Monday, August 21, 2006


City Hall Press Conference: Single Issue

City Hall Press Conference: Differences with Hillary Clinton

NY1 Press Conference:

Jonathan Tasini speaking about Discrimination:

Jonathan Tasini speaking about Israel:

Jonathan Tasini speaking about Labor:

Jonathan Tasini speaking about Healthcare:

Hillary Clinton’s Low Profile
Editorial, NYTimes, Published: August 21, 2006

With only a few weeks until New York’s Sept. 12 primary elections, many people are probably still unaware that Senator Hillary Clinton is facing a challenge for the Democratic nomination. Her opponent, Jonathan Tasini, is low on almost everything, from funds to name recognition. Mrs. Clinton has successfully ignored Mr. Tasini all summer, and now it seems clear that she has no intention of responding to his demands that she meet him in a debate.

She should change her mind. In a year when New York has very few competitive elections, voters are going to get very little chance to hear serious discussions from the candidates. Since Mr. Tasini is running an antiwar campaign, it would be very useful for New Yorkers to have a chance to hear the two Democratic candidates debate that one issue.

New York voters have been exposed to all the political drama in Connecticut over Senator Joseph Lieberman, who like Mrs. Clinton supported the invasion of Iraq. She has been far more critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the war — a point the Clinton campaign makes pains to point out. But she has not been forced to discuss in great detail exactly what she thinks should be done now that things have gone so far awry in the Middle East.

Presuming she wins the primary, Mrs. Clinton will go up against a weak Republican candidate this fall. Anything can happen in an election, but there is a very good chance she could coast all the way to November without being tested on any important issue. Right now is a good time to make sure that does not happen.

[Duchess Note - First of all, thank you David in sharing this editorial from NYTimes. Secondly, those in NY state not paying attention, you'd better wake up regarding Hillary "Ms Republican Lite" Clinton. She's been supporting the war and occupation of Iraq all along. Plus her track record on other issues is deplorable. Like Lieberman in CT, she is not a true Democrat and is doing us more harm than good. I'm a firm supporter of Jonathan Tasini's campaign for NY state senate and its important that these two engage in debate BEFORE the primary on September 12th. This will be the only true way NY state voters will know how the candidates stand on many issues, including Iraq and Middle East. Please make calls to Clinton's campaign office and urge her to do a proper debate with Tasini. Please, take a moment, make that call. Peace, Justice & Love is the way.]


August 21, 2006 -- JONATHAN Tasini has less than a month to become New York's Ned Lamont. The Democratic primary is on Sept. 12, he's at 13 percent in the polls and he's just had his best fund-raising week ever online. However, as Primary Day approaches, the "netroots" have yet to make the Tasini campaign a cause célèbre, with all the money and press attention that doing so would mean. This, despite the fact that the centrist, Iraq-War-supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton, presumptive frontrunner for the '08 Democratic presidential nomination, should by all rights be a much juicier target for the "progressive" Left than the washed-up Joe Lieberman ever was or could hope to be.

Tasini, a union leader and organizer turned anti-war protest candidate, has some ideas as to why: Essentially, it all boils down to a lack of backbone on the part of progressives nationwide. "Many progressives fear confronting my opponent's machine - which does take names and does keep lists," Tasini told me over lunch in the West Village last week. "People are hedging their bets - Washington is a place that hinges on access." Otherwise, Tasini said, "Why take on Joe Lieberman and not Hillary Clinton?"

He certainly has a point. If the progressive movement is really set on seizing control of the Democratic Party, Lieberman has always been an odd choice of targets - a has-been who lost bids for the presidency and vice presidency and who's serving out his time in the Senate until he can retire in some graceful fashion. Sen. Clinton, meanwhile, has a roughly identical profile to Lieberman's on the war in Iraq and on issues like free trade - but, somehow, she gets a free ride. Not entirely, of course. Many in the progressive netroots movement have made clear their disdain for Sen. Clinton.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post this May, Markos Moulitsas (proprietor of the famed DailyKos Web site), called Clinton "a leader who fails to lead" and "part of the Clinton machine that decimated the national Democratic Party." Michael Moore was even more brutal in an open letter on his Web site the day after Lamont's victory in the Connecticut Democratic primary. "To Hillary, our first best hope for a woman to become president, I cannot for the life of me figure out why you continue to support Bush and his war," Moore wrote. "Last night's voter revolt took place just a few miles from your home in Chappaqua. Did you hear the noise? Can you read the writing on the wall?"

In Tasini, progressives have a perfectly viable vehicle to make that noise right on Sen. Clinton's Chappaqua doorstep. He's passionate, articulate and an experienced organizer (he was president of the National Writers Union for 13 years); he wants to bring the troops home from Iraq and impeach (or at least censure) the president, and he thinks "so-called free trade is a disaster." So, is it really just lack of backbone that's stopping progressives from sending the hated Hillary a message? Progressive activist David Sirota, author of the new book "Hostile Takeover," lists money as the most important factor as to why the New York Senate primary has been off the progressives' radar.

"Part of it has to do with the fact that New York is such an expensive state, such a big state," he said. "The gateway to being a real voice in the public debate is so much higher [than in Connecticut] in terms of money." But Sirota also gives Sen. Clinton credit for simply doing a better job of playing politics - supporting the war without appearing to be an apologist for President Bush. "Clinton has been more careful about that," he said. "She's just played it smarter." So is Sen. Clinton going to be able to keep the netroots at bay simply by being a better weasel than other pro-war Democrats? Sirota says no, that it will be easier for progressives to take her on in 2008 than it would be to take her on now in New York.

But Tasini isn't so sure that analysts like Sirota are right. "I suspect that they don't want to confront publicly someone that they might want to have access to," he insists. He points out that, according to a recent Marist poll, 70 percent of New York Democrats consider Iraq to be a major Election Day issue and 62 percent say they're more likely to vote for an anti-war candidate than a pro-war one. Many of them just don't know that Hillary is pro-war and that there's an alternative. Still, it doesn't look like the cavalry is coming anytime soon.'s political action committee conducted a poll of its members in the Connecticut Senate race that helped launch the Lamont candidacy; it refuses to take a similar poll of its members in New York, much to Tasini's chagrin.

"Is this really a Democratic organization that wants to know what its members think?" he asks. And with little cash on hand (somewhere around $150,000), the campaign doesn't even meet NY1's standard to qualify for a debate. As Hillary Clinton rolls to victory in her Senate reelection, progressives around the country might want to ask themselves: If the anti-war Left can't take on Hillary now, when will they ever be able to? After all, Tasini says: "This is a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party." They have less than a month and counting to come up with an answer.


Blogger Diogenes said...

In the editorials, I was disappointed to not hear why the debates were not being heard.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Charlene said...

Yes, I to was disappointed in that, and feel they may be covering up for Clinton's continued support on Iraq war AND occupation.

11:26 AM  

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