Not So Easy Rider

Jonathan Tasini, one of Hillary’s anti-war Democrat opponents, is in the middle of a three-week-long bike ride across New York, as Roll Call recently reported.

Tasini’s reason for his 600-mile trek is to “meet more voters,” but Lance Armstrong has a better chance of getting more votes against Hillary than Tasini does. While he is on his “Ride for Peace,” Tasini is collecting petitions calling on the state Democratic Party to support a bill by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) to end the war in Iraq, and when his ride ends in Buffalo, he will present his anti-war petitions at the state Democratic convention.

In this way he hopes to emphasize his main difference with Hillary, his steadfast opposition to the war in Iraq. Tasini has made opposition to the war in Iraq “the driving force of his campaign,” and he is also farther left than her on many other issues.

“I’m convinced that if you had a column of my positions and a column of her positions and took our names off, I’d win,” said Tasini. “My positions are closer to the voters – the primary voters.”

But just saying this doesn’t necessarily make it so, and Tasini will need to somehow convince 25% of the delegates to vote for him at the convention just in order to be included on the statewide primary ballot. And barring that, Tasini will have to gather 15,000 valid petition signatures from registered Democrats across the state, which includes a minimum of 100 signatures in at least half of the state’s Congressional districts, no small feat.

Even Tasini seems to see the handwriting on the wall, admitting that his chances are non-existent. “I did not enter this race to have any effect on the 2008 presidential election,” he says. “I have a very long-term view of this. If, 10 years from now, we’re electing progressive town supervisors and city council members and members of the state Assembly, it will have been worth it.” Sure sounds like loser talk.