by Kyle Swenson
One of the most frequent charges critics have lobbed at Congressman Dennis Kucinich is that he’s addicted putting Dennis! first — Dennis! running for President, Dennis! playing coy about how he’ll vote on the health-care bill until President Obama flies him out to Cleveland on Airforce One to persuade him, Dennis! keeping HIS congressional seat even if it means moving to Washington or Maine or the Moon, and of course, that damned exclamation mark.
The email he sent out today isn’t going to help refute those charges. While Ohio Democrats are revving up for repeal referendum campaign to revoke the wildly gerrymandered congressional map that statehouse Republicans drew to give the GOP an outsized edge of 3-1 Republican-leaning districts, Dennis is thinking mainly about — you guessed it, Dennis. Titled “We Have a District (Maybe Not),” his email actually attacks his fellow Democrats for campaigning for a map that’s fairer to voters.
“When we last talked, we had a district. Today, an effort is being made to take it away. In the past week a mind-boggling number of re-mapping efforts by Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly have been made to try to reshape our district in such a way as to dilute the strength of my core constituency in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. Yes, the Republicans drew a Democratic district, using most of my present district and creating a seat which is based in the Cleveland area. This map gave the advantage to my constituents in the greater Cleveland area. I have said so. Some statehouse Democrats want to repeal this map. I don't. We will find out today who will prevail.”
What the Democrats really want is a map that doesn’t combine the western half of Dennis’ district with the eastern part of Marcy Kaptur’s Toledo-based district to create a more than hundred-mile coastal sliver that’s linked in parts by an uninhabited island and the Sandusky Bay Bridge. That’s hardly “based in the Cleveland area.” In a lousy deal for voters, either the western Cuyahoga will be represented by someone from Toledo or vice versa.
Dennis is OK with this, though, because somewhat more of HIS current Democratic voters were drawn into the district than Kaptur’s current voters. And because the outrageous gerrymandering may help HIM, he finds the efforts of Democrats to lobby for a fairer map that more accurately reflects the partisan distribution of the state and doesn’t hack communities to smithereens “mind-boggling.”
The mind boggles, but not for the reason Kucinich says it does. — Anastasia Pantsios