Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID), arguably Brooklyn's most independent and progressive Democratic club held its 37th annual gala last night and, as usual, honored a number of people and groups. It also gave out what's known as the "Tarnished Fork Award" to the person(s) or group(s) that have most betrayed progressive Democratic values (that's a capital "D," but a small "d" could apply as well).
And this year's tarnished fork award winner is...Senator Hillary Clinton.
Why? One word - Iraq.
There has been much grumbling and concern about the Senator's position - or lack thereof - on the war in Iraq and the withdrawal of troops. So much so that one of the most progressive political clubs in the fourth largest city in America (that would be Brooklyn, by the way) felt compelled to give this awful award to the Senator as a clear message: loyal, grassroots Democrats are tired of waffling on the war. It's one thing to expect this behavior from Republicans, but it's quite another to see it coming from prominent Democrats, even with Bush's approval ratings below basement level.
The anger is palpable.
So palpable, as a matter of fact, that Senator Clinton already has a declared primary challenger,
Jonathan Tasini.Tasini is a writer and an organizer from Manhattan who's jumped into the race knowing full well that the Senator's fame and financing outpace him. But he's willing to go the distance and the key issue he'll be running on is - Iraq. Tasini attended the CBID dinner last night and many furious CBIDers claimed they'd be supporting him, based on that issue alone. In today's New York Times, Bob Herbert writes about Tasini and the Senator's non-stance on the war. He says that the Senator, as an early frontrunner for a possible White House bid in 2008, has a "special obligation" to Democratic voters on this issue.
No matter what you think about the Senator or Mr. Tasini, elected Democrats had better pay attention. This is not just about a political club in Brooklyn having a snitty fit; this may well be one of the signals of an uprising, from the grassroots, that will turn the tide nationwide for Democrats -- and others -- in the next election cycle.
The anger is palpable.