Another cautionary tale


Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has been on the roster for a number of elections lately, as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, his second of two quixotic attempts. But there was another, more critical vote in which his name was included during the 3/4/08 Ohio primary. That one was for his seat in the House of Representatives.

A face-off with a Republican isn’t on the card until November, but Kucinich had no lack of opponents for his seat from within his own party. The reason was the widely held perception that his rambling about the nation on a hopeless quest for the White House was a search for a great big megaphone from which to voice his opinions. Meanwhile, constituents back in his portion of Cleveland were getting short shrift.

In an era where serious intramural challenges are made to congressional incumbents, Kucinich managed to attract only 50% of the vote. Perhaps he was lucky that there were three opponents rather than just one. The strongest of the three pulled in 35%.

RBR/TVBR observation: In local broadcasting terms, Kucinich has been turning himself into the congressional equivalent of a name-brand nationally syndicated act. Maybe there is some prestige to having this national talent in your market (although we’re certain that for many of the residents of the Ohio 10th District, the situation is cringe-worthy to the max), but when it comes down to it, the citizens want the traffic reports to be local, and they want their representative to do something about it. Half of the Democrats in this district want him replaced with local talent, and if you add in all of the available local Republicans (fortunately for Kucinich, not a difficult head count to pull off), he’s a loser. Having survived his primary challenge, he’ll probably get away with his inattentiveness in November. But the inescapable moral of the story, ladies and gentlemen, is that local trumps national.