Whats Up NY-23?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Best Political Video of the Season

This is by far the best political video we have seen this season. Expect more and more of this kind of work as we move towards campaign 2.0 in 2010. Everything is moving online these days and fewer and fewer people are reading the old grey lady. The quote that starts the ad off speaks volumes after 15 months of Obama and a Democratic Congress. They own it and in November we will Remember!

"It is true that you may fool all of the people
some of the time: you may even fool some of the
people all of the time: but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
- President Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three Republicans Running for US Senate

There are three Republican candidates who can be considered top challengers for the Republican Party nomination to take on incumbent Democratic US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this fall.

Joe DioGuardi was a Congressman from downstate and his daughter was an American Idol judge. He's got almost a million dollars in the bank to challenge Gillibrand, but it's going to take a lot more than that to even make it out of the Republican primary. He's got some solid conservative backing though. Below is a nice 2-minute video of Joe made by a grassroots supporter.

Former Wall Street hand David Malpass just got into the race. He has the endorsement of former Presidential candidate and flat-tax proponent Steve Forbes. Malpass also worked for the Joint Economic Committee in Congress, for President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. Malpass announced he has raised over a million dollars for the seat.

Bruce Blakeman has been in the race for a few months now and has the most name ID because of his run for State Comptroller in 1998. Blakeman was also a former Nassau County Legislator and former commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He has former Senator Al D'Amato and he has hired some top tier fundraising consultants earlier this month.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Franklin GOP Supports Candidate Who Dresses Like a Terrorist?

File this one under ugly political optics.

Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman James Ellis is supporting Democrat Executive Steve Levy for New York State Governor. Levy was a Democrat until just a few weeks ago when he decided he wanted to run for Governor. One could argue that Levy is worse than Dede Scozzafava in more ways than one. After all, Scozzafava may have dressed up in weird pink outfits, but at least she didn't dress up as a terrorist!

It is repulsive to think that Chairman James Ellis would abandon the voters of Franklin county who believe in a free and strong America so he can cozy up with liberal Democrats. Who supports candidates that dress up as terrorists anyways? Now rumors are circulating that Ellis is planning on supporting Mr. Wall Street Banker-Lawyer Matt Doheny for NY-23 over Conservative - Republican Doug Hoffman.

Several other Republican county chairs in NY-23 are also supporting Levy and Doheny over Republican Rick Lazio. The questions one has to ask is: are Ellis and some of the other county chairs trying to fracture the Republican Party on purpose? Why can't the county committees just do their job and then endorse the winner of the Republican Party once the fight is over? Does Doheny also support Steve Levy for Governor over Rick Lazio?

The county committees were never originally set up to tear the party apart before the primary happened. The county committees exist to be a support network to recruit candidates, help organize events, educate the public on Republican ideals, push Republican policies, and help fund candidates once they earn the right to be the Republican nominee for political office.

Now these committees function to give credibility and cover to Democrats who dress up like Osama Bin Ladin and carpetbaggers from New York City who traded stocks and dividends on Wall Street. In a sense, the county committees are losing credibility because of their ulterior motives, failure to communicate with the grassroots, uncanny inability to win local races, a capacity to fundamentally tear the GOP apart, and weak leadership.

Update, 4/14/10: Several individuals have e-mailed and said that you can go back 20+ years into anyone's history and find something that disqualifies them for public office. However, it should be pointed out that when Levy dressed up as an unrepentant terrorist on October 31, 1983, it was only 8 days after 241 American Servicemen had died serving our country in Beirut, Lebanon as Islamic terrorists bombed the Marine barracks on October 23, 1983. What sort of a person would show that kind of rash humor just days after the biggest death toll of American service members the US experienced since Vietnam. Levy is not just a bad comedian. He is bad for New York and the Republican Party.

Matt Doheny Uses Scozzafava's Insider Tactics and Buys Supporters

If you thought the backroom deals and insider political maneuvers that were exposed in the aftermath of the NY-23 GOP Special Election last summer were over, think again!

