Dennis, Departing

Yesterday’s primary election in Ohio not only resulted in a win for Mitt Romney, it also ended (for now, at least) the congressional career of Dennis Kucinich.  Fellow Representative Marcy Kaptur trounced Kucinich in the Democratic primary in a redrawn district.

Kucinich blamed his defeat on a negative campaign by Kaptur.  Perhaps — but it seems equally plausible that those who voted overwhelmingly for Kaptur saw Kucinich as a publicity hound who wasn’t a very effective Congressman.  He grabbed headlines with his quixotic runs for President and strident anti-war views, to say nothjng of his silly dental injury lawsuit, but did he really have a positive impact for his district?

The national press has expressed wistful regret at Kucinich’s defeat; they depict it as part of a process by which Congress has shed its colorful characters and become increasingly homogenized.  The media loved Kucinich because he was good copy.  Voters, however, aren’t so much interested in representatives who are great at getting publicity as they are in finding someone who will produce for them back home.  The voters in Ohio’s new 9th District obviously concluded that Kaptur was better suited to that task than Kucinich.  Who can blame them?


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