After a thorough evaluation of all the Democratic Presidential candidates, the editors of one of the country's leading political publications, The Nation, have concluded, "In his stands on the issues, Dennis Kucinich comes closest to embodying the ideals of this magazine."
"A vote for him would be a principled one," says the The Nation in its lead editorial:
"He has been a forceful critic of the Bush administration, opposing the Patriot Act and spearheading the motion to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. He is the only candidate to have voted against the Iraq War in 2003 and has voted against funding it ever since. Of all the serious candidates, only he and Governor Bill Richardson propose a full and immediate withdrawal from Iraq. And only Kucinich's plan sets aside funds for reparations. Moreover, Kucinich has used his presidential campaigns to champion issues like cutting the military budget and abolishing nuclear weapons; universal, single-payer healthcare; campaign finance reform; same-sex marriage and an end to the death penalty and the war on drugs."
While lauding Kucinich's "progressive vision," the editorial notes that the Kucinich campaign faces formidable challenges from the other Democratic contenders: "More than $150 million has been spent on advertising, polling and other campaign expenses. Pundits have pronounced their conventional wisdom, so easily reversed, on who is most 'electable,' 'presidential' or 'inevitable.'"
The publication stopped short of endorsing Kucinich, however, stating: "What is needed most now is not a candidate but a movement to surround that candidate, to brace his or her resolve, to press for the best platform and to hold him or her accountable for implementing it if elected. For this reason, we choose not to endorse a candidate for President at this time but rather to call for the rise of a broadly based small-d democratic movement, as only such a movement can create the space necessary to realize this moment's full potential."
The editorial continues: "With Democrats running left and Republicans slouching right, we believe this election presents a historic opportunity to precipitate a progressive realignment. There is ferment in the air, a yearning for change and for a resuscitation of America's most inspired dreams of justice and equality. The kindling is in place, but the right spark has not yet been struck."
With the Iowa caucuses little more than a week away, and other primaries and caucuses soon after, the editorial wonders whether any of the other candidates will be able to coalesce progressive voters. "Simply put, many Iowans will soon face a question that the rest of us may have to answer later: if not Dennis, then who?" the editors ask.
In evaluating the other leading candidates - Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards - the magazine says, "There are aspects of each candidate and campaign to be admired, and also those that cause concern."
On Clinton: "...her shift on Iraq did not reflect a fundamental political reorientation. Indeed, a Hillary Clinton administration could see a revival of her husband's advisers and their procorporate neoliberal policies. Certainly the presence of familiar and high-priced pollsters and lobbyists in the upper echelons of her campaign, as advisers and donors, is a worrisome sign.
"In contrast, Barack Obama and John Edwards are reaching for new ground. Each also presents the risks -- and promises -- of unknown potential."
Edwards, the editorial points out, "has not sewn up union support across the board, nor has he excited a cohort of previously disenfranchised voters. Perhaps some have been turned off by the media's relentless fixation on the 'three H's' -- haircuts, hedge funds and houses -- symbols of the gap between his populist rhetoric and his lifestyle."
And, "An Obama presidency would contain fresh faces -- but would it have fresh ideas?"
The magazine says it will continue to watch the candidates and the campaigns "with the hope that a progressive insurgency will make its influence even more deeply felt. The front-loaded primary schedule -- with individual states elbowing one another into the first days of 2008 -- could dampen that hope." But, the editors add, "American electoral politics is a strange and unruly beast -- defying expectation as often as fulfilling it."
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