One thing he admires most about Kucinich is the firm stand he took against the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq when most of his fellow Democrats wavered. But there's plenty more he admires.
"I like his honesty and integrity. I like that he doesn't take corporate money. I like his health plan. I like that he's working class, a poor kid whose family sometimes had to live out of their car when he was growing up. He's worked hard all his life, and he respects work. He wants to bring jobs back to the U.S. I like what he did as mayor of Cleveland."
Kucinich may look like Paul Reubens, but he's a scrapper. When he took office in Cleveland in the 1970s—then America's youngest big-city mayor—the city was plummeting into bankruptcy, which it did under Kucinich, but only because he stood up to bankers who wouldn't approve a bailout unless he turned the municipal utility over to their private company. Kucinich took the heat for the bankruptcy then, but he's since been lauded for saving city ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
As mayor, a state legislator and a congressman, Kucinich each time has beaten a Republican incumbent in a conservative area.
"He'll beat the incumbent in the White House too if he gets the chance," Gibson maintains. "Once people know him and hear what he has to say, he will win."
Both Gibson and Mang have registered as Democrats so they can vote for Kucinich, earning the ire of some of their fellow Greens.
"Some Greens are pissed off," Mang says, "but I think the bulk of them are with us. At the first meeting of OC 4 Kucinich, we had about 50 people, and at least half of them were Green Party members."
"I'd never registered as a Democrat before in my life," said Gibson. "But I would vote for any Democrat now that they ran against Bush, because I think it is that serious. This nation can't take another four years of Bush."
They think Howard Dean would be the best second choice, but to them it's a distant second. Some tout Dean's abilities as a fundraiser, but that will amount to squat compared to Bush's war chest. Meanwhile, it has taken Kucinich months to collect a million dollars, a mere seventh of what Bush raises in an evening's fat-cat fundraiser.
Money simply isn't going to win the Democrats this election. It's going to take truth, vision and a bit of fire-breathing pizzazz to reclaim this nation. I don't know about you, but I'm desperate to believe that this country can still imagine a better future—one that is just, compassionate, functional and not driven by fear—and will do the hard work to achieve it. And I'm very interested to hear what Kucinich has to say this Sunday.