Even in this celebrity-laden age, there aren't many people with first-name recognition among the American public. In politics, "Hillary" ranks high among them.
It will take "Jonathan" a while to get there. For now, "Jonathan Tasini" would probably be happy with both-name recognition.
Or even for recognition after introduction. Jonathan Tasini is running against Hillary Clinton in the September 12 Democratic primary for the U.S. senate.
It was a hard battle for Tasini to get on the ballot in the first place. Now his challenge is to compete with Clinton in public awareness.
Tasini can concede the battle for campaign funding. He has raised about $200,000, to Clinton's $44 million.
He feels the fight is for voter awareness, and that if New Yorkers would "vote for what you believe in" - his campaign motto - he would win.
Tasini makes the point that two-thirds of New York voters oppose the war in Iraq. He has been outspoken in his opposition to it, and in his criticism of Senator Clinton for her vote for it.
He has also criticized Senator Clinton for her support of Israel's military action against Lebanon, which he opposes. Tasini is Jewish and has family members in Israel.
Insurmountable as Senator Clinton's advantages might seem, the recent victory of Ned Lamont over Senator Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary is an interesting parallel, and a measure of hope for Tasini's supporters.
Ithaca, with its reputation for progressive politics, has emerged as an important center for the Tasini campaign. A benefit concert for Tasini is scheduled for 7 p.m., Sunday, August 27, at Castaways, on Taughannock Boulevard.
The concert is sponsored by the Ithaca Progressive Democrats of America. Performers will include Hank Roberts, Michelle Berry, Radio London, Will Fudeman, and Susan Lytle. The suggested donation is $10. Tickets are available at the door, or in advance at Autumn Leaves, Ithaca Guitar Works, and Small World Music.