New York

Post primary polling data positive news for Democrats

As statistically indicated, the Democratic Party WILL lose seats in the upcoming midterms.  No one questions this - not now and not in any midterm election.  Cases where the majority gained seats in a midterm are aberrant.  But the picture improved for the Democratic Party given the results of the primaries, primarily because the Right elected a handful of candidates that, like them or not, have thrown a number of races that were a slam dunk for Republicans back into the "leaning Democratic" category. 

There are several other variations on this theme, but the bottom line is that in yesterday's Senate Rankings at fivethrityeight.com, the meta-polling picture improved for the Democratic Party, who now is more likely than not to hold onto 55 seats.  The Republican Party's chances to take the Senate remains at about 6%.  And a lot depends on which party Charlie Crist caucuses with should he win the FL seat (which looks increasingly likely). 

Here's the goods from the dean of polling data:  http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/06/senate-forecast-after-primaries-picture.html

Who says that the tea parties aren't winning elections?

Over the weekend, Politico ran a story by Alex Isenstadt about the "failures" of Tea Party candidates. This article reads more like DC-based myopia. Movements don't transform at the federal level or statewide level first. Simply creating the network with the skills to execute huge campaigns is hard and takes time.

The place to go to see the successes are things like county parties, congressional district conventions, state legislative, and municipal seats. Those are races where a little bit of money and a little bit of energy go a huge way. They are also races with relatively low name ID. And they are the entry-level races for future leaders.

One of races that showed me that something was going on was the November election of Dan Halloran to the New York City Council. He is also the chairman of the New York chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus. (recall that RLC is the branch of the Ron Paul movement that believes in integration with the GOP party infrastructure)

Similarly, anyone who has been following local party politics knows that tea party supporters and Ron Paul and RLC organizations have had a huge impact on local party organizations. I wrote about this in response to Ken Cuchinelli's crushing convention victory to become the Republican nominee for Virginia's Attorney General.

It is easy to miss what is going on in American politics and to the American right if you focus on Washington.  It isn't happening in Washington. What is happening will lead to the Washington-based leadership being overturned by a generation of new leaders.

 

NY 29: Time to stop this un-Kuhl comeback bid

The mission statement fot this website indicate that we are here to build a new, vibrant responsive Republican Party. Not to accede to letting failed insiders continue the insanity that resulted in back-to-back election debacles in 2006 and 2008.

If there's ever been a reason for the Rightosphere to rise up and nip a bad idea in the bud it's coming this morning from upstate New York.  Failed former Republican Congressman Randy Kuhl   now thinks he ought to run again for the seat he lost to the now disgraced and soon to resign Eric Massa.

In a world full of bad ideas, this ranks up there as one of the worst.

Randy Kuhl is an aging member of the NYS GOP establishment who simply isn't a very popular politician. In three runs for this district, he never exceeded 51.6% of the vote. And this district is probably the closest thing to a GOP stronghold in contemporary New York.

No, when you run thousands of votes behind John McCain's performance in a state he didn;t campaign in you are simply not a good enough politician to be offered a second chance. (McCain won NY 29; Kuhl didn't) Not when you accomplished little in your prior stint in Congress. And where your 24 years of service in the hideous cesspool known as the New York State Legislature is going to be held against you.

And consider this. Kuhl lost to Massa in spite of the fact Massa had never held a single elected or appointed office in the district.   

Randy is a "Cuse grad. But that's about his only attribute.

Kuhl is worse than the usual "Certified Pre-Owned candidates" the GOP establishment are finding--most of them were successful politicians in the past.  This campaign would have the reek of failure from the get-go.

Before Massa fell on his sword the Republicans had what one wag thought was a "sacrificial lamb" in the race--former Corning Mayor Tom Reed, Jr.   But there's no comparison to Kuhl.  Reed is young, on his way up and actually won an election.

