Chances are, it’s not going to happen even though Jonathan Tasini has gathered 40,000 signatures, (15,000 is required to be placed on the ballot), and is polling at 13% (NY1 requires just 5%). 70% of NY Democrats cite the Iraq war as an important issue, and Tasini and Clinton have differing views on the subject.
Cable news station, NY1 – owned by Time-Warner – declared that Tasini cannot participate in its televised debate series because he hasn’t raised the arbitrarily required $500,000. Tasini nearly triples the 5 percent polling requirement but he doesn’t have the cash flow NY1 is looking for to legitimize his candidacy.
As the New York Post (whose owner Rupert Murdoch held a July fundraiser for Senator Clinton) points out, “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.”
NY1 stands behind its decision based on the “fundraising factor”:
NY1 senior vice president Steve Paulus has responded (Associated Press, 8/15/06) that while $500,000 “seems like a lot of money” to many, “there are 5.5 million registered Democrats in New York. All Tasini would need is for each one to send him a dollar. Right now, with the money he’s raised, he does not represent the party he claims to represent.”
Paulus’ suggestion that the amount of money a candidate raises defines whether he or she represents the party is absurd and dangerous; much of Clinton’s campaign chest has come not from one dollar donations from registered New York Democrats but from wealthy corporate employees and their employers—like Time Warner, which according to FEC.gov has donated thousands of dollars to Clinton’s campaign through its Political Action Committee.
Senator Clinton has not responded or agreed to any debate schedule with Mr. Tasini. It looks as though NY1’s decision and Clinton’s non-responsive are in alignment. And that’s a shame. What a debate might do is help to define exactly where she stands on her Iraq war policy.
Mr. Tasini favors a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq as quickly as possible, within several months at most. What is more important than whether his timetable is feasible is his insistence that the Democratic Party needs to come to grips with this war. “What makes us different from Republicans?” he asked. “Where is the soul of the Democratic Party if we do not stand against immoral, illegal wars? Pre-emptive wars.”
Clinton has stayed steadfastly on a centrist path, criticizing President Bush but refusing to embrace the early troop withdrawal options that are gaining rapid favor in her party.
… Clinton took responsibility for her vote for the 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to go to war, while leaving open whether she would have opposed it, given what is now known about faulty intelligence and mismanagement by the administration. She pummeled Bush for his conduct of the war itself but left murky how long she believes U.S. forces should stay in Iraq. … “I reject a rigid timetable that the terrorists can exploit, and I reject an open timetable that has no ending attached to it.”
Senator Clinton has also recently called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over his “failed” Iraq War Policy
The primary election will be held on September 12, 2006.