Judge Rules Kucinich Must Be Allowed To Participate In Tonight's Debate
by Jeff Dinelli
Good news for people interested in a true liberal point of view being heard during this campaign: A Nevada judge has forced MSNBC to allow Congressman Dennis Kucinich to participate in tonight's debate. Last night, the AP was reporting that if the judge officially signed his order today, MSNBC was absurdly threatening to appeal to the Nevada State Supreme Court in hopes of barring Kucinich from the show.
Being a Kucinich supporter and a follower of these battles for inclusion, I was at first excited about this ruling. I'm wearing my Kucinich hoodie and my red, white and blue Converse hi-tops today, but I've been told not to hold my breath about Vegas setting up a fourth podium. The Congressman claimed in his restraining order that the FCC was not upholding its duty to act in the public interest by refusing to allow Kucinich to offer a different point of view in a matter as important as who the next President of the United States will be.
NBC's response deals with two points. First, that the public interest idea only applies to public airwaves, which applies to NBC, but not to cable station MSNBC. Secondly, Kucinich doesn't say that he went to the FCC first, but that there was a breach of contract, since he was originally invited. NBC says there was no contract.
Procedural mistake on the part of Kucinich? Exception to the public interest rule? All a bunch of mumbo jumbo, in my opinion. The more the merrier, especially in a case where his viewpoints of "Strength Through Peace," universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care, securing consitutional democracy by shredding the Patriot Act, serious environmental action towards a sustainable future with our finite resources, fighting poverty worldwide, ending our participation in the WTO and NAFTA and restoring ethics, accountability and fairness in global trade and big business.
Finally, two things: you have to admire Kucinich's stubborn commitment to fight for liberal ideals by staying in this race as long as he can, and a pox on NBC for appealing the judge's decision. If they win, and I'll keep an eye on it today, we'll be subjected to the three-ring circus we're all sick of, instead of an inclusive discussion of different points of view.
Update: I'm hearing that MSNBC has twice said today Dennis will be in the debate. Maybe they couldn't get a court to stop it or maybe they gave up.
Update II: NBC apparently thinks barring Kucinich is so important they're now appealing the judge's decision, effectively changing the rules of their original invite to the Congressman.
Update III: As Seven of Six announced in the comments thread, Corporate Keith Olbermann just interrupted his interview with one of the three people he has on nightly to declare NBC's heroic victory over the Evil Dennis Kucinich, by taking it all the way to the Nevada State Supreme Court to keep him off of their network tonight. Who knows what he would have talked about, anyway? His demand of a recount in New Hampshire after reports that the Diebold machines didn't work properly? Can't have that discussion popping up tonight. Might remind viewers of 2004 and cause fear that all of this is for naught, that we're heading towards another rigged vote in November.
Who knows what the real reason was, but it's now certain the only true voice of Liberalism has been gagged and led out of the building, much as the Republicans are trying to stifle Libertarian views by keeping Ron Paul from participating. Democracy had a bad day, what with the leading Republican announcing plans to turn the government over to "God," whomever that may be, and Liberalism's leading voice stifled by a multi-billion dollar corporation. Enjoy the 3-ring circus tonight, everyone!
Update IV: Since Congressman Kucinich is unable to speak for himself tonight, allow me to present the latest update from his campaign. It deals with his being banned from the ABC and NBC debates and his request for a recount in New Hampshire due to disparities in the ballot counting.