Pick Your Underdog


Just last month, New York anti-war activists were futilely casting about for someone—anyone—to take on Senator Hillary Clinton in the 2006 U.S. Senate race.

Now, they have two someones angling to unseat her in the Democratic primary. The candidates—Steve Greenfield, of New Paltz, and Jonathan Tasini, of Manhattan—have just kicked into full campaign mode. Observers expect the anti-war movement to get behind one of them once a front-runner begins to emerge.

Steve Greenfield

Profession Saxophone player; stay-at- home dad; volunteer firefighter

Platform priorities Stop the war in Iraq; repeal the USA Patriot Act; enact universal health care; impeach George W. Bush.

How his friends describe him “He’s got great intelligence, integrity, and he’s unstoppable. I think he’ll give Clinton a run for her money.”— Manna Jo Greene, a peace activist friend for six years.

On Clinton’s war chest “I’m asking people to envision themselves as a piece of the anti-war puzzle and the role for people to play is to throw the switch for the anti-war candidate. That ideology is what will defeat Hillary Clinton; it’s what her $30 or $40 million cannot buy.”

On the other anti-war candidate “I feel incredibly excited about it since only [last] February everyone was saying this isn’t going to be done. I’m not standing here saying, ‘What I need most is to become the senator from New York.’ I just want to demonstrate that there is a demand for a challenge and it can be done.”

Jonathan Tasini

Profession Labor activist; former president of National Writers Union; writer and daily blogger at

Platform priorities Stop the war in Iraq; extend Medicare health insurance to everyone; enact pension reforms; implement new trade rules.

How his friends describe him “He’s always been a very straight-up, honest, committed guy who wants to apply whatever skills and energy he has to the greater good.”— Leslie Cagan, of United for Peace and Justice, an activist friend since the 1980s.

On Clinton’s war chest “I sued The New York Times
for freelance work”—in the landmark lawsuit over writers’ digital rights,
Tasini v. The New York Times—”so frankly I’ve had to face more powerful and wealthy obstacles than Senator Clinton.”

On the other anti-war candidate “I admire anybody who wants to jump into the fray. But I’m not running against anybody but the incumbent.”

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