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Wednesday, 09 August 2006 02:12

Larry Beinhart: An Impossible Dream

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by Larry Beinhart, author of Wag the Dog and Fog Facts

The other day, at poker -- gambling's not the madness I'm talking about -- one of the players brought along a flimsy John Tasini flyer. Tasini is running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for the Senate.

Over the course of a couple of hands so dead that I folded before the first round of betting, I read the piece. I was shocked. Deeply shocked. Tasini was taking clear, sensible positions. And he was taking them in clear, straightforward language.

Tasini is against the war. He's for withdrawal of American troops. He has a sensible proposal for a universal, national health program. He's for same sex marriage. He's against unrestrained corporate power, against unrestricted free trade. He's for unions and protecting pensions.

I decided I wanted to vote for him. The primary, by the way, is September 12th.

More than that, I decided to do whatever I could to support his candidacy. Write posts like this. Become a volunteer.

Hillary, by the way, voted for the war with Iraq. It was easy to know then that there were no WMDs and that Saddam had no ties to Al Qaeda. Sensible people predicted that it would turn into a quagmire and destabilize the region. Thoughtful people could have figured it out for themselves.

But Hillary wanted to have a pro-war record to run for president on. She wanted to appear tough. So she voted for a war that would lose 2,500 American lives (and counting), 100,000 Iraqi lives (who's counting?), that would unleash chaos, civil war and religious madness. That would cost a vast sum of money, something between $250,000,000,000 and $2,000,000,000,000.

That should be unforgivable.

In addition, she's to the right of George Bush on immigration. She's against gay marriage. She's for a flag burning amendment. Her health care plan was bad back then and her positions on health care are worse now. Worse for us. Good for the health care industry. She's number two on their contribution list, just behind Rick Santorum.

So I'm for John Tasini.

I just went on opensecrets.org and I was stunned. Sometimes I think I'm supposed to be past shock and cynicism. But this one got me. As of 6/30/06, Hillary Clinton had raised $44,915,515. And she had already spent $23,196,563.

Nearly $45,000,000 for a senate race? There has to be something wrong with that. There has to be something wrong with us, if we vote for that.

Tasini, by the same date, had raised all of $132,439 and spent $120,652. He's not a high tech millionaire like Ned Lamont, able to jump start his candidacy with a three million bucks or so. He's a union organizer. A guy who's worked for a living, worked for the kind of living you make working for ideals, a guy who's lived on a salary.

A regular person. Not a millionaire. Not a part of dynasty.

That has to sound totally, utterly hopeless.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be grand, wouldn't it be a pleasure, to vote for a regular guy, a guy with the public interest at heart?

Wouldn't it make you feel like democracy was actually still possible?

The sensible part of me says that Tasini can't win. Even if he's exactly right on the issues and Hillary, well, Hillary does what's good for Hillary and doesn't care a damn if it's bad for us. After all he's up against a celebrity, a machine, and $45,000,000 dollars.

So I invite you to join me, in your own way, and figure out how that could possibly happen. Send emails. Send single dollar bills. Get on the radio. Send blogs. Check out his web site, see where he stands. Pass the message along. Make up your own message.

Thank you.

Larry Beinhart


Larry Beinhart is the author of Wag the Dog, The Librarian, available at nationbooks.org, and Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin available at BuzzFlash.com Progressive Marketplace.

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