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A Paul-Kucinich ticket in favor of America

BY GUEST OPINION | OCTOBER 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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In this time of protest — witness the occupation of Wall Street and the spread to other cities — your attention, please, for a suggestion of ultimate protest.

It would involve two men on Capitol Hill at opposite ends of the political spectrum who like and respect each other. One of them is contending for his party's presidential nomination. The pair joined with other House members in filing a bipartisan lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of President Obama's actions in Libya. But what makes this pair unique is that you'd have to go out in the District in broad daylight with a lantern to find their match in plain, unvarnished honesty. When either speaks — and they're both outspoken — you can take it to the bank that he means what he says.

These nonpareils are Reps. Ron Paul of Texas and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. I propose that they be encouraged, urged, and badgered into forming an independent candidacy for 2012, either one on top of the ticket. In early 2008, I watched Paul, then also a Republican presidential aspirant, asked in an interview on TV whom he would like to see as president if he himself failed in his quest.

He waited a beat, and replied, "Dennis, I guess," demonstrating a love of country as opposed to the partisan cronyism for which politicians sacrifice country. He and his similarly principled friend would find ways to adjudicate and mediate their political and philosophical differences in order to save America from its spiral into second-class world status. Each would understand that separately they are powerless to effect real change. Paul is a 100-1 long-shot in the GOP derby. Kucinich is a lonely populist liberal in his own party.

Consider the built-in advantages of such a ticket. It appeals to voters from both parties because each party is represented. It appeals to independents because each man is a maverick in his own party. It's a ticket, a new third-party, that will of necessity develop a platform encompassing the best thinking of liberals and conservatives, letting the chips fall where they may. Let's remember that Ross Perot garnered an astounding 19 percent of the popular vote in his third-party run.

Be aware also that a strong third-party candidacy will be able to force its way into the all-important presidential debates. Am I writing this wishfully? Sure. But am I serious? You bet. What's needed to rescue America from its broken political system is a concept so outrageous on the surface, so seemingly counterintuitive, so shocking that that it cries out for attention.

Can a Paul-Kucinich or Kucinich-Paul ticket win? Yes. A majority in the Electoral College won't be needed, only a substantial plurality with neither the Republican nor the Democrat gaining a majority. That would keep the Electoral College process going, and anything will be negotiable. The GOP remains hard-pressed to develop a viable candidate and may not. Obama has disappointed many who formed his winning constituency, including militant liberals, Latino groups, backers of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and those who expected bolder actions from the White House.

The protesters across the nation foreshadow the opportunity for an all-American third party. Let's make a U-turn from the direction of mediocrity, political correctness, partisanship, and political expedience. Let's take a daring step to return this country to the path of honest governance in the interests of the entire population.

Norm Vance is a resident of Grand Rapids, Mich.


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