The Republican Party has just launched another major offensive against the Conservative-Republican candidate, Doug Hoffman, in retaliation for his entering the NY-23 congressional race last fall as an alternative candidate to liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava and Democrat Bill Owens. Tonight, just days after George Joseph resigned from his position as Chairman of the Oneida County Republican Party, the local Republican party quickly organized a Monday night meeting to offer its endorsement to rival candidate Matt Doheny. The county endorsement is perplexing to those who will remember that Hoffman ran up the score in Oneida County with 3,225 votes to Owens' 2,243 and Scozzafava's paltry 459. But apparently the Oneida Republicans want to give it away in exchange for something else.

And so again, it appears the fix may in with the establishment good old boys club in NY-23. The news came to us from a local Republican activist who just called and said he heard that the whole meeting was set without even giving Doug Hoffman a hearing, and that he overheard a conversation where it was discussed how Hoffman was purposely not even invited or made aware of the meeting with the county committee so he wouldn’t be able to make his case to the members.

The local activist went on to say that, "the endorsement proceedings I just witnessed over here in Oneida County were the least transparent I have ever seen on the local level. I knew that backroom deals and shady political operations like this existed, but never have I seen something quite like this happen within our own committee. The whole affair tonight wasn't even an honest attempt to be fair. What were the local Republican leaders thinking? It was like some of them were acting like Democrats trying to write a health care bill behind closed doors in the dead of night. Why were the local county officials so afraid of inviting Doug Hoffman so he could make his case? There is obviously something else behind the endorsement that people didn’t know about yet, and it has got to be exposed."

In fairness, the Oneida County Republican insiders weren’t the first Republican leaders to prematurely throw their hat in Doheny’s corner. Just this past week, right as Doheny officially announced his candidacy, he took the endorsements of three other county chairmen in the district, Ron Jackson of Essex County, Donald Lee of Clinton County, and Donald Coon of Jefferson County, who were part of the Scozzafava crowning last fall.

And the local ring-leader of the 2009 Special Election Circus, James Ellis of Franklin County who set up the process for Scozzafava's victory last summer, just so happens to be publicly supporting a registered Democrat, Steve Levy, for the New York Gubernatorial race. Ellis is always doing his best to throw Hoffman under the bus each and every chance he gets near a reporter. So it is clear there is an organized effort by the county Republican leadership to block Hoffman organizationally and in the media.

The public support of inside party leaders is a function of at least two things that we can identify at the moment: 1) a resentment of conservatism in general and Doug Hoffman in particular, a man who utterly embarrassed and exposed the shady backroom dealings of the local Republican establishment, and 2) money.

Not only have Republican leaders been looking for an alternative to Hoffman in 2010, but they have now found an alternative who is willing and able to float large checks to local candidates and party leaders in exchange for public support. Public records show that Doheny has written nearly $30,000 in checks to county chairs, local elected officials, and the state party to gain influence and early momentum in his bid to beat Hoffman for the Republican nomination.

Another source told me that, "Doheny is willing to hand out money to anyone who is willing to help him, a sort of political quid pro quo. He likes to give money to candidate he thinks will help him down the line. And by looking at his records it shows he doesn't have any principles. Why else would he give Dede Scozzafava $2,400 for her election bid?" In other words, some are making the subtle claim that Doheny is aiming to win a congressional seat the old fashioned way – he is going to buy his seat.

But there are clear disadvantages to running a campaign on the inside lane. First off, the local Republican Party has failed miserably to win the 48th State Senate seat and the 118th Assembly seat. And the Oneida County Coup tonight is really a stunning example of what voters rejected last year and what helped propel Doug Hoffman into the national conservative spotlight. For a local county party like Oneida's, that can only boast nearly 7,000 Republican voters, to quickly circle the wagons make a public endorsement on behalf of all its members for Doheny's campaign shows a remarkable ability to throw the rules out the window and forget their 2009 debacle.

