During one of the debates Trump asked Biden how he came to own three very expensive homes. Trump made a sarcastic face and said something like “it makes no sense”, but then he let it go. I think he could’ve won the election with that issue alone. That is the populace tact that could win - Dem or GOP. Nancy how did you become rich? Hammer on that. Mitch can’t help but notice you’re a millionnaire. What are the politicians tax returns say, how much did they earn and does that equate to 3 homes.

Expand full comment

This is exciting: a book I would actually read by and about a politician whose only flaws have been remarkable prescience and integrity. I recently tweeted at Kucinich a few times urging him to run for the open Ohio Senate seat. With the book out of the way (and now on my reading list), maybe he will give that idea some serious thought.

Thanks, Matt!

Expand full comment

I'm on the right, but I was always skeptical of the Iraq War.

I'll never forget when Kucinich was on some Sunday morning chat show in around 2004, and a Bush apologist was flaunting photos of old chemical weapons receptacles that were found in Iraq, arguing that there really were WMD.

Kucinich politely asked if he could have the photos, the hack agreed, and Kucinich asked the cameraman to zoom in on one. It showed a long, rusted out metal canister, looking like something you'd see in a scrap metal yard.

Kucinich asked, just slightly raising his voice, "We went to war--over this?"

The Bushee started stuttering and hemming and hawing and otherwise showing what a direct hit it was.

Damn, I was impressed.

Expand full comment

What I want to know is what did Obama do to Kucinich on Air Force One at the end of the Healthcase debate to turn Kucinich into a sellout from that moment forward? Obamacare, as Nader put it, was "A blowjob for the insurance industry."

Expand full comment

Going to read this book. It is funny that my fellow liberals don’t get why I don’t think Trump supporters are automatically dirtbags. The poor ones are getting fucked over like I was. We just came to different ways to protest the political dirtbags in office and professional class media enablers for both teams.

Expand full comment

This sounds like a long read but now I'm very interested in checking it out. Since 2004 was the first election I was old enough to vote in, I've always thought of Kucinich as the first (and last) hope of a major political party candidate whom I could consider to at least be anti-war adjacent. Since I am very firmly anti-war, everybody else in the Dem & Rep camps has been a pretty easy "Pass" from me (I'll always regret being duped into believing even for a second that Obama was a worthwhile vote from an anti-war perspective). That also means that I'm pretty used to both parties and their adherents shitting on me left & right (pun intended) as being unpatriotic or a Nazi sympathizer or whatever, so I certainly sympathize a lot with guys like Kucinich when I see them getting shit on by the Left & the Right in an alternating fashion.

"He understands the catastrophe of default, but he can’t sell; he’s worried about the city, but also his soul."

This is the kind of dilemma that hits me hard, too, and I feel like it's an argument that's gone by the wayside between two competing materialist philosophies (Capitalism vs. Socialism/Marxism is probably the easiest shorthand for it) that have gained such hegemony over the years that any discussion of a "soul" or things outside the narrow materialist view get instantly discarded. I'm a long-since renounced Evangelical, but some of those things still stick with me since there's still a lot to learn from things like the Sermon on the Mount and even Talmudic Law from the early "Old Testament" writings.

I think it was Vonnegut who I read once described himself as a "Christ-loving Atheist" and I thought that was a good way of putting it. Especially as a musician/artist, the idea of selling my soul has always been there -- you see artists sell out to make a bunch of drivel to pad their pockets, and they never get their souls back, the thing that made them so beautiful to begin with. In fact, they rarely want it back because they have all these material possessions and their kids go to fancy schools, so why would they care about something like a soul? Maybe it's just because my name is Matthew so I've always leaned in to that book in the Bible, but even 15 years after quitting the faith and splitting from churches, I still remember Matthew 19:26 (my paraphrase): "For what would it profit a man, to gain the whole world but to lose his own soul?" For all my lefty principles and such, I could never truly feel like a part of the Left these days with how much they focus on materialistic needs, and I'm considered a person who "fetishizes poverty" when I fondly remember stories from my Grandma about how poor her family was, but the idea that "we may not have much money, but we've always got each other" really MEANS something. Lots of people have covered this song (I absolutely love the Jeff Buckley version), and these lines have always stood out to me from Satisfied Mind:

The wealthiest person is a pauper at times

compared to the man with a satisfied mind

Thanks for the review Matt, I'll have to look into this book when I've got the appetite for a 700-pager, haha.

Expand full comment

I voted for Kucinich in the Democratic primaries in DC in both 2004 and 2008. He won the DC primary in 2004. Then, for reasons that were never explained to the public, the Democratic establishment decided on a do-over. So, we had a second primary, and John Kerry won. Again, no explanation and virtually no press coverage. Anyone I talked to about my vote described Kucinich as “weird.” One supposedly progressive commentator even remarked on the weird way Kucinich ate noodles. So we got polished and corrupt instead of honest, smart and unconventional. We can’t say we’ve never had choices.

Expand full comment

Thanks Matt. This kind of reporting is keeping the spotlight where it should be, not so much Dems vs Republicans, but on the "riggers" and the "riggees" (so to speak. )

I never could understand why Trump was supposedly a pariah from the day he came down the escalator. It was precisely his pie-in-the-face behavior to the riggers that scared everybody to death. I think he was caught off guard by the extent to which those in his own party (and administration) were entrenched in the rigged system. He was a real threat, and I think he was getting close to the core of the problem so he had to be gotten rid of. It's the riggers vs the riggees.

