Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NY Post Editorial
August 15, 2006 -- Does the name Jonathan Tasini ring a bell? He's the anti-war Democrat looking to unseat Sen. Hillary Clinton in the September 12 primary. Tasini wants a prime-time debate with Clinton on cable TV channel NY1 - a self-appointed debate impresario - but the station is saying no. It seems that NY1 requires candidates to prove their viability by having raised or spent at least $500,000 (up from $50,000 last year) and by drawing more than 5 percent in the polls. Tasini's OK on the latter count: A Harris poll has him at 13 percent (Tom Suozzi had single-digit support prior to his NY1 bout with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer).
Yet the cash-strapped, no-name Tasini is too broke to meet NY1's $500K requirement.
Now, let's be clear: NY1 has the right to impose and enforce the standards that it chooses. And voters certainly can appreciate the station wanting to limit its debates to viable candidates.
But, upon entering the debate business, doesn't the station acquire certain obligations?
Traditionally, the test of seriousness in a statewide candidate in New York is successful completion of the grueling ballot-access process.

It ain't easy, to put it mildly - but Tasini has made that grade. And if a viable candidacy is the gold standard, what in the world is NY1 doing allowing fringe Democrats Charlie King and Sean Patrick Maloney into its debate among candidates for attorney general this Thursday evening?
On the merits, Tasini has a point: 70 percent of New York Democrats consider Iraq to be a major Election Day issue, and, as he says, they can only benefit from a spirited debate on the issue. Obviously, Clinton is not going to lose the primary. But her stance on Iraq - always adaptable to changing circumstances - could stand a little clarification. Determining a candidate's "viability" is no easy feat, yet NY1 needs to cut Tasini a little slack.

[DUCHESS NOTE: If you live in NY state or know people who live in NY state, please share important information like this editorial or Tasini press releases with friends, family and other blogs. We need to get the word out there by or before Sept 12th ... NY state primary. Thank you & remember peace is the only way, not war nor fear.]



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