When I launched my primary Senate challenge against Hillary Clinton, I always believed that we could rock the political establishment IF the race focused on the issues. And this week proved my point.
John Zogby polled New York State voters and found that if the race came down to a choice between Hillary Clinton and an unnamed anti-war candidate, 38 percent of the voters would choose the incumbent, 32 percent would pick the anti-war candidate and the rest of the voters said they weren't sure or would vote for someone else. So, two-thirds of the voters are ready to vote against the incumbent because of her support for the war.
This is not a surprise. My opponent is the best political example of the worst about celebrity culture: poll ratings based on name recognition and celebrity even as people know very little about where she stands, particularly on the war. I can't tell you how many voters I have talked to in the past six months who have said, no, she can't be for the war (yes), she couldn't possibly support the death penalty (she does), she can't really believe NAFTA was a good thing (yup), she can't be for making it a crime to burn the flag because that's a First Amendment right (sorry, but yes) and it can't be that Rupert Murdoch is holding a fundraiser for her (want a ticket?).
I just returned from the New York State Democratic Party convention in Buffalo and my opponent, and the party, did not want to debate the war. If our campaign, backed by the support of 2,500 people throughout the state who signed a petition calling for an immediate end to the war, had not been in Buffalo, the delegates at the Democratic convention would have never heard the words "Iraq war." Can you believe that? Democrats refusing to debate the Iraq war? Ignoring the dying and destruction and the economic toll that this illegal, immoral war has brought on our country and the Iraqi people?
My opponent did everything possible to stop the debate and avoid the Iraq war. Prior to the convention, after delegates faxed in their expression of support for our petition resolution to the state party headquarters, my opponent personally made phone calls, trying to undercut support for the petition, which called for the immediate end to the war And, as reporters noted to me, the incumbent's promotional 18-minute video that was shown to the delegates prior to her coronation did not mention the Iraq war once. That's how she honors the men and women who have died in Iraq and continue to risk their lives there--she ignores them.
It's obvious why: the incumbent knows that, on the issues, especially the war, the majority of Democratic voters in New York State do not support her. Sure, we aren't going to have the huge campaign war chest Hillary Clinton will have, thanks to Murdoch and others who want to buy access (but, feel free to send us a donation). But, as we head to the streets next week to gather enough signatures to place me on the ballot, we're going to make clear that there is no free ride, no one gets a pass and the voters will have a chance to make sure that politicians are held accountable for the death and destruction caused by this immoral war.