Expand full comment

My first impression of Kucinich was not great, but in the following years I have found him to be an honest and forthright man. Based on this very fine article, I can now presume my first impressions were based on false reporting AKA: Fake News. It's more than clear to me today that what we have is a somewhat hidden group of criminals masquerading as politicians, news media, and corrupt corporations, where the bottom line is to gain wealth for themselves at the expense of their neighbors and fellow citizens. Add to that a federal government that supports the activity, as long as someone form within it gains as well.

Expand full comment

Great article. Glad you wrote it. But I was able to answer this question off the top of my head without reading any further:

"By 2020 most all of Kucinich’s positions were orthodoxy among Democratic voters, yet he remains an outcast to Democrats nationally. In fact, he’s been frozen out of blue-state media for the better part of a decade, and welcomed during the same time to a five-year stint as a Fox News contributor. What gives?"

What gives is the key word "most." Those positions held by Kucinich that *AREN'T* orthodoxy among Democrat voters (or the DNC / corporate media hydra) are exactly why he's been frozen out. Allow me to list them:

1. Anti-war (see: Tulsi Gabbard for another example)

2. Pro Medicare for All (or an equivalent UHC system)

3. Tuition free college

4. Anti "intelligence" community / surveillance state

Those four things, or any combination of them - including just #1 - will keep anyone frozen out of the corporate media and unable to utilize the corporate DNC's party machine to get elected to any meaningful position of power. That simple.

Expand full comment

I was immediately impressed by Dennis Kucinich when he was one of the few (if any at that time) Croatian-Americans in Congress, and he nobly, on principle, opposed US military action against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia. Dennis could have easily earned strong support from nationalistic Croatian-Americans, including many in his district, by backing such moves. Instead, he risked their strong enmity by opposing those acts of war, publicly. After that, I contributed to all his presidential campaigns.

We need people of integrity. Otherwise, any system can and will be gamed.

Expand full comment

Matt, thank you SO much for doing the interview and writing the book review. I almost feel you’ve vindicated him on so many levels, and I thank you for that too. I voted for the man in 2004 and was ready to do it again in 2008 before he pulled out of the race. I remember the first time I heard him speak (I was a transplant from Puerto Rico at the time) and my jaw fell to the floor; who is this man, I wondered. Well, he turned out to be THE most “unelectable” candidate from that time. I miss him.

Expand full comment

We probably need more tell-all stories about the powers that be - starting with General Smedley Butler's uncovering a fascist plot to take over the government in the 30s, to Henry Wallace's being pushed out of the democratic party, to Kennedy's fights with intelligence and JCOS inside the administration, to Nixon's decision to open up relations with China to get the inside skinny on the military industrial reaction. Ford was a placeholder for the intelligence community and just about everyone after that played ball with the neoliberal establishment to some extent.

We need more institutional exposure of how the hidden state plays ball - beyond assassinations, dirty wars, coup d'etats, and rigging elections.

Expand full comment

I remember Dennis Kucinich running for president. He was never once allowed to be front and center...that spot was reserved for Clinton and Obama. He was shoved to the far side of the stage, but every time he got a chance to say something, what he said made sense, was realistic, rang of sincerity and made me always say, this is the guy I want for president. The others, by comparison, were, well, stupid, including the two who were front and center, though Obama fooled a lot of people. I have wondered often what kind of a world we would live in if we were allowed to have a decent president, such as Kucinich, Stein, Gabbard. That won't happen in my lifetime....or ever, I expect. I loved the guy for the way he was and missed him when he fell out of sight. Look forward to his book. Thanks, Matt, for this.

Expand full comment

Kucinich's loss in 08 was America's loss. Instead we got obie, the transformational president that bombed brown people every single day of his Nobel Peace Prize presidency, gave us nearly $11TRILLION in new debt, waged culture wars and race wars and spied on every single American for Amazon (giving Bezos the $600M CIA contract that let him buy the WaPo and your privacy), all while leaving office some $20million richer.

I look forward to The Division of Light and Power, primarily because the U.S. media no longer reports on government corruption - after all, fiction, aspersions, and witch hunts are much more fun and much more lucrative than bearing the burden of the 4th Estate and actually investigating wrong doing by the people we've elected to govern us.

Expand full comment

One might ask Kucinich how he managed to navigate power for so long while remaining unscathed (other than his national political brand). So many of his ideas had and do have merit, but I guess I find myself in the middle of being gobsmacked by his audacity/will to challenge power and his sheer luck of not being ruined more than just his reputation in Washington temporarily. There are worse outcomes and fates than his.

Another way to say this is that if WaPo is singing his praises now (decades after the fact), then he must have been an easy threat to dismantle. Someone like Philip Agee or Julian Assange seems to rankle the deep state and their whorish brethren congress much more Kucinich. These benign caricatures like Adlai Stephenson, Dennis Kucinich, and Bernie Sanders seem to get walked upon and bullied more than they lead people to a new path.

There is a great deal to admire in DK, no doubt - but if he was the best opportunity for a sane Presidential choice in the last 40 years, we are clearly fucked.

Expand full comment