there to organize progressives into an effective opposition but to make sure that never happens.

    1. MontanaMaven

      Yes, a new addition to the Sirius Left Radio programming is giving the elite Trojan Horse Daily Kos its own slot on Saturday mornings at 10am. Sirius Left has now become almost totally Sirius Democrat dedicated to getting Obama (and Dems) elected in 2012. They kicked off Obama critic Lynn Samuels and put her on Sirius Stars on Saturdays and Sundays at 10am EST. Listen to a real independent thinker while you can instead of boring electoral politics on the other channel. Although also on Saturdays on Sirius Left from 5-8PM is Mike Feder who has interesting guests and rarely talks electoral politics.

    2. gs_runsthiscountry

      “If Obama has taught us anything, it is that talk’s cheap.”

      Indeed, “Its not what they say, its what they do.” I keep telling friends and family that, but most people do not get it.
      To other posters, forget Kucinich, the last person to make it to the white house as a congressman was Abraham Lincoln.
      Going to the polls to vote this year will be like given a choice of lopping off your left foot or your right, does it really matter?

      I am going back to my protest voting method, WRITE-IN. Maybe someday people will stop taking the choice of less or two evils and just vote. I live in Wisconsin, when presented the choice between Walker and Barret…WRITE-IN. Our district has 12 elections, i only voted for 4 candidates, the rest were WRITE-IN.

      As a voter, if you don’t like what is being served up to you on a ballot, then say so. Maybe someday 10-15% they will get the message.

  9. curlydan

    No, Kucinich will not primary Obama and neither will any other Congressperson or State Legislator in the Democratic party.

    I’d suggest you read Jane Hamsher’s takedown of Bernie Sanders, Kucinich et al from a week or two ago. Here’s an excerpt:


    “There were 173 Democrats in the House – including Dennis Kucinich and every single member of the Progressive Caucus – who voted for Reid’s Catfood II Super Congress yesterday. The one that is designed to cut Social Security and Medicare. That’s what it’s there for. That’s the only reason it exists. To allow Congress to fork over the power entrusted to them by the citizens who elected them to an elite body that stands above congress itself, and escape electoral retribution for doing something that 82% of the country does not want them to do…If you want my attention, tell me how you’re going to take out Bernie Sanders or Jan Schakowsky or Raul Grijalva or Peter Welch.”

    Don’t wait for a primary from a Dem politician. You’ll be waiting a long time. If you want a primary, find a citizen who’s disgusted, got a little money, and can get on the ballot without too much headache in 3-5 states for a primary. Then they can get lots of little bucks from the thousands or millions of disaffected Democrats.

    Kucinich and Sanders ain’t gonna do it.

  10. Jesse

    Dennis Kucinich was a disaster as the Mayor of Cleveland.

    I think he would be a great addition to a Cabinet, as he has excellent and innovative ideas, but he is not a particularly good administrator or actualizer of ideas and builder of systems to achieve those ideas.

    Yes that was a long time ago. But I have seen nothing he has done since then that would persuade me he has changed. He could adapt, he is intelligent. I don’t think he has the personal infrastructure to get the job done.

    In other words, it takes more than sincere intent and good ideas to be the leader of the world’s superpower.

    The current crop of candidates is scary, precisely for this reason. People do not take the demands of the job seriously enough. The Republicans are a freak show. The Democrats are soft on achievements.

    Elizabeth Warren could do the job well. Very well. But she needs a stepping stone position first to show her chops running something in addition to creating an agency despite terrific opposition.

    I would have liked to see her as a governor.

    On the flip side, there are competent administrators and businessmen who are moral non-entities, arrogant and bullying. Chris Christie does come to mind for a pre-eminent representative of that school, along with the governor of Wisconsin.

    So one extreme or the other in talent and experience may not be fruitful.

  11. Elizabeth

    I think that Obama was hired — literally hired — by the ruling class (duh, Goldman Sachs, duh, duh) to keep the animals quiet while the looting continues. “Weak,” my eye. He’s doing exactly what he was hired to do, the Democrat “label.”

  12. Kevin de Bruxelles

    Kucinich’s call for a New Deal 2.0 is a typical case of fighting the last war. During the Great Depression the US was the world’s greatest exporter and so the obvious response to a steep decline in global aggregate demand was to increase domestic demand. But eighty years later the call for increasing domestic demand is just as stupid as the French obsession with static defence before WW2. The US has plenty of aggregate demand, just look at how well China is doing serving it. The problem is recapturing US aggregate demand. In other words, making US markets produce jobs for Americans and not for third world peasants.