For those political animals who want to look to the history books on how we ended up with Scozzafava it started the same way. One report of the cussed up nomination process last year stated that it was, “orchestrated by two powerful liberal members of the local Republican Party organization, and was aided and abetted by several politically inexperienced local county leaders who failed to grasp the tactical significance of shunning the Conservative Party and did not fully understand the details of their nominee’s record, or her potential vulnerabilities…”

Unfortunately, those who forget history are often times bound to repeat it. And this post is just barely scratching the surface on how some local Republican leaders in NY-23 are up to their old antics again this year. The real significance of the Oneida County Coup is that now voters and Republican party activists are willing to speak out against the county leaders who got us into this similar mess with Scozzafava in 2009. And I’m being told that those Republican activists are not willing to go down without making a stink about the sausage making factories that are the local Republican County Committees. These kinds of strong arm tactics and secret endorsement meetings are not the way for Republicans to win elections in 2010.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hillary Clinton or Tiger Woods for SCOTUS?

Call me crazy but I think the President might pick Hillary Clinton as our next nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

A site called Above the Law has some interesting speculation on the candidates Obama might pick. They suggest Clinton's name and noted that "having a penis is a bit of a disadvantage for potential nominees right now." I guess if we take ATL literally that means we can surely rule out Tiger Woods.

But in all seriousness, Clinton might want to take on a new challenge. Besides the fact that I think Clinton is bored at the State Department, what really makes me think Clinton might want this position is that she is hyper-political and is unwilling pass up the opportunity. She is hyper-political because she moved to New York to run for US Senate. She wanted a name in history. She even ran for president and threw everything she had at Obama. But her time in politics is numbered and she knows it. Remember when Clinton's name was being thrown around for the New York Governor's race -- maybe it was because she knew there would be a few openings on the Supreme Court?

Liberal commentators suggest Clinton would be the perfect nominee for Obama for a number of reasons. Primarily, she is a known quantity that has been vetted by the public because of her presidential run, her role as a US Senator and first lady. How could any Senator reasonably beat up on one of their former colleagues? She was confirmed by the Senate for her position as Secretary of State with a vote of 94-2. Obama would effectively be neutralizing the polarizing Supreme Court battle we are traditionally used to, while buying himself some political capital and breathing room.

Second, by nominating Clinton to the Supreme Court Obama could effectively cross her off the list as a potential opponent for 2012, which seems unlikely anyways (but better safe then sorry). Third, it would allow Obama to take new control over his foreign policy agenda and replace Clinton with someone he more closely aligns with politically. If Clinton were nominated and passed the Senate she would be the first woman to serve in all three branches of government. What a place in history! The one major drawback to Obama would be Clinton's age, but she is in good health.

One could also make a case that with Obama's low approval numbers he doesn't want to start a fight with the Republicans over a controversial nominee right before the 2010 elections. And while Obama could use some greater outreach to female voters, I'm not sure he is looking to do it the Tiger Woods way. And besides, Hillary Clinton better represents the "empathy standard" Obama proposes for his judges even if Tiger Woods does win another Master Tournament this weekend.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NY-23 GOP Primary Race Starts Today

Paul Maroun has made it public that he is out of the race for NY-23. That leaves two candidates for the GOP primary in NY-23. Doug Hoffman and Matt Doheny, who today is "officially announcing" his entrance into the race. His campaign website, www.dohenyforcongress.com, is still under construction, but I am sure it will be up in no time.

Mayor Graham says he is hoping for a William Jennings Bryan pitchfork speech where Doheny will promise not to "crucify us upon a cross of gold," a reference to the July 9, 1896 speech at the Democratic National Convention where Bryan essentially promised "free Obama bucks" (in those days silver coins) to artificially increase inflation so that freeloaders could pay back their mortgages on rocky farm land. Believe it or not, the Democrats thought it was trendy to be populist and down with Big Government back in the late 19th Century, too.

Forgetting for a moment that the silver-to-gold ratio policy was a Big Government precursor to today's bailouts and Pelosi stimulus dollars, I still don't believe that Doheny has the rhetorical repertoire or the policy knowledge to make a populist case for the Republican nomination. The mayor is right though in his assessment that Doheny needs to catch lightening in a bottle and gin up the grassroots. But if I had to guess the jabs of red meat the Mayor will hear will be directed mainly at Owens for his vote on health care and card check.

