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Kinsey’s The Man

July 16, 2010

Kinsey’s The Man

“ Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – attributed to Albert Einstein

1.

Yesterday at a local NW Denver coffee shop, I ran into a friend

Bob Kinsey (left) - Colorado Green Party Candidate for the US Senate - campaigning

active in Denver’s Democratic Party. Indeed, NW Denver is something of a Democratic breeding ground, one of the most heavily Democratic precincts between St. Louis and San Francisco. Not alot of Tea Party supporters around here. Not interested in climbing the ladder – my friend Willie L.  has long worked on a local level and like so many other Denver Dems that I know – Willie has cast his lot for Andrew Romanoff who he sees as a progressive and grass roots alternative to Michael Bennet.

He’s annoyed that I don’t share his enthusiasm, a subject on which I have previously written on this blog.

I respond in what is becoming something close to my mantra on this election: that Romanoff is posturing – I call it the Mike Miles approach, without Miles’ consistent politics – and that in the end there is little difference between Romanoff and Bennet on the issues and that I expect that both of them will turn out to be the same variety of spineless Democrats who support the deregulation and privatization of everything, talk peace but vote all the time for more money for war, duck into the nearest closet whenever that scary word `Palestinian’ is spoken, etc.   Should either one actually become Colorado’s US Senator it is more than likely that will follow the same worn path to supporting increased military budgets and war abroad, the Patriot Act and like erosions of US civil liberties – all this while assuring Colorado Dems of their liberal credentials.

These thoughts came to mind a week before the BP oil rig in the Gulf blew, resulting in the biggest environmental disaster in US history. There was President Barack Obama and his Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, another Colorado political chameleon – never more than a phone call away from his close friends and energy (among other things) industry lobbyists – Norm Brownstein and Steve Farber of Denver –  announcing new off shore oil leases off of the US. That has been followed up, a few months later, with a $25 billion Congressional allocation to stimulate the development of nuclear energy.

True enough, Bennet has big money and out of state political backing and Romanoff has refrained from taking corporate contributions this time. But in the past, Romanoff has taken plenty from corporate and financial coffers and only the most naïve would believe that, if elected, he won’t do it again. He’s not really `the special guy’ that people think he is. That said, Romanoff has won the hearts and minds of the base of the Colorado Democratic Party – a base, by the way, whose political platform I generally support, a platform usually fast forgotten as soon as a Democrat is elected to office.

Although I have not taken a formal survey, if my neighborhood is any indication, Romanoff has succeeded in winning effective and broad support of the party’s left-liberal base who see the Romanoff-Bennet contest as pitting Andrew’s grass roots support against Michael’s out-of-state PAC-corporate base. That there is an element of truth here is undeniable. Still it is disappointing although not surprising that once again what should be a contest based on issues and positions on national and international questions (Middle East wars, the environment, the financial mess our country is in) turns out to be more and more of a popularity contest.

Looking more carefully at `the Romanoff phenomenon’ also suggests some limits to his campaign:

  • If Romanoff has effectively mobilized the Democratic Party’s base on the front range – and he has – Romanoff’s support from labor is luke warm – he never did much for them in the legislature.
  • The state’s Chicano population is split on him as a result of his role in limiting the rights of undocumented workers. In July 2006, at a time when Democrats already dominated the state legislature,  Romanoff helped shepherd a bill that Fox News referred to as `the toughest in the nation (up until that time) in dealing with illegal immigration, which would force 1 million people receiving state and federal aid in Colorado to verify their citizenship. There is tv footage of Romanoff and then-Colorado Governor Bill Owens, one of the state’s worst governors in recent memory, celebrating the bill’s passage.
  • Unnecessarily – as it has nothing to do with the functions of the state legislature – he has thrown a number of bones AIPAC’s way as well, among them, in 2006, ushering through the state legislature (when it wasn’t even in session) a resolution in 2006 in support of Israel’s military assault against Lebanon (Colorado State Legislature 2006 Resolution In Support of Israel) . He was also a key player in getting a resolution through the state house – a part of an AIPAC inspired national campaign in state legislatures to get the state pension fund – PERA – to divest from Iran’s energy sector, a part of the overall effort to tighten the noose around the Islamic Republic. The fact that Romanoff  has made a trip or two to Israel does not exactly make him an expert – or even knowledgeable – on Middle East issues.
  • From his website, Romanoff comes off as little more than a modern version of what used to be called `a Cold War liberal’ – He tells us ““From the days of the American Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our nation has relied on the bravery and sacrifice of the members of its Armed Forces.  We owe our troops, our veterans, and their families more than a debt of gratitude.  We owe them our full support, both at home and abroad.” So we suck up to veterans, – not a particularly original approach in US political life – hint vaguely at supporting the US wars in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and who knows where else. It’s not the troops who decided to go to war, but first Bush and then Obama. Is that a peace platform? He’s not about to change the slogan to something more catchy like `Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home Now!’
  • In the past, he has also floated ideas about privatizing the state’s pension system – PERA – that he’s not talking much about now.

