06 September, 2006

NYPols Supports Tasini For Senate In Democratic Primary


I know what you are thinking.

This is one of those off-the-wall, just-to-get-attention type picks.

Like the the pre-season baseball magazine that picks the Pittsburgh Pirates to win it all on the very off chance they actually pull it off. Then that magazine can boast either superior knowledge or clairvoyance.

But, this is not like that. Trust me.

Not that I think Tasini has a snowball's chance to actually beat Hillary Clinton next Tuesday. But he will if I'm the only person in the state who goes to the polls.

While Hillary Clinton has given us carefully constructed statements that say little or nothing of real substance, Jonathan Tasini doesn't hold back.

For every foray into anti-flag-burning legislation by Clinton, there comes an equal and opposite walk on the left side on - say - Plan B birth control.

While she may stray right or left from time to time when her image needs sprucing up with one group or another, Senator Clinton walks the straight-and-narrow center line with more dexterity than the designated driver who's asked by a state trooper to take a sobriety test.

And that is just fine if her positions are genuine, and heartfelt. But with Clinton there is always the sense that every word that leaves her lips has been parsed by ten image makers.

With Jonathan Tasini, what you see is what you get.

He makes no bones about his opposition to the war, and the profiteering and death that has come with it. There's no attempt to couch his position so as not to offend this voter or that.

This openness and clarity of thought was most in evidence during the recent Israeli war. Tasini has family members who fought and died in previous Israeli conflicts and has himself lived in Israel. He's also a politician in New York. So he had every reason to stand firmly behind the Israelis in the conflict in Lebanon. But Tasini took the tougher road and criticized Israel's actions because he believed they were wrong.

Tasini, a former labor leader, has spoken often against NAFTA-like free-trade agreements and in favor of universal health care and the right of Americans to join a labor union. He has been an outspoken opponent of the corporate power and greed that has flourished in recent years as "people power" has vanished and the average American feels a growing helplessness in shaping his or her own future - or present.

Yes, a vote for Tasini may seem a pointless exercise. Every poll tells us so. But to borrow a phrase from the Tasini campaign, I'm going to vote for what I believe in.


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