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Comments by YACCS
Monday, November 06, 2006

Who's side are you on?

Why does he share the same allies as the
Working Families Party?


Dear Governor-Elect Spitzer...

An open-letter to Governor-Elect Eliot Spitzer (only a very slightly presumptuous form of address, in my view):

Dear Governor-Elect Spitzer,

I received an email from you today, sir that I must strongly protest. You asked me to "please consider voting for me on the Working Families Party line." No sir, I will not - nor should your name appear on that particular line in good conscience. Allow me to tell you why.

First, the short reason: as you noted in your email, day one everything changes.

Now, a bit more depth. Yesterday you stood by Andrea Stewart-Cousins in Yonkers and urged New Yorkers to vote for this impressive, progressive Democrat. President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, your running mate David Paterson, and Attorney General candidate Andrew Cuomo all echoed your call to elect Stewart-Cousins, an extraordinary turnout of party brass for a simple, local State Senate seat. As usual, your remarks were tough and to-the-point:

Grades “You know who the most powerful legislator in Albany has been for the last two years? Andrea Stewart-Cousins. And you know why? You know why? Two years ago, when Nick Spano claimed to win by 18 votes, he was awaking from 18 years of slumber. He woke up and suddenly he said, you know what, I better be for reform. He had to look up the word in the dictionary. He still doesn’t know what it means. Here’s a candidate who has the audacity to say he’s for reform and stands by while the cops knock on doors to suppress the vote."

I feel the same way. It's time for the New York State Senate, so long gerry-mandered to keep it in Republican hands, to disenfranchise our cities, to change its majority leadership. Or as Cuomo put it yesterday, Governor Spitzer "doesn't need a State Senate working against him on Day One. He needs Andrea Stewart-Cousins with him on Day One.”

And yet you appear on the ballot on Line E, the Working Families Party, and send out an email urging me to pull to lever on that line. You say this is necessary as "we set out to make health care more affordable and cover every single child in the state of New York, and it's when we begin to fully fund education to ensure that for every New Yorker, the path to opportunity and prosperity begins in our schools."

Yet the Working Families Party clearly wants to keep the State Senate in Republican hands. That's why it's voted "no endorsement" in the crucial rematch between Nicholas Spano and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, when its endorsement of the Republican Spano pushed him over the top in their first race. That's why it's endorsed Republicans like John DeFrancisco, Dale Volker, and George Maziarz - all of who received dead-solid F's in the Drum Major Institute's five-year legislative scorecard measuring votes on issues vital to the middle class.

The Working Families Party clearly believes it can deal with the Nick Spano-Joe Bruno Republican Party in Albany. Despite its progressive charter, the WFP sees power in maintaining a Republican Senate while it collects IOU's from Republican legislators. It's a strategy, I guess - a strategy for those who believe their ideals on government can never carry the day in New York. It's a strategy for non-believers, for deal-cutters, for back-room operators who would stoop to keeping an experienced, progressive African-American professional woman in line in order to make deals with the right-wing party of George W. Bush.

But it's a strategy, sir, that I urge you to reject. I ask you to reject it because it's wrong for the Democratic Party, wrong for the progressive movement, and wrong for New York. And I believe you will repudiate this strategy because I believe your number one campaign pledge.

Day One, everything changes.

Remaining your enthusiastic Democratic supporter,

Tom Watson


posted by Steve @ 3:28:00 PM

3:28:00 PM

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