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Saturday, April 19, 2003  
Some Jews are wary of Kucinich

The folks at Forward.com say some Jews are peeved with Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio.

The newest entrant into the 2004 Democratic presidential field started out as a distinct long-shot, and his first major salvo of the campaign isn't likely to increase his odds of success. But Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is sticking to his, um, guns.

"Why is the U.S. going it alone? I say it's about oil," Kucinich flatly declared in a telephone interview with the Forward. "An overwhelming amount of evidence points to an interest in oil, but scant evidence points to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

The excerpt is from a February 28 column currently being circulated via email.

Kucinich's statement is not exactly novel. Many observers, including me, believe the invasion of Iraq is at least partly about oil. In the time since the publication of the column and the present, there has been additional evidence we're right. The question is: Can Dennis Kucinich afford to take a position some will consider anti-Semitic?

For many Jewish voters, already skittish about the Middle East, Kucinich's views can be alarming. "He's a minor player who could be a major disaster for Democrats," said New York political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.

Kucinich's desire to be perceived as 'the peace candidate' could be impacted by even a hint he might not be an acceptable choice for Jews. (I believe any suggestion he is anti-Semitic is not supported by the evidence, including that in the Forward article.) He has already lost some moderately conservative voters by altering his position on abortion and a claim he played racial politics early in his career may have tarnished his name among liberal Democrats and minority voters. I believe Kucinich has become quite marginal. If he loses some Jewish voters over the "war for oil" position, it will be another brick in the wall.

Note: I have edited this post to include more information.

12:39 PM