Beast Banner Sept. 7-21, 2006
ISSUE #106
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ArrowThe 51 Funniest Things
About 9-11

The BEAST 5 year fun-a-versary tribute!
Ian Murphy

ArrowThe End was Nigh
Just ask Glenn Beck & Karl Rove
Matt Taibbi

ArrowIronic Accuracy
Rumsfeld gets it exactly backwards
Allan Uthman

ArrowSemtex on a Plane
A brief guide for the aspiring terrorist
Alexander Zaitchik

ArrowJourney to the Center of
the Center

USA Today’s Commonground
Chris Famighetti

ArrowOff With Their Heads
Democrats walk themselves to the gallows
Matt Taibbi

ArrowAmericans Reluctant To Help Fake-Sounding "Darfur"
Josh Righter

ArrowAnonymous for Senate
Opposition who?
Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Inevitable Untimely Death

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Little Miss Sunshine, World Trade Center, Accepted, Pulse, Snakes On a Plane, Zoom, Material Girls

As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Googlophobia, Local Man Likes Bar, Ho Defends Pimp, Bucky Balls and more

Anonymous for Senate
Opposition Who?
Allan Uthman

Jonathan TasiniA prominent Democratic blue-state Senator votes for Bush’s war and continues to support the occupation in Iraq, despite its growing unpopularity among the Senator’s constituents. In Connecticut, it caused his defeat in the Democratic primary to antiwar dark horse Ned Lamont. In New York, Jonathan Tasini can’t get arrested.

If you’ve never heard of Tasini, Hillary Clinton’s primary challenger in the Democratic primary next week, you’re far from alone—65% of New Yorkers don’t know who he is, or even that Clinton faces a challenge for her party’s nomination. Meager press coverage of Tasini’s campaign can be attributed in part to the realistic perception that Clinton is a dead lock for reelection and that an idealistic, pro-labor anachronism like Tasini has no chance of defeating her. Of course, the reason this is true is that nobody knows who Tasini is, because there’s no media coverage.

But the real story behind Tasini’s obscurity, like everything in politics, boils down to money. Tasini has raised a meager $200,000 for his senate bid, while Clinton has raised enough to buy every man, woman and child in Buffalo an iPod.

Ned Lamont spent $4 million of his own money to carry off his upset victory in a titchy little 3 million person state—and Clinton has endorsed him in deference to his purchasing power. Meanwhile, Tasini, a genuinely progressive former writer’s union president, is nearly unheard.

When Tasini repeatedly challenged Clinton to a debate, even pulling the old guy-in-a-chicken-suit gag that Bill Clinton once employed so effectively, even the New York Times urged Hillary to accept. Why didn’t she? Because she doesn’t have to. Voters don’t demand it, and why would Clinton give an opponent that only a third of her constituents have even heard of the publicity? You could say, oh, respect for the political process, or taking the opportunity to clarify her positions to the public, but that’d just be naïve. And Clinton’s total silence on Tasini’s mere existence hasn’t hurt her at all. The Times, for instance, still endorsed her, in a manner which, sadly, reminded me of nothing more than the revolting logic with which the Buffalo News endorse Byron Brown in the Democratic primary her in Buffalo. The argument goes that the underdog has great ideas, but is too idealistic to fit in with the rest of his prospective colleagues.

After acknowledging that “Almost every move Mrs. Clinton has made regarding Iraq reflected her desire to find — or create — a center position on every issue,” and criticizing “her unwillingness to risk political capital for principle,” the Times get to the heart of the matter, problem with Tasini, the “politically impractical candidate from the left.”

“Mr. Tasini deserves credit for making the run and we are sorry that Mrs. Clinton did not respond to his demands for a debate. But it is hard to imagine him working well in a large body of egotistic and generally conservative politicians.”

Amazing, isn’t it? Tasini shouldn’t be a senator, because he isn’t enough of an asshole. He wouldn’t fit in with the unethical blowhards he’d be rubbing elbows with in Washington. This is the best the editorial board of the most prominent newspaper in the world can come up with when challenged to support Clinton’s reelection in a reasonable manner—she blends well with the rest of the global gangbang posse in the American legislature.

And it’s true. Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq war, voted for the Patriot Act, favors sending more troops to Iraq, supports the Defense of Marriage Act, supports the criminalization of flag-burning, supports NAFTA, opposes censuring Bush, and opposes a single-payer health care system. Rupert Murdoch is hosting fundraisers for her. She gets more money from lobbyists than any other Senator except Rick Santorum.

To put it mildly, Hillary Clinton is no woman of the people—especially the people of New York. It’s easy to divine her presidential ambitions in her unnecessarily bipartisan positions on issues like flag-burning and gay marriage. If all Hillary wanted to do was stay in her Senate seat, she needn’t pander to the right or soften her position on issues like abortion (now a “sad, tragic choice”).

Let’s be clear on this: Hillary Clinton is not against the war in Iraq. Unlike Senate pretty boy John Edwards, Hillary refuses to describe her vote for the invasion as a mistake. In fact, she thinks there aren’t enough troops in Iraq. The only thing that Hillary has done to distinguish herself from Lieberman on Iraq is to criticize the Bush administration’s execution of the war, and generally cover her ass by bitching about it as much as possible.

Lieberman’s mistake was closing the gap between himself and the Republicans too much, and not pretending he really is against the whole thing. Clinton knows enough to remain equidistant from Bush and the antiwar left, leaving Democrats a choice between a real leftist with no actual shot at winning, and the “not quite as bad as a Republican” candidate. Lieberman’s “third way” paralleled Bush’s policy too closely, becoming indistinguishable from it.

Of course, when it comes to Election Day, after she’s won the primary, New Yorkers will vote for Hillary. But in the primary this September 12, Democrats have a real choice—between a wealthy status quo celebrity and a man who actually represents the interests of the majority—a large majority in New York, who oppose the war in Iraq, oppose campaign finance corruption, and support universal health care.

Why should you vote for sure loser Tasini in the primary? Because the more votes he gets, the more the Democratic Party has to acknowledge the progressive politics it has long abandoned. But a more important reason is that he actually represents the majority of voters. If you are against the war and for universal health care, then you really can’t deny that Tasini is your man. That, and not fame, is the only good reason to vote for someone. You haven’t heard of Tasini, and that may be the best reason to believe that he genuinely gives a damn about something other than himself.

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