If the powers that be think the populous Monroe County portion of the district near Rochester need a candidate, then County Executive Maggie Brooks makes more electoral sense than a retread from tiny Hammondsport.

Here's the main point. If we don;t make abundantly clear this is a huge mistake that we aren't signing up, then the good old boys in the DC and NY GOP establishment are going to take care of their own.

This can't happen on this one. We've got to go to the mattresses on this one.

Running retreads to public office in 2010 just isn't "Kuhl". And we aren;t going to be "Kuhl" with them even trying on this one. 

   

NY Republicans: Get off your duff and do something about David Paterson!

The latest chapter of New York's descent into political and governmental hell is all over the press.

Governor David Paterson's top aide beat a woman in the Bronx, and then sent the state police out to intimidate her. And right before her court hearing on a protective order, the Governor himself called her.

The civilian in charge of public safety in New York, Denise O'Donnell, abruptly resigned after she determined she had been lied to by Paterson's head of the State Police. And the state budget is due in five weeks.   

Democrats are urging Paterson not to run so as to grease the skids for the Andrew Cuomo coronation. Guess what. That's not enough and it's painfully self-serving.

Republicans ought to stop fearing the race card and demand much more of New York government.

Paterson shouldn't drop his doomed re-election bid.  Republicans should demand he resign--yesterday-- over this scandal.

Paterson never was much of a leader. Now he has less credibility running the government than Tiger Woods has on the topic of marital fidelity. LG Richard Ravitch is an unelected technocrat. And as former head of the MTA he has the respect of both parties and might cobble a budget together that gets the state through to the next year in one piece.

Barring that, they should demand the Democratic controlled legislature convene impeachment hearings over what it appears to me to be a rather open and shut case of obstruction of justice.  if Eliot Spitzer's patronizing a prostitute was impeachable, what pray tell is using the State Police to subvert the court system? 

Republicans sadly have had their share of corrupt officeholders. But the first day to change for the better is always today.  Now's the chance to rebrand the party and stop being apologists and enablers of the "Bear Mountain Compact" of bipartisan bad actors in the state capitol.

That's what Republican can do on the state level. Beyond that, New York Republicans should demand that the federal Department of Justice commence an investigation into whether  the complaining witness in this matter has had her civil rights violated under color of law.

Based on what the Times has written I believe a number of officials have potential criminal liability under 18 USC 241 and would be well advised to lawyer up ASAP.

I'm sure some folks might suggest a black Attorney General working for a black President won;t investigate a black Governor. Might I suggest this is exactly the time for the Obama Administration to prove it will not allow partisan politics or racial issues stand in the way of the search for justice.  

And what if Paterson and his clique play the race card and dig in their heels.  Let them take the blame for not letting the state move forward. Let them  force the Democrats into an expensive bloody primary.

It's time for the Republicans to demand more. And if Ed Cox, Rick Lazio and Dean Skelos can't bring themselves to do this, the party rank-and-file should demand more.

David Paterson----You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

  

    

An exception to Ruffini's "self-funder" rule

Awhile back, Patrick Ruffini made some excellent points as to the limitations of self-funding candidates and why they fail as a "quick fix" for candidare recruitment.

I generally agree.  Self-funders have a weak track record and generally confuse quantity of message for quality of message. And yes, they do tend to be at best faux conservatives.  Given a credible opponent that worked his way up the political ladder, I'll take a successful survivor of political Darwinism over a sui generis candidate almost any day of the week.   

However, Ruffini's central thesis presupposes that the state's overall Republican environment is capable of generating credible candidates on its own.  In at least one state, this is clearly not true, and the two party system has broken down.

In NY State, the decision of former Mayor Giuliani to stand down from elective office has left the party in a quandary, as the NY Post now believes the highly vulnerable Kirsten Gillibrand may draw a merely nominal opponent in 2010---despite the fact the ObamaCare plan could well decimate the state's already depleted coffers.. 