    Kucinich basically admits (quite correctly) that an oligarchy that has captured the US federal government. Then he turns right around and makes the typical leftist mistake of saying in response we should therefore increase the power of the federal government! WTF is that about? It seems a more logical conclusion would be to say that if the federal government is captured by an oligarchy, the Left should do everything in its power to transfers spending and power to the local level where centralized oligarchs will have to expend much more energy to capture. The obvious problem is that this solution has been labelled “right wing” and therefore no right-thinking leftist can consider it.

    His talk about corporations also falls flat. What is all this obsession about Citizen’s United? It’s like he is saying money was not a problem in US politics before this decision and if somehow it could just be overturned everything would be OK and the US would once again live in a Golden Age. No, I’m sorry but things were not alright before that decision. But the solution is pretty straightforward and it has nothing to do with campaign finance reform. It’s real simple, people should not vote for any political party that takes campaign contributions from corporations. That is all there is to it. With the internet a political party can easily get its message out for next to nothing.

    But actually things are not that simple because a lot of energy is expended by the oligarchy to maek sure the people stay in their preordained two party pens. What we have going on now is an attempt to herd the wayward progressive flock back towards its watchful shepherd, the Democratic Party in time for the 2012 elections. We have on the one hand Michelle Bachmann acting as a Border Collie fetching dog by spooking progressives with her crazy eyes and keeping them all scared shitless and reacting as a group. And then Kucinich steps up and acts as the driving dog by barking at the scared sheep with some empty rhetorical noise that temporarily motivates the sheep to head back towards the two-party slaughterhouse once again.

    1. Mark P.

      ‘…a more logical conclusion would be to say that if the federal government is captured by an oligarchy … do everything … to transfer spending and power to the local level where centralized oligarchs will have to expend much more energy to capture.’

      As we’re indeed seeing in the context of the MERS-“robosigning” legal fights, where the banks and Washington can’t effectively corral the state AGs and the local judges.

      Paul Romer — known to most here for his classic 1994 paper with Akerlof, “Looting: the Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit” — used to put on his futurist hat and claim there were quite good odds that the U.S. as currently constructed wouldn’t see out the 21st century and city-states would become the primary state-like institution in 2100.

  13. Anjon

    Great interview! Few thoughts:
    1. I’m very happy he pivoted the “tea party” question back to Wall Street. This was fantastic! Too often the media (progressive media as well) frame the issues as a Professional Wrestling style Dem vs Rep contest. A great show that keeps the population distracted from the real issues, where Wall Street wins either way. Attacking the tea party instead of the oligarchy/plutocracy is exactly what they want; keep the focus off of Wall Street while the masses have these left/right tribal fights amongst themselves, in this over simplistic Dem vs Rep frame. A much more attractive frame would be a populist left/right/reformist alliance against the corrupt establishment. Not easy to pull off, but handling the question the way Kucinich did is a step in the right direction

    2. I’m quite happy that SOMEBODY is hinting at opening up another front on Obama from within the Democratic party. As it stands now, there is a huge vacuum inside the Dem party, and Obama is by default representing all strands of what passes for “the left” in the US today. With the increasing unpopularity of his agenda, the only way to save the progressive “brand” is to have an alternative to Obama for what passes for “the left”

    3. My only concern is that Kucinich is not the best messenger. He’s widely seen as a fringe candidate. If he were to challenge in a primary, rest assured that Team Obama would move quickly to neutralize him as somebody of the “extreme left”, when in fact opposition to the Obama/Bush/Wall Street predatory agenda is hardly limited to the “extreme left”, or even the center-left. Ideally, I’d like to see Obama get challenged by a Dylan Ratigan-style anti-corporatist, somebody who could pass for an FDR style Democrat as easily as a Teddy Roosevelt reform Republican (without the empire building , of course). I think Liz Warren is the obvious dream candidate (but looking increasing unlikely, as Yves has diaried) but a heavy weight like Al Gore would be great as well. At this point, however, I suppose anyone willing to step up and open a 2nd front would be welcome

  14. Mark P.

    Man, a world where Chris Whalen and Cornell West are in essential, reasonable agreement about Obama’s evident worthlessness is a worrying, if interesting, world.


    “…the vacuum surrounding President Obama, a lack of political substance which stems from the continuing influence, nay hegemony, of former Citigroup Chairmen Robert Rubin and his minions. Older more experienced Rubin operatives such as Larry Summers have already abandoned the sinking ship, but … Geithner remains, we are told, until Rubin gives him permission to leave the table. It says a great deal about … intellectual debate inside the White House that the President finds the counsel of Secretary Geithner so indispensable. In fact, terrifying is the word the comes to mind.”



