The Beat on the Street

Who should be the next President of the U.S.?

Volume CVIII, No. 1January, 2008

It’s time to make a choice. Super Tuesday is February 5th, when dozens of states – including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – will hold their presidential primaries.
Click here for Allegro’s coverage of the candidates.


My vote goes to Hillary Clinton without a doubt! She has been an excellent senator and has always addressed health care issues. She has all-around more experience and knowledge of the inner workings of the government. Also she is “musician friendly,” which appeals to me as an AFM member. She’s up for the job and I think it’s exciting to see a good chance that we will have our very first female president, which would be a great step forward in showing the rest of the world that we are a progressive nation. Another thing that appeals to me about her is that she is serious, but also has a great sense of humor. In my humble opinion she would be the best candidate to be officially endorsed by our union. Go Hill!

Jon Hammond

At a large, well-attended rally for the striking screenwriters, I heard John Edwards make a passionate and convincing case for the writers’ struggle as well as an inspiring case for organized labor. Hillary sent a note, very cautious, telling us to hope for a contract that management would find to their liking! Here was Edwards attending and making clear whose side he was on. Guess who gets my vote? He not only attended in person, he said that as president he would insure that unions and working people had the support of his administration. Also, Edwards vowed not to cross any picket lines and canceled his appearances on “Ellen” and “The View,” so as not to cross the writers’ picket lines.

Frank Hosticka

I support Rudy Giuliani because he gets things done as far as illegal immigration – which is costing us billions every year. He also knows how to fight crime and bring down taxes and deficits, which he did in New York City. These two things alone free up more than enough monies to allow the arts to thrive, and encourage patronage not only from the federal and local levels of government but also generate enough profits to private entities, which in turn will generously support the arts and music in particular.

Rudy is also aware of our need for a strong defense in this era of terrorism. He is an excellent proven leader and I believe he has the vision to lead us successfully as a nation over the next two terms of the presidency.

We all have different perspectives and I respect others’ opinions because I know they have the good of America at heart.

I believe the position I support will make America a greater, more positive influence in the world, freeing people from the tyranny that predominates our planet.

Jim Sakofsky

None of the candidates for president are worth a seventh chair position in the Antarctica Symphony. If I played the way they carry on, I would have to stop the band every two bars and take a vote on “Does a Cm7 to F7 really, really, really go to Bb? Oh, let’s take a vote on it, form a task force, etc., etc.”

Ian Finkel

When it comes to elections, it’s always the lesser of two evils. The problem is that the system no longer serves the people, it serves the corporate interest. As such, elected officials are beholden to their corporate masters. Having said that, I like Obama! He’s the only one talking about changing the paradigm of politics, and how we, as a nation relate to the rest of the world. These two issues are interconnected. How the next president deals with them will usher in either the renewal or decline of America.

Barry Danielian

When asked what he thought of the leadership of the two parties, filmmaker Michael Moore said, “The Republicans are gangsters. The Democrats are pimps.” Blunt, perhaps. But Republicans are quite open about representing corporate America, presently led by the military-industrial complex. And Democrats present themselves as representatives of ordinary working citizens – while being just as much in bed with the powerful corporate world as the Republicans.

Unless Mayor Bloomberg runs as an independent, TV will project us voting for one of the two corporate-funded, firmly capitalist parties.

Declassified CIA files show that even our most beloved two-party system presidents, Ike and JFK, ordered the most dastardly criminal bombings, assassinations and overthrows of governments in Laos, Guatemala, Congo, Vietnam and Cuba, with appalling consequences.

Presidential candidates Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul and Mike Gravel, who have put themselves forward as fixers of our criminally insane money-over-people system, are easily sidelined from major media exposure.

The entertainment and news media, owned and managed by six super-conglomerates, is interlocked with the weapons industries and with corporations profiting enormously from our current wars of occupation.

A majority of us, too busy with our personal lives, have been made fools of by media.

In our personal lives, Americans will soon feel an uncomfortable impact from the devastatingly expensive failure of amazingly desperate, world-frightening, violent and dishonest economic foreign policies featuring a cruel and inhuman use of military might.

Hoping to merely reform capitalism a bit makes one complicit in its iniquities.

I’ll vote Green Party.

Hank Nowak

Well, folks, this may be a shock, but I’d pick McCain and Giuliani. They are not, of course, speaking the loudest about being the most liberal, labor-friendly of all candidates. But they both support reasonable tracks to citizenship for those that don’t have it, and they both have a fair record of union relations. More importantly, I see both as having a clear stance with which to move forward in Iraq. I respect McCain’s combination of realpolitik and compassion (shaped, of course, by his experience), and I believe Giuliani has the hard-nosed provenance needed for our country’s domestic situations.