The New York Times writes an obituary of the Republican Party every week or so, but this recent account of the woes of the NY State party was actually pretty reasonable in tone and based on actual events. 

It has come to this for the party of such electoral lions as Rudolph W. Giuliani, George E. Pataki and Alfonse M. D’Amato: a rookie Democrat, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand — largely unknown to the public and unloved by some in her own party — faces her first election to the seat in November. But Republicans have been unable to land a marquee name to run against her

The Times cites some possibilities against Gillibrand---former LI State Senator Michael Balboni (who would have been an intriguing pick had he not quit to join ....ummm... Eliot Spitzer's cabinet);a failed Comptroller candidate, and the Mayor of a Westchester village smaller than Wasilla, AK.

Frankly, this is looking more like the war horses trotted out to lose in 2006 than any replica of D'Amato and Pataki. And this race might be closer than people think. Even the Schumer race might be interesting In 1994  Bernadette Castro (a furniture heiress) held the illustrious Daniel P. Moynihan to an underwhelming performance.

Patrick would probably suggest shaking the backbenches of the state legislature. But the root cause of the demise of the NYS GOP has to be blamed on their legislative caucus. In some places this is where future leaders develop,  in the past decade Albany's dysfunctional legislative branch has churned  out one clunker after another.  Who are the role models? The now convicted Joe Bruno, or Dean Skelos, mastermind of the disasterous Senate coup attempt reliant on two ethically challenged NYC Democrats? Current or former GOP legislators lost the following House races: 20th; 23rd;  24th; and 29th.  The one upstate seat they hold (26) was because the Erie County GOP had the good sense to locate a local businessman to run without having set foot in Albany first. 

Perhaps by 2014 some of the younger legislators or the newly elected suburban County Executives in Nassau and Westchester will be ready for prime time. But in the here and now it is apparent that the Christopher Lee example in the 26th District is the better example for conservatives in New York.

The new NYS GOP chairman, Ed Cox, ought to start getting on the horn and tracking down high net worth New Yorkers with a track record of supporting the conservative agenda--at least the economic part of the equation.  Are there no Club for Growth benefactors itching to get in the game?

The other reason for self-funders is NY is the quintessential tabloid media state. This state--especially downstate--rewards the brash and outspoken, while the political insiders tend to wilt in statewide contests.     

I use New York as an example as it perhaps is the worst example of Republican establishment dry rot out there at the moment.  But as the 3rd largest state, and still the nation's media capitol, it's not like a place like Rhode Island or Vermont that could repeal the Republican Party altogether with no national impact.  Sure , we can win without New York. But , like Frankie said, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. And the stage is where one gets noticed. 

So, I'll take up the cause of the self-funder as the necessary evil to prevent one-party governance. If the party has failed, only individuals can succeed.

Right now there are two nominations for the U.S. Senate up for grabs in the Empire State.  Why not auction off the nominations? Could it be worse than running some old-time hack eager for some glory before he ends his career? Methinks not.     

How NY23 Revealed the Republicans' ACORN Problem

As the nation watches the events in New York's 23rd Congressional district unfold, an appropriate title for this story would be “How to squander money and alienate your base." After the Saturday withdrawal of Republican Dede Scozzfava, the GOP is reeling from a massive insurgency by its conservative base. Of course, the story got stranger as Erick Erickson

of Redstate reports

“Dede Scozzafava is throwing her support to the Democrat, Bill Owens.

"She and her husband are working with union activists to drive the vote up for the Democrat.

"The Republican Party spent $900,000.00 to help her and this is how she repays them.

"And Pete Sessions, Chairman of the NRCC, and Guy Harrison, Executive Director of the NRCC, still have their jobs and are failing to take responsibility for this disaster, instead blaming conservatives.”