    “…it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level … all this populist language is just a facade.’ I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”


    1. gs_runsthiscountry

      One of Whalen’s better posts for sure.
      I am a bit shocked at some Yves post and comments the past 3 weeks or so. Here I had thought I was one of a few that was annoyed at the banking class infecting of infecting the white house. Which begs the question why the hell was Richard Davis of US bank in attendance today? Are not the banks represented enough already -guess not!

      Sorry small business owner’s, it’s all lip service, they obviously don’t need you input, even though talking points from the left and right keep spewing small business creates jobs. Yep, sorry, the price of admission for an audience with the prez is campaign dollars, and your wallet is a bit thin these days, so screw you.

      It was little more than a month ago I said to my father in a sarcastic way (he is lifelong democrat) So, dad, which republican are you voting for in 2012..(meaning Obama or his challenger). He said what the hell you are talking about. My response was -why you think there is no real GOP candidate – they don’t want one –they already have a republican in office taking marching orders!

      Those that complain Obama hasn’t brought change need to pipe down, he became a republican, how much more change do you want?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I’m sorry, but where have you been? I’ve been ranting against the banks since the TARP. I was batshit over the Geithner appointment and have criticized him consistently (and Bernanke during the crisis). I was outraged over the multiple retradiings of the AIG deal and wrote a whole damned book (which I started writing in March 2009) on how the economics profession created the ideology that allowed banks to loot the economy and enact a soft coup.

        1. gs_runsthiscountry

          You are correct, i have been reading here long enough to not frame it that way i did, I stand corrected. I think I am just projecting, because my reading bounces around. I just notice a shift in tone. I even notice it in the less than informed posts of my local newspaper and elsewhere.

          There has been a shift the last month, attributable to the debt ceiling debate, of casual and informed observers sounding off. People finally not being distracted as to the causes and not dismissing them as symptoms, friends, family and acquaintances are saying things to me I have been say for months, years….reference my “handle” and you can understand my frustration.

          I have said to them, what you just said to me, as i have been saying it for months…the ultimate point is it is sinking in to the American public.

          When you have friends that have no interest in politics sending you links to the Dylan Ratigan Rant, you know something changed. When you know staunch Democrats say to you over drinks, “i am voting them all out.” its a bit shocking to see them awaken to the issues.

  15. Sauron

    They are invincible. There is no point in trying, because we ain’t gonna win–or make any difference whatsoever. This seems to be mantra of the progressive left nowadays.

  16. Ep3

    Yves, I can give a little background on holland Michigan and that area where Obama was today.

    My sister actually has lived in holland for over ten years and her husband has lived there all his life. Holland, mi is heavily populated with Dutch persons. in the town, on a lake, the devos’s are building this huge mansion with a stream separating it from the guest house. It’s a college town for a private Methodist (not positive. I know while attending school there, my sister did attend church regularly as a requirement) college. It is an outlying city of grand rapids. Where the wealthy people can commute in to grand rapids every day. Grand rapids is the only area in Michigan with any growth and hope. The devos’s and another family own or have their names on everythng in the city. But the area is like 90% white people and 99% republican, right wing psycho republican. Imagine black liberal (sort of) detroit on the east side and white conservative on the west side. Grand rapids blames Detroit and lazy welfare public school govt health care people for the state’s problems. it’s the only area with manufacturing and where a person could get a job that could support themselves. But it also costs more to live there.

    So needless to say, obama was down there pimpin for money. Plus, based upon reactions to his visit (via campaign inflows) he can judge whether he has to put time and money into campaigning in michigan.
    Interesting, and he brought this up, the battery plant is running because of govt money while all the people in that area supposedly hate govt money. Of course they hate it when it helps colored people. And the devos and erik princes of the world all have been getting rich on ponzi schemes and govt contract.

  17. R. S. Amblee

    Companies can not create jobs if the market is weak, and the market will remain weak as long as consumer confidence is low. However, consumer confidence only increases when the economic outlook improves. Is this not a classic “chicken and egg” situation?
    Read how automation could help us out…

  18. Keith

    Why bother with a primary challenge or getting involved with the Democratic apparatus at all? I feel like all the time and effort that could go into a primary challenge in the Democratic Party could be better spent on supporting a third-party candidate. The Green Party is definitely more than a little bit goofy and not without it’s problems, but I feel like at this point voting for them would be better than giving the Democrats any more time or attention. Or for the more adventurous among us, hell, why not Socialist Party USA? Even the Libertarian Party would get my vote over the two major current crap-heaps at this point and . I don’t care if it means my vote doesn’t matter, I’m voting for the Green Party and maybe others come 2012.



Comments are closed.