Kelley Love

Whoever the next president is, if we want to make any real progress in political, social, and economic reform, he or she must be a truly progressive thinker. I fear that if Hillary Clinton is elected (as intelligent and liberal and attractive a candidate as she may be) Americans will spend four years congratulating themselves for electing a woman – something they might wisely have considered in the past), while ignoring the fact that the country would still be run by – and continue to be fleeced by – the same political and special-interest machine that has been in power for decades.

The only progressive candidates are those who are non-partisan and probably “unelectable,” such as Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, and, to a lesser extent, John McCain and Fred Thompson.

The public’s unwillingness to look beyond the obvious and the media-programmed and exercise their right to choose is remarkably delusional.

Joseph Church

In an ideal world, Kucinich would be my choice – but we need someone who can actually win. I think Clinton, Obama, or Edwards would be supportive of union-related issues. Hillary seems to have the best “chops” for the gig and she has a presidential feel to her. She seems tough and extremely bright, which we need at this time. Edwards has some of these qualities but does not seem quite as developed. Obama is a great force and I love what he has to say but I don’t feel he has the experience to get in the belly of he beast and fight for the changes we need.

What we don’t need at this time is a “my way or the highway” type like Giuliani. We have had that kind of stubborn, spiteful leadership for the last eight years with disastrous results and more of the same would be bad for the country.

Vinnie Zummo

When Gov. Richardson was asked, “If elected, what will your priority be?” he answered, “Education.” He went on to say that he would reinitiate arts and music programs to embrace those who do not readily connect to mathematics and the sciences.

Selfish reasons? Perhaps so, but it sounds to me like a better plan to make sure no child is left behind.

Randy Landau

At this point, I’d vote for Rudy Giuliani. I’m a registered Democrat, but I don’t like the choices I’ve seen so far from the Democrats. That’s frustrating because I’m tired of our economy being screwed up and musicians not having as many gigs as we might in a thriving one.

Obama is too young and too Hollywood for his own good. I wish I could vote for Hillary but she’s a socialist, for goodness sakes! And the other Democrats just seem lost somehow.

Rudy is the only candidate that seems to have a perspective that’s larger than the others, which appeals to me. He did a great job putting Manhattan back together while he was mayor and also with how he handled New York when the two WTC’s were demolished along with the nearly 3,000 Americans souls.

Dana Reedy

The only true union-friendly candidate with a long record is John Edwards. He has consistently voted for workers’ rights and strict regulation of industry; his dedication to the middle class and the underclass is legendary; he has been endorsed by many unions, including SEIU. In addition, after inheriting a polarized and polluted state from Jesse Helms, he brought people together, cleaned up the environment, created good jobs, improved the schools (notably in low-income areas), funded excellent after-school and senior programs, and balanced the budget. Remember what it’s like to have a president who listens to the people?

That the popular media has promoted this as a two-person field is a travesty. Almost anybody would be an improvement on the dangerous ignoramus currently in office, but with Obama’s lack of experience and Clinton’s Iraq-as-usual stance, John Edwards stands out as being a superb choice. And – he can win!

Dan Wilensky

I like the pro-labor plans that John Edwards has espoused, and I like Senator Barack Obama, but he does not usually give concrete plans for solving problems. I would love to see them together as a ticket, though. I love having a liberal African-American candidate I can feel good about (unlike Colin Powell, a rumored candidate in past elections, who is right-wing). I would vote for any Democrat who stood for universal health care, peace and diplomacy in the Middle East, and pro-labor policies in the National Labor Relations Board.

As a feminist, I would normally love a female candidate, but Senator Hillary Clinton votes for war, and has a very right-wing voting record.

Amy Fix

My guess is that John Edwards or Dennis Kucinich would best represent the interests of unions, although I don’t think that means we should vote for either of them. I believe other domestic issues, like tax policy and environmental issues, as well as foreign policy, are very important in this election.

If I had my pick, not considering electability in the general election, I would probably go for Kucinich. He’s interesting and thoughtful, and would be a welcome change. But I don’t think he can win nationwide, or even win the party’s nomination. So I may go with Hillary or Obama.

Jamshied Sharifi

Dennis Kucinich should be our next president of the United States. Here’s why:

1. Dennis openly supports single-payer universal health insurance, which would give coverage to every single American, regardless of occupation or income level. Under this plan, if you’re a citizen of the United States, you have health insurance. Period. What is more, the plan actually saves money in the long run because it eliminates the middlemen – the private health insurance providers – who are in this business as much to make a profit as they are to actually provide sick people with quality health care.

2. Dennis is for public financing of all U.S. elections. Imagine it. No more corporate-sponsored “debates” in which candidates squabble over haircuts, how many hours they pray before breakfast, or how much each of them is more willing than the next to nuke Iran. Instead, candidates who talk about real issues of real importance to working Americans will no longer be disqualified from debates because they are judged “unelectable” (by rich men) simply because they don’t have Mike Bloomberg’s trust fund.