In the GOP there are still some are shaking their heads and wondering what went wrong. The GOP nominated a “moderate” and if she happened to have big labor and ACORN ties, then so be it. For once, the elephant in the room was not the GOP but this blatant, illogical and damaging alliance it had formed with Scozzafava. As the Wall Street journal reports, this relationship would eventually set off a national chain of events:

“Saturday's decision by Republican Dede Scozzafava to drop out of tomorrow's special Congressional election in upstate New York is a potentially big political moment that could help to return the GOP to first principles—or could lead to internecine ruin. Much will depend on how GOP leaders and conservative activists respond.

"Picked by GOP elites without a primary and with a voting record to the left of many Albany Democrats, Ms. Scozzafava faced a revolt by local and national conservatives in favor of businessman Doug Hoffman, who was nominated on the Conservative Party line. The longtime GOP assemblywoman saw herself falling in the polls and yesterday endorsed Democratic lawyer Bill Owens, who could still win the GOP-leaning seat with a plurality.”

Republican liaisons with far left Democrats have already been detrimental to the conservative movement and Scozzafava's ties to ACORN and their “affiliated” Working Families Party was covered extensively in the blogosphere. Top Republicans chose to ignore the corruption right under their nose and to sell out their base by following the Left's mantra to elect “moderates”. These “moderates” tend to be leftists in Republican clothing. Kirsten Gillibrand is an example of a local “moderate” who abandoned her principles and base after being promoted from Congressperson to United States Senator. Republicans like Darrell Issa (who released a damning report on ACORN last July) backed Scozzafava while still pursing ACORN corruption.

In any partnership, there is compromise. Some compromise is acceptable, but fundamental values should not be compromised. When conservatives align themselves with polar opposites, it always seems that they are doing so because of race considerations or political expediency. During a panel discussion in which I participated on October 23, 2009, Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media asked why Republicans in the Bush administration approved ACORN funding.

John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, replied that Republicans acquiesced with the pretense that these organizations are doing good work and that race is a major factor behind that acquiescence.

While partisanship should not play a role in exposing corruption, when that corruption is rooted in the pay for play politics that tip heavily to the Left, partisanship cannot be ignored. Nonprofit groups have been allowed to run rampant with charitable donations that somehow elect Democrats. To stop this trend, conservatives must become creative and steer clear of situations like the one in the NY 23 with Scozzafava. If such situations are allowed to continue, others will succeed in dividing the GOP from the grassroots conservatives, and thus strengthening the left.

ACORN is a Democrat scandal and it is hard to separate one from the other. Corruption is the overriding theme and it comes mostly from the left. Another particularly odd pairing continues to be the radical reformers of ACORN and top Conservatives and Republicans. The ACORN 8, a group of former ACORN board members, have formed a Scozzafava-like partnership with the Republicans. In attempting to expose ACORN, some appear to have ignored key facts and overlooked a pattern of withholding key information to coincide with opportunistic timing aimed at aiding Democrats. An example of this is the complete removal of two longtime Obama ACORN cronies from a complaint filed with the United States Justice Department last January by the ACORN 8. Madeline Talbott is described by Stanley Kurtz of the National Review Online as “the woman who first drew Obama into an alliance with ACORN.” And Keith Kelleher is Talbott's husband, the Chief Organizer of SEIU Local 880 in Chicago.

Another example of the GOP ignoring the evidence in front of it involves investigative reporting by the National Legal and Policy Center, a group that "promotes ethics in public life through research, investigation, education and legal action." The NLPC uncovered more on ACORN's relationship with Scozzafava. The GOP seems quick to support organizations and people with strong ties to ACORN as long as they technically are not ACORN. Unfortunately for conservatives, the credibility being bestowed on such groups receives little scrutiny beyond the blogosphere and Fox News . Key ACORN opponents have formed relationships of convenience with little thought to the outcome. As the NLPC reports, even the unions are involved:

 

“The powerful New York City-based health care workers union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199, also has endorsed Owens. But common sense says that if Mrs. Scozzafava is elected, she effectively will have established a Republican congressional beachhead for ACORN, who would claim its 'bipartisanship.' It's not as if her own party will be against her. Top GOP members sending her checks include House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Virginia), National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (California), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), and Rep. Peter King (N.Y.).

