Sunday, November 05, 2006

21: Endorsements: New York.


My defense of Michigan endorsements took a week to put together, and given the volume of homework today, and my lack of background in Illinois and New York politics, my explanations are much more trunchated. If you want to discuss any of these issues or candidate, however, I will happily make time. In fact, I kind of hunger for it. So leave a comment or write me, and we'll get our discuss on.

1. GOVERNOR STATE OF NEW YORK: Eliot Spitzer, Democratic Party

2. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR; STATE OF NEW YORK: David A. Paterson, Democratic Party

3. COMPTROLLER; STATE OF NEW YORK: Julia Willebrand, Green Party

4. ATTORNEY GENERAL; STATE OF NEW YORK: Andrew Cuomo, Democratic Party

5. UNITED STATES SENATOR: Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party

I can put these endorsements into three categories.

#1, #2, and #5 all run on the strength of Eliot Spitzer. His campaign and background has all the promise of entering Albany with a vigor and experience not seen in decades. His answers supplied to the League of Women Voters seem to crackle with energy that does not compromise their specificity or practicality. The New York Times endorsement went so far as to say that he wins with such a mandate so as to be a "cudgel." Not finding any strenuous objections to Paterson or Cuomo (though there are well-informed reservations about the latter), their collective election would help provide the Spitzer governorship some much needed momentum in addressing fiscal responsibility and gerrymandering.

I'd like to put #3 under the umbrella of prior arguments but Alan Hevesi's arguments are about as dull as Spitzer's are energizing. Hevesi will probably be elected despite his hightly publicized and, unfortunately, relevant betrayals of public trust. There is a good a chance that, even if elected, he will be forced to resign, which puts voters in a bit of a bind. This is a good opportunity to support a rational third party choice, and in this case, there is an easy answer: Julia Willebrand of the Green Party. With a wealth of environmental and service experience and a strong emphasis on consumer advocacy, Willebrand represents the best of what her party has to offer.

Finally, #5. Hillary's centrism is certainly frustrating, and her unwillingness to reconvisit her views on invading Iraq leads me to all kinds of hair-pulling. But her vocal opposition to the Military Commisions Act, probably the most forceful of any presidential hopeful, makes me highly sympathetic. Sometimes, (given that integrity of character is hard to evaluate up-close, and almost impossible from a distance) integrity of vision and leadership is enough to bridge immediate political impasse. I say all this because Hillary enjoys enough of a lead that I could easily endorse a third party candidate, but I am so optimistic that the Democrats will enjoy a thorough victory this week that will lead to meaningful (if, realistically, limited) policy changes, that I do not feel compelled to do so. Vote for Hillary Clinton.

Additional recommendation: All of these recommendations are for statewide offices. I express a lot of frustration for third parties who seek a platform by running in sensitive large elections that can only be won at this time by one of the two major parties, and which they might jeopardize through manipulation of a small number of votes. The alternative, I suggest, is to run in local races with smaller conequences and in which a single visible candidate has a better chance of pulling voters from traditional party lines.

Please! Make this a viable alternative by carefully considering third party candidates for nominal positions at the state level and any position at the local level. Give third parties a voice and a platform with which to educate the public about their positions. It can only lead to a more informed, rigorous political debate.

Lastly, New York voters, and especially the centrist and right-leaning, should read this editorial from the New York Times.



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