Bennet’s record is not particularly inspiring either.

  • Yes he is supporting legislation on election reform to limit lobbying, and like Romanoff, he is bright enough;
  • But his political career was incubated in Philip Anschutz’s political laboratory – one of the wealthiest – and most ruthless – capitalists in this fair state.
  • Friends who support him (several good friends do) have tried to impress me with `the way he went about’ closing Manuel High School; it is a rather dubious badge of honor to have shut down what was once one of the finest and most racially integrated – high schools in Colorado, something for which he should be ashamed, rather than proud.
  • Much has been made (by my friends who are Bennet supporters) of the fact that his brother,  James Bennet, is a NY Times correspondent in the Middle East and that somehow that makes Michael savvy on Middle East issues – not exactly convincing logic.

Still, I’m glad that there is a primary battle that forces both of them to address the electorate, but that nothing – or hardly anything – I’ve seen from either of them would, up until now, convince me to throw my hat in either ring. The fact that there is a primary gives grass roots Dems an opportunity to challenge both candidates on the issues. I hope they do so.

Worrying that I just might be voting Republican – poor Willie was about to have what I would call a typical NW Denver Democratic Party panic attack. In an effort to calm him down – I don’t remember ever voting for a Republican and I’m not about to start now – I announced that instead, supporting the candidacy of Bob Kinsey, Green Party candidate the US Senate

2.

The media in Colorado has paid little to no attention to Green Party candidate Bob Kinsey’s run for the US Senate. It’s a pity really. Kinsey is more than `merely a viable candidate’. I would argue that his understanding of the national and global issues is more profound than the other candidates – and his positions on them – more consistently progressive than those of the other candidates – both Democratic and Republican. Kinsey, a retired United Church of Christ ordained minister,  has long been a peace activist. His criticism of the Vietnam war cost  him his pulpit; for a number of years he’s been the executive director of the Colorado Coalition Against Nuclear War. Easily – he knows nuclear and foreign policy issues in much greater depth – and with more principle – than either Bennet or Romanoff. Through the Green Party he’s also developed a profound knowledge of environmental issues and alternatives to the environmental mess in which we (we= the world) currently find ourselves. And he’s feisty. I’m convinced if given the chance, because of his knowledge on the issues that, in a televised debate, he would embarrass Bennet, Romanoff and whatever rightwing Neanderthal the Republicans are putting up.

And while I’m not going to give up my Democratic Party membership, as I have done in the past, I’ll support Kinsey in this race and gladly do so. My reasons are not machiavellian – I vote on issues – and on the issues that concern me – no one comes close to Bob Kinsey. Voting for Kinsey – if there is a sizeable vote – pushes the election discussion to the left, forcing Dems and Republicans to deal with issues they carefully try to avoid, like immigration and war.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And while I’m not going to give up my Democratic Party membership, I’ll support Kinsey in this race and gladly do so. My reasons are not machiavellian – I vote on issues – and on the issues that concern me – no one comes close to Bob Kinsey. Voting for Kinsey – if there is a sizeable vote his way – pushes the election discussion to the left, forcing Dems and Republicans to deal with issues they so carefully try to avoid, like immigration and war.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For the past 30 years – the national US political scene has been characterized by over-the-edge right wing Republicans and generally spineless Democrats. In both parties – money has become the defining factor as corporate and financial lobbyists have been permitted to run rampant. While there are occasional differences in the ideological perspectives of the two parties – there is something approaching a bipartisan consensus of their positions on a number of major issues of our day:

–          Embellishing the threat to the United States represented by the war on terrorism and voting again and again to swell the already bloated US military budget

–          Supporting the US role as global policeman and all the misguided Middle Eastern wars – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, something approaching blind support – economic, military and political – of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories.