"How did leading Republicans, some of whom (like Boehner) have been ACORN's toughest critics, come to endorse a candidate with a history of endorsements by its main political front, the Working Families Party?" (emphasis mine).

 

Good question. In NY 23, the GOP candidate selecters chose to ignore the evidence of Scozzafava's ACORN tainted background. Just as the GOP and Fox have also ignored the clear statement on the ACORN 8's website which does not call for not for full truth, transparency and accountability by ACORN to the American people. Rather, as stated on the ACORN 8 website, they call for "truth, transparency and accountability within ACORN." Apparently in exposing ACORN it certainly does not hurt to have a black face to speak about ACORN corruption. The color of whistleblowers should not be important, but their message should be.

When groups like the ACORN 8 speak to conservatives and tell them that ACORN was a great organization that was “hijacked” by some who had sinister motives, it's believable if no one checks the facts. How can an organization whose founder remained in place for almost 40 years become hijacked? How can ACORN be reformed if the same longtime insiders are the new control group? This fiction must be exposed. Fox has been leading the way on exposing ACORN while other so called respected media outlets like the New York Times, finally admitted to having been continually scooped by Fox. But Fox needs to report all the facts to its viewers instead of promoting the ACORN 8 and wishful thinking.

As TV/Radio host Glenn Beck continues to expose the true subversive nature of ACORN, and Obama's radical roots, he contradicts many of the assertions made by this group of reformers. Though no one ever mentions the distortions on air, one has to wonder if Fox is doing its viewers a disservice by aligning themselves with groups who support Obama' s policy initiatives. As the conservative base mobilizes online, there is a disconnect between then and the so called leaders. The base sprung into action as a subsequent Glenn Beck boycott of advertisers begun by Van Jones and his organization Color of Change attempted to silence Beck and that same base is ready to fight as ACORN attempts to DeFox America.

Those outside of this boycott alliance spread the word on Twitter and Facebook about the Left's attempt to silence Beck, while the ACORN 8 remained largely silent on these issues and others that concern the very people they fundraise and ask to support their efforts. Like the $990,000 the Republicans spent on Scozzafava, conservatives are being asked to foot the bill for a partnership that was never ideologically aligned with theirs. As stated, such partnerships are rarely mutually beneficial for long. While the Left exploits the fears of conservatives on the issues of race, conservatives must be willing to fight back and respond to the blows instead of merely trying to deflect them.

After watching the ACORN prostitution stings, Americans do not see ACORN as serving a noble purpose and one has to wonder what people were doing on the ACORN board for years. Marcel Reid was active in ACORN for nine years and her story that the ACORN board was "ceremonial" does not excuse any board member. She claims to have noticed ACORN corruption only after the embezzlement scandal was publicly reported. As a former employee who started in October of 2005, I was already calling the folks at www.rottenacorn.com by May of 2007.

The question now is whether the GOP can overcome its fear of being labeled "racist" by the left and learn to respond to these attacks. Fear of that seems to be the tipping point for their ultimately disastrous relationships with liberals who wish to keep Democrats in power.

Until and unless we conservatives form our own groups and become more involved in the communities of color, we will find ourselves aligned with every group that sprouts from the ACORN seed. ACORN 8 professes to love ACORN and does not want to see it dismantled, just "reformed. " But ignoring the reality of the radical ACORN 8 potentially opens that door to other alliances with ACORN "insiders" who are willing to offer information in exchange for credibility and a chance to retaliate against the very control group that threw them out.

 

Dede's 30 pieces of "Silver"? Scozzafava makes secret deal to switch parties?

The Politico reports that the White House under Rahm Emanuel orchesterated the Scozzafava endorsement of Bill Owens in NY 23.

