|By A.D. Freudenheim||
11 September 2005
When deciding to vote for a candidate for any elected position, there are a few factors likely to influence a persons decision: Will this person faithfully represent their interests and views? Does one like or trust the candidate? How is this candidate better than the others? Sadly, all to often, voters must instead ask themselves: Which candidate is the lesser of these evils, the most appealing from an unappealing group?
Within this equation, voters also must sometimes factor in party affiliation; a candidate may choose to align themselves with a political party in order to secure wider public support, or to obtain financial assistance and hopefully they do so because that partys ideas and opinions are in sync with their own. True, there may be shades of variation and some difference of opinion within a partys many candidates; but voters typically understand that a persons connection to a particular political party is a kind of leading indicator of their ideas, perspectives, and ultimately, their intentions in office.
Then, there are situations where this traditional way of thinking about politics appears to make little sense and New York (both city and state) is representative of the resulting confusion. Take Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, running for the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Hillary Clinton for U.S. Senate. Like many New York Republicans these days, Ms. Pirro lays claim to so-called moderate positions: her campaign web site notes that she is tough on crime, but implies that she supports broad government assistance to victims; similarly, she claims to be tough on domestic violence, a position that could suggest she is supportive of womens rights; and Pirro values laws protecting the environment, and touts the work of her Environmental Crimes Bureau in prosecuting offenders. In many important ways, Ms. Pirros positions are thus only marginally aligned with the platform of the national Republican Party, and are certainly more leftist than the current, conservative Republican Bush administrations approach.
Of other important issues, however, there is no mention; Ms. Pirros campaign web site does not even provide a page outlining her campaign platform on the many topics she would almost certainly face as a U.S. Senator. Support for (changes to) Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid? What about those womens rights and the extended issues about laws protecting women in the workplace, or about abortion rights? Upholding the environmental laws of New York State is important for a District Attorney, but how does Ms. Pirro feel about those laws in the first place? Would she support stronger environmental conservation laws nationally?
In fact, the place where these issues are best addressed on her site is through news coverage of her candidacy and these articles reveal more about the failures of journalism than of politics. For instance, the Pirro campaign has posted a New York Times article about her candidacy, from 9 August 2005, which states confidently in the second paragraph, that she is a political moderate who supports abortion rights, gay rights and the death penalty. Later, the article returns to these subjects, undermining the strength of its initial declaration:
It is certainly clever of Ms. Pirro to include this article, since few will read past the early paragraphs and readers will thus be left with this impression of her moderate positions, without seeing how Pirro refuses to answer direct questions about these same issues. However, as a New Yorker who is none-too-pleased with Senator Clinton, I read the Times article when it appeared in the paper; in fact, I read the entire piece. The article left me disappointed, both with the Times reporting how can they assert Pirros stand on key issues only to note later that they cannot confirm these same positions? and with Pirro-as-candidate.
I do not support Hillary Clintons political ambitions, and I generally do not like the manner in which she has represented New York. However, I am even more opposed to the reactionary positions of President Bush and his administration. The question of how a Republican who lays claim to moderate views when convenient, would vote in the U.S. Senate whether she would be swayed by the voting block of more conservative GOP Senators, and by pressure from her party is not a matter to be taken lightly. So, after reviewing her campaign web site further, I decided put the question to Pirro directly, and sent the following letter on 23 August 2005:
That was almost three weeks ago three weeks with no reply from the Pirro Campaign. I have received no reply to the specific questions I asked. I have not been given an answer that attempts to sidesteps the questions by clarifying Ms. Pirros positions on certain issues. I have not even received an acknowledgment, via a form letter, that avoids addressing the issues altogether and simply thanks me for writing. As with her failure to take a stand publicly on key issues, Ms. Pirros silence speaks volumes. Thus far, the question about the lesser of two candidates evils remains unanswered.
| High-Profile Prosecutor to Run Against Clinton, The New York Times, 9 August 2005, as posted on Pirro For Senate at http://www.jeaninepirro.com/newsstory.cfm?id=67||
Copyright 2005, by A.D. Freudenheim.
May not be used in whole or part without written permission.
However, you may link to this page as desired! Contact A.
D. Freudenheim for further information.
This page is part of: The Truth As I See It.