But herein lies the problem: Doheny is not capable of making the populist case for supply-side economics or defeating the old establishment guard, which is what he would need to do if he wants to win. That's Hoffman's conservative turf and its an unfamiliar arena for a Wall-Street Banker-Lawyer like Doheny to seriously contend in. If Doheny attacks Hoffman it will likely be on the issue of Hoffman not promising to commit to the winner of the GOP primary in September. But there is an easy and reasonable response to that line of attack which I am surprised nobody has been talking about. The response is simple -- the winner needs to win the respect of the voters, not the other candidates.

There was an interesting quote I read in a recent article on the Republican primary for the Iowa Governor race that compares similarly to Hoffman's strategic decision to not commit to supporting the Republican nominee in NY-23 race. For background, Bob Vander Platts, a Hoffman conservative, is running in the GOP primary for Governor against former Governor Terry Branstad, an establishment Republican. Vander Platts, like Doug Hoffman, has been noncommittal about supporting whoever wins the GOP nod in Iowa. Vander Platts says, "Whoever wins the nomination needs to authentically earn the support of his peers... blind allegiances [to party] really play out in taking another candidate's base of support for granted, and I don't think any one of us can afford that."

That statement is very true and is something the Republican party in NY-23 should seriously reflect upon in the coming weeks ahead. Blind allegiances, smoke and mirror politics, and back room deals are no longer accepted practice in politics today. Voters want humility, transparency, a candidate who sides with the people instead of with the media, a fresh candidate like Hoffman.

Candidates like Doheny and establishment Republican guru's have no business making threats, or taking entire blocks supporter for granted, whether they be ideological groups of people, geographic regions or counties, or otherwise. And if you thought 2009 was the year of the grassroots insurgency in NY-23 just wait until the fall. 2010 is the year of the Tea Party and the grassroots Republican-Conservative majority. May the best candidate of the people win, and may the winning campaign not bury the voters under fragile stones encrypted with broken promises.

Monday, March 29, 2010

NY-23 GOP Chairs Realize It's Hoffman or Owens

Today the Watertown Daily Times has another piece up about Doug Hoffman having the Conservative line for the 2010 NY-23 congressional race. It's a great story for Doug, but I can't help but think the Watertown Daily Times is beating a dead horse. We have read this same story about 100 times over the past few months and it hasn't changed a thing -- Hoffman is running for Congress whether the local Republican leaders sitting in the Ivory Tower want him to or not. This fact was so obvious to Assemblyman Will Barclay that he dropped out of the race for NY-23 because he recognized he couldn't win so long as Doug Hoffman was at the table.

Nancy Martin, the St. Lawrence County GOP Chair, may be the smartest of the Republican bunch who understands that the Republican Party now has an important choice to make. Today she stated clearly that, "Our primary objective is to beat Bill Owens. We can't do that with a split between the Republican line and the Conservative line." And as long as people like Martin continue to concede defeat to Owens unless the Republican and Conservative lines are merged, that means the Republican Party only has two options.

The choice is clear: Republican leaders can run with Doug Hoffman and unite the Republican and Conservative parties to beat Democrat Bill Owens, or they can pick Matt Doheny, a moderate carpetbagger, and know they are handing a victory to Owens. It took poor Don Coon, the Jefferson County GOP Chair, until today to say what Republicans everywhere in NY-23 are thinking. He said simply, "Put Doug Hoffman on the line -- or lose... the fix is in." In fairness Donald Coon doesn't like his choice, but at least he is being honest in his assessment.

The Republican chairs know Hoffman is running and they can't legally stop him from doing so. That's a beautiful thing for American democracy. Does the Republican Party really have any business in telling someone whether they can or can't run as a Conservative anyways? Do the NY-23 Republican leaders want to be remembered as the clan who gave Owens his path to victory in 2010 after having voted for ObamaCare twice?

The holdouts like James Ellis, the Franklin County GOP chair, should just give up their crusade to tear down Hoffman by saying things like, "If you choose otherwise (i.e. Matt Doheny), Doug Hoffman is going to make sure the GOP candidate loses." That's some great spin by Ellis, but does he think voters are stupid? People know that what Ellis is really saying is, "If we pick someone other than Hoffman we are most likely going to lose and it will be all our fault, but I don't want to take the blame so I am setting up Hoffman to be the fall guy."