–          On the economy, supporting deregulation and privatization both nationally and globally despite the damage these policies have done both to the country and the world

–          On energy matters supporting off-shore drilling – this despite the BP Gulf of Mexico debacle – and now encouraging a major underwriting of nuclear energy (the recent bill that passed Congress)

–          It was the same `bipartisan’ approach which gave us one of the worst national healthcare programs of any developed country – a far cry from what a single payer or European-style nationalized healthcare program would have offered.

On all of these issues and more – Bob Kinsey is the only candidate in the running that consistently speaks to my values and political views. Willie admitted that `Obama has made so many mistakes’ and is a little concerned about what I tell relate about both Romanoff and Bennet. But not enough yet to do anything about it. He might reflect upon Einstein’s quote… many of us have heard the old Albert Einstein quote that the essence of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result. We quote it alot but rarely act on it.

Kinsey Fights Odds For Senate – Durango Herald, July 30, 2010

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 5:52 am

    I am honored by this endorsement from someone for whom I have great respect. May I live up to it–at least–the part that says I can kick a butt or two in a debate. It’s so hard to address any issue–and they are all so interrelated — in a thirty second sound bite. I need all the help I can get!
    http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?Kinsey10&1

  2. July 16, 2010 5:58 am

    I hope you live up to it too… best. rjp

  3. a ney permalink
    July 16, 2010 7:20 am

    thank you for your bravery in support of Bob Kinsey – he IS the man!

    it’s a shame that too often politics takes precedence over policy, “pragmatism” over progress.

    by stepping out early, publicly declaring your support for a Kinsey candidacy, you are boldly calling attention – “regardless of what their campaigns may tell you, would-be Senators Romanoff and Bennet are merely different faces of the same corporate agenda.” -and i would add, -it’s the same agenda being advanced by the ‘other party,’ deregulation and privatization.

    too often the voter is required to compromise at the ballot-box (or even the party primary). -that is much too early in the legislative process.

    ps – if yo like Bob Kinsey, check out Gary Swing in House Rep, District 1, http://www.swingvoters.politicalgateway.com/cand.php?id=1479

  4. Sterling Field permalink
    July 16, 2010 8:04 am

    Refreshing! In a time when many are quick to say what sounds right but when the time
    Comes to act they are nowhere to be found, it’s refreshing to see those who walk the walk and maintain their beliefs and values. I may not agree with the political views of Bob Kinsey but I definitely admire his integrity and fortitude!

  5. Richard Bluhm permalink
    July 17, 2010 5:09 am

    I am voting for Bob Kinsey because the Democratic Party has left me without representation,and further, has betrayed America by fostering policies of economic predation and militarism that are evidential of a loss of our moral compass. I have tussled with the charge of being a”spoiler” but have arrived at the conclusion that voting another time for a member of the Democratic branch of the War-Making/Corporate Party is a repetition of the same behavior with an expectation of different results. That’s the collective insanity we have all been living for several decades.

  6. Bob Carlsten permalink
    July 17, 2010 3:42 pm

    I have known Bob Kinsey since the early 90s when we both supported Pastors For Peace caravans to Cuba. He is honest, intelligent, has principled integrity and if given the chance would do very well in a debate with either Republican or Democratic candidates for the senate. We also need to keep pushing for instant run off voting, as was used in the Academy Awards.

  7. Dan Winters permalink
    July 19, 2010 9:25 am

    AGREE, AGREE, AGREE, AGREE AND AGAIN AGREE – Kinsey is the only reasonable choice.
    Dan c. Winters

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