3. Dennis is for immediate withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq. Not for “redeployments” or “alterations” or any other euphemism for spineless wavering. He is for immediate withdrawal. And equally as important, he is for this withdrawal not only for the obvious practical reasons (like keeping our soldiers alive), but for moral ones: This war is wrong. It is illegal aggression, the “supreme crime,” as laid out by the United Nations during the Nuremberg Trials, for which men were tried and sentenced.

There are other very good reasons why Dennis would make a great president, not the least of which being that he is a smart, caring and conscientious citizen. But those three reasons mentioned above pretty much distinguish him already from the rest of the pack.

John McFaul

This year’s election is the least democratically run election in my lifetime. Months before the first primary, the favorites are already cemented in and people already feel they’ll be wasting their vote if they vote for anyone else. Who raises the most money per quarter is determining who’s doing well in the polls, which is turning the primaries into a foregone conclusion. I forget which corrupt politician said many years ago, “You can have all the democracy you want as long as you let me pick the candidates.”

Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate I trust to get us out of foreign wars (other than Ron Paul, who would fold the government entirely). Kucinich is the only candidate who voted against going to Iraq from the beginning. He also has an excellent record on arts funding and health care.

Of the contenders, John Edwards is the most unashamedly pro-labor candidate. 

When he was mayor, Rudy Giuliani filed 28 separate lawsuits against the First Amendment and lost 26 times. His very first act was to go to Albany and ask the governor to cut state funding for public schools. I can not conceive of a worse candidate. Crime was down in every single city in the country in the 90’s. Crime would have dropped without us having to endure Giuliani’s brutal police state.

Gregor Kitzis

My vote will be with the one candidate who is most like the rest of us: New Yorkers, Americans, workers and survivors: Giuliani. He’s the only candidate who earned his salt during 9/11, as well as his history of taking the crime out of New York during his term as our mayor.

He is a self-made guy, survivor of cancer, slander, terrorism, and believes in safety first for Americans.

Democrats have no direction, no structure, no solution to speak of, except for the characteristic “Republicans can do no right.” That is not a safe bet in today’s political status.

If we are to choose, we should choose more wisely than we’ve ever chosen in any of our lifetimes to date.

The economy is better than we think, we’re safe, and we’re changing the landscape of the Middle Eastern threats that are long overdue to be addressed by the uninformed American citizens.

Giuliani is passionate about our culture, and maintaining its traditions.

Music, musicians and performers are part of his passion to lead us from a higher political rank.

In my opinion, formed by observation and real facts, Giuliani is the only resolve in the race for a new leader.

Barbara Rose Dalessio

John Edwards has presented issues with the clearest detail. I believe the Democratic Party has other worthy challengers. Obama’s statements on education have been on the nose and Hillary has her heart in the right place. But while those two candidates are saying the kind of things that earn voter appeal, Edwards has taken the time to deliver the details.

It’s unfortunate most voters will make their decisions based on commercials rather than the written word. Edwards cannot be understood unless the average voter invests the time to see that many of our issues cannot be summed up in a few words.

Take his stand on health care. If you read his agenda, you’ll see that working out universal coverage is more complex than it sounds, but he seems to have found a way to make businesses and small business employers find cheaper ways to keep workers insured. He supports Schip, the expansion of Medicaid, for the right reasons. He can provide reforms to update the insurance agencies and make health care markets regional so that the system becomes fair. His plans are specific and serious. I believe that, if implemented, they will start the road to grant insurance for everyone in this country.

I think what we need now in this country is a fair man who is willing to listen to a diverse dialogue. Don’t let the suit and haircut fool you. I believe that Edwards shows a true compassion for common people and a willingness to carry an agenda which is reminiscent of the Johnson years. Forget about the doomsayers who talking about raising taxes. If we want improvements in our schools, healthcare and environment we’re going to have to invest in those while cutting other agendas that have benefited an ill proportion of well-to-do citizens.

Wayne Hankin

I believe Ron Paul represents one of the best opportunities in decades to restore constitutional governance to this nation. I think the union has mistakenly given a free ride to any politician associated with the Democratic party.

It should be remembered that while George H. W. Bush attempted to get NAFTA passed during his tenure, he was unsuccessful, but Bill Clinton took it on as one of his first priorities upon taking office. And let’s not forget, it was Al Gore who cast the tie-breaking vote in the senate. This single “trade agreement” has caused extreme harm to middle-class workers and only Ron Paul has gone on record as being against “free” trade, a euphemism for highly regulated favoritism for the largest corporations, who in turn, have outsourced an alarming number of formerly good-paying American jobs. No other candidate, Republican or Democrat, has paid anything more than lip service to this issue. Dr. Paul has a 20-year record of consistency during his tenure in the House with this and other important issues.

Tony Finno