Progressive Primary Challenge to Hillary Launched

By David Swanson

On Tuesday in New York, Jonathan Tasini will announce the launch of his campaign for United States Senate, challenging Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. A Democrat, at least one who convincingly opposes Bush, is very likely to win the general election in this race. This means that the primary is the real election, and the question is what kind of Democrat we want to have in the Senate.

Behind curtain number one is Hillary Clinton, a pro-war, pro-CAFTA, pro-corporate health care Republicrat who’s so very much more aggravating than most of them because of the widespread pretense that she’s some sort of leftist or democrat with a small d.

Behind curtain number two is Jonathan Tasini, a veteran labor organizer and strategist who opposes the war, opposes corporate trade deals, proposes to expand Medicare to universal coverage, and can be counted on to fight for working people.

Which kind of senator do the people of New York want?

And which kind of party do Democrats around the country want?

Do we want a party that follows the wishes of the vast majority of voters, or a party that continues to lose through endless futile attempts to win more voters away from the War and Corruption Party than it loses from its own base by standing for nothing.

If Hillary gets the nomination, she could lose the general election, especially if she continues to support Bush’s war. But why should we take the chance of having her win? If she wins, she will immediately announce a campaign for the White House, one she will almost certainly lose or allow to be stolen, but one we really do not want her to win. The surest way to keep her out of the presidential race is to go ahead and bid her farewell in the primary.

Cindy Sheehan sent Jonathan the following statement on Sunday to be read at his event on Tuesday:

“I am so pleased that Jonathan Tasini has stepped forward to challenge Senator Clinton and to take her on as an anti-war candidate. I encourage the people of New York to take a hard look at Mrs. Clinton’s dismal record on the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq. Then take a hard look at what Jonathan is saying.

“We as people who strive for peace and justice should not support a candidate who advocates for continued killing on the basis of flimsy reasoning. It is time to hold the pro-war Democrats responsible for what they are saying and doing also.

“I fully endorse the idea of peace with justice and support the message that Jonathan is espousing, but I cannot endorse candidates because of my organization’s tax-exempt status. I thank Jonathan for his leadership, for his support and I look forward to our continuing efforts to end the war.”

Tasini blogged on Monday on Huffington Post: “My campaign challenging incumbent Hillary Clinton is based on a simple – yet, in our political world, utterly radical – idea: It asks people to abandon the classic choice of lesser-of-two-evils and vote from the heart, gut and conscience. For progressive voters who do so, there is a clear choice, for the difference between the incumbent and myself could not be more stark. Senator Clinton has said she supported the decision to go to war in Iraq, and she continues to support the war, with a position that echoes that of George Bush (find a ‘winning’ strategy and, then, withdraw troops on an uncertain timetable). In a speech to the Democratic Leadership Council, she praised NAFTA, which cost thousands of ordinary Americans their jobs. She dismissed the idea of pursuing universal health care because she didn’t want to take on the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. And she receives mountains of campaign cash from corporate donors, including Wal-Mart.

“My positions, available on my website, offer a mirror opposite. I am a candidate who opposes the war, believes that real homeland security means bringing the troops home immediately, opposes anti-worker trade deals that send jobs abroad, believes that our economic future should not be determined by an authoritarian regime in China, and supports Medicare For All. Unlike the incumbent, I will draw my support from many thousands of people who will volunteer their energy and contribute small amounts.”

Tasini lays out his positions in detail at his website, debuting Monday, at http://www.tasinifornewyork.org

Dick Morris believes, or pretends to believe, that only Condoleeza Rice can stop Hilary. We can shatter that theory in two ways this week. The citizens of the European Union can denounce Rice as a war criminal and supporter of torture. And we can launch a campaign to stop Hilary on our own.