Fearful that the party had almost no chance of winning the Nov. 3 New York special election after Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava abruptly announced Saturday that she was dropping out, high-ranking national Democrats immediately began working to secure her endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens, POLITICO has learned.

 

 

On Sunday afternoon, their vigorous efforts paid off as Scozzafava bucked her own party and issued a statement supporting Owens over Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman, a coup for Democrats who recognized that their best remaining chance of winning the Republican-leaning seat on Tuesday was to swing disaffected Scozzafava supporters their way. By Sunday night, Scozzafava had taped her endorsement and it was being delivered via robo-call into targeted district households.

 

 

The story of how it went down began in Washington, where the White House and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quarterbacked the effort to secure Scozzafava’s endorsement.

And if you think the real reason for this 11th hour betrayal was about helping her district, please. We are talking about an Albany politician, now.

Scozzafava was offered material inducements for her endorsement from Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. 

Also critical was Silver’s assurance, in a phone conversation with Scozzafava, that the state Assembly Democratic caucus would embrace her if she chose to switch parties, now viewed as a real possibility after her endorsement Sunday of Owens.

 

 

June O'Neill, until earlier this year the New York Democratic Party chair, played an even more important role in courting Scozzafava, according to one New York official, because they “go to the same social events—church bingo night and the high school dance.”

It now seems highly likely Scozzafava is going to switch parties and be assured of various legislative perks---maybe even a chairmanship-- from Speaker Silver. And she will be assured  of  hige financial backing from the NY Democrats for her re-election. And who knows how many "member items" are going to be dangled her way?

There's an old saying that an honest politician is one who stays bought. I suppose we will see in a few days if that describes Ms. Scozzafava

Counting Scozzafava votes before they are cast

Everyone assumes Scozzafava's exit from the race guarantees Hoffman's victory.  Why?  If her 20 percent move to Owens instead of Hoffman, the Democrats get a blowout victory.

So what reason would a Scozzafava supporter have to move right instead of left?  Vocal conservatives have gone out of their way to insult moderates, denigrate them as RINOs and do everything possible to make clear they are not wanted or needed in the Republican party.  Putting Scozzaffava's scalp on the wall is being protrayed as a major victory for conservatives over moderates.  Now they are counting on these same moderates to put party loyalty over ideological preferences and swing their 20 percent of the vote to Hoffman instead of Owens. 

If I ived in New York 23, I would be voting for Hoffman regardless of whether Scozzafava stayed in the race or got out; but I would also recognize the legitimate place for moderates in the Republican party.  I would also be spending the next 2 days trying to communicate with Scozzafava moderates rather than attacking them and definately put an end to the victory dances over her electoral corpse.

In Virginia, Bob Mcdonnell has maintained open respectful communicatin between conservatives and moderates.  He is stomping the liberals into the ground.  In New York 23 Conservatives have persued a scorched earth campaign against the moderates.  On Tuesday, we will learn whether or not they have gone too far.

Conservatives may win NY23; but I think the Virginia campaign provides a better roadmap for long term progress.

Anyone seen Sarah Palin lately?

We have not seen former Governor Palin out and about for awhile. Indeed, the various bloggers @ Conservatives4Palin often complain that the McDonnell and Christie campaigns haven't demanded her to walk the length of VA or NJ with them.

And right now, I' ve seen no indication she's going to campaign this season. But is there some huge surprise brewing?

I recall that before the 2008 Republican National Convention she swooped into Ohio out of nowhere for her debut. 

I know she's a "hockey mom" and I also know one candidate associated with the 1980 Winter Olympics.

There's an fairly large airport just minutes from the Lake Placid Ice arena and the Hoffman campaign HQ. Could there be one more surprise left in the NY 23 race?   Could she just show up on Doug Hoffman's doorstep and alert the local media?

Sure would upstage Joe Biden

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