He's a little guy who still looks a little boyish at the age of 64. But Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is one tough cookie. Kucinich is telling colleagues that his hard nose is what's needed to defend President Obama when Republicans take over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
-- a panel that Democrats fear will be used to bludgeon the Obama administration.
The incoming chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa
(R-Calif.), is a combative conservative who is widely expected to aggressively investigate the White House and federal work force, using the resources of the committee, which has subpoena power.
Kucinich, a hero to anti-war liberals and a two-time candidate for president, wants to be in position to defend the administration with the same pugnacity that he used fighting his way up through the tough ward politics on Cleveland's west side. But he is not the heir apparent to the ranking minority position on the panel. The obvious choice is Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), the outgoing chairman. And Towns wants the job. "Chairman Towns has clearly stated that any attempts to use this committee as a political weapon are intolerable and he will lead a strong and unified resistance against any such effort," a spokesman told the Washington Post.
But Kucinich said Wednesday he would run in an internal election for the committee post, saying the choice is "perhaps the most important vote" in the upcoming organization of the new Congress. This is because Issa lacks "restraint and basic fairness" and has already made wild charges that "threaten to turn the principal oversight committee of the House into a witch hunt," he said in a letter
An Issa spokesman declined comment to the Post. Ironically, the five-term Californian is, like Kucinich, a native of Cleveland. Kucinich, who demonstrated in his failed presidential campaigns that he doesn't mind long odds, will have to overcome the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus in his campaign to get around Towns. He is fifth on the committee among Democrats in seniority and is chairman of the domestic policy