Volume 76, Number 25 | November 8 - 14, 2006


Change must come on Iraq; Clinton can help lead the way

On Tuesday night, the Democrats appeared to have regained control of the House and to have picked up seats in the Senate.

Particularly insightful were national exit polls on Election Day. By a wide margin, according to CNN, voters said they disapproved of the Iraq war. An even bigger issue for voters, polls found, was corruption and ethics in government.

Asked which issues they felt were most important, 42 percent of voters said corruption and ethics; 40 percent, terrorism; 39 percent, the economy; 37 percent, Iraq; 36 percent, values; and 29 percent, illegal immigration. Asked if they approved of how Congress is functioning, 62 percent said they did not, while just 36 percent said they did. Voters were split on whether the economy is doing well or poorly.

It’s now time for Washington finally to set clear guidelines on what we are still hoping to achieve in Iraq and to establish a clear timeline for pulling our troops out of that country. More than 100 U.S. soldiers died just last month in Iraq — among the highest death totals in the more than three years that this mission has not been accomplished.

With Senator Hillary Clinton re-elected, we’d now like to see her stake out a more courageous position and help resolve the deadly Iraq quagmire. Several Downtown Manhattan Democratic clubs — including Village Independent Democrats and Downtown Independent Democrats — sent her a stinging message when they backed Jonathan Tasini over her in the primary election. D.I.D. in the general election in the Senate race then voted “no endorsement” — another snub of Clinton. Clearly, the New York senator must start mending her fences with the progressive and antiwar community. Many of them have already soured on her presidential aspirations, feeling she has “abandoned her base.”

Eliot Spitzer, who cruised to victory in the governor’s race, gives cause for much optimism. As attorney general, he showed himself to be a fighter who stands up to powerful interests, be they Wall St. white-collar criminals or developers eager to cash in on the East Village’s community gardens. He went to bat for the little guy — such as the East Village’s Mexican greengrocer workers, helping them achieve a living wage and basic concessions from employers. We look forward to Spitzer’s taking a firm role in guiding local public authorities, such as the Hudson River Park Trust, on which he will have five appointments on the board of directors, including its chairperson. The future of Pier 40 at W. Houston St., for which the Trust has issued a request for proposals for developers, is a pressing concern. We hope that, come Jan. 1, Spitzer promptly inserts himself into this process and takes charge. The future of our waterfront park is at stake.

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