What Ellis needs to understand is that a lot of people want Hoffman to run as a Conservative if he doesn't run on both party lines. There are a lot of people who would be infuriated with Hoffman if he abandoned the very people who have donated, volunteered, and supported him over the last several months. It's not so hard to understand Hoffman's position when you think it through. It just makes you wonder if Ellis wants Owens to win because he has an ulterior motive.

What Martin and Coon are willing to admit, but what Ellis still refuses to accept, is that Doug Hoffman out-played them in this technical game we call politics. And because Hoffman has the people on his side, he has no reason to abandon them or the Conservative Party. Hoffman is looking to win by addition. Hoffman haters want to force him into losing (and by extension themselves) by subtraction. No one can credibly blame Hoffman for his decision because it is, in fact, the only winning strategy.

Those who don't understand it, or refuse to accept it, just need to get over themselves because the race will be won by Hoffman or Owens. And if the race for NY-23 turns into a 3-way race and you are unhappy with the result look no further than James Ellis and the other holdouts in his tiny corner. The choice is clear and Republicans get to make it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Owens Gives Away His Vote to Pelosi & Betrays the People of NY-23

Today, the race for NY-23 just lost another candidate, incumbent Congressman Bill Owens, who told Nancy Pelsoi she could have his vote for Bigger Government this morning. Owens made his decision before he even finished reading the bill. You can read Owens' justification here. When you read it you almost have to wonder whether Owens' staff could write it with a straight face. At least now we really know how liberal Owens is, and now we know he is more liberal than his Democratic colleague, Michael Arcuri, who said he is voting no tomorrow.

I must admit that there was never actually any doubt in my mind about where Owens stood on this issue, but some people thought he would at least listen to his constituents and realize that a large majority of people are against this plan. But Owens chose a partisan path and people are continuing to ask themselves, "Where are the jobs and how will our state survive?" With his decision today, Owens basically just told every person who called him, visited him, wrote him or met with his staff to go bug off. So tomorrow Owens is voting to spend your tax dollars on the bribes we wrote about earlier this week: the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, the Gator-Aid and the Husky Hospital. But what did Owens get for NY-23? He got a commitment from Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama for some extra campaign cash and union assistance this coming November.

Saying, "the math is sound on this bill," Owens continues to claim that this bill will lower premiums and that Medicare beneficiaries will see their coverage improve. Both of these statements are patently false though. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office makes it clear that this bill requires 10 years of tax increases and 10 years of Medicare cuts to pay for just 6 years of benefits. The American people don't want this bill and they realize that 10 years of payments are not worth just 6 years of benefits. They know there is a better way -- a bipartisan way. You can ask the Democratic Whip of the United States Senate who spoke very clearly on these issues: Medicare cuts and premium increases. Senator Durbin confirms that the Medicare program will be cut. In the second video clip, he also confirms that your premiums will rise.

After you see a fellow Democrat expose Bill Owens on these issues ask yourself if this Big Government take-over is the right thing for our health care system, our children and our grandchildren. Do we want to bankrupt the Medicare program and tax our middle class to pay for a government take-over of our health care system? Ask yourself if you want to continue down this path of reckless spending and higher taxes. We should shelve this bill and start fresh. We can do that just as soon as we shelve Bill Owens and put someone else in his office to do the job of the people. Remember this weekend this coming November.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Facts About ObamaCare That Will Scare You

Special deals, higher premiums, massive taxes, unfair mandates, soaring deficits, lack of transparency, deal-making, job-killer... Those are just some of the terms that have been used to describe this massive government takeover in the health care industry over the past few weeks. The fact remains, the bill before the House this weekend is not good for NY-23.

This health care bill over the next decade will tax the American public for 10 years, but we will only see 6 years of benefits. That's like buying a car and paying it off over four years and then getting your car. Who does that? And who wants the government to run our health care system that way? Several Democrats in Congress have even admitted that when this bill passes health care premiums will rise. Ask any private practice doctor how they feel about government intrusion into our health care system, and they will tell you that it just doesn't work. Most health care patients agree that they want their doctor to make their decisions about health care, not a politician in Congress or a Big Government bureaucrat.

On top of that, this bill includes a ton of special deals for other states and districts, but New York as a whole gets left out in the cold. Congressman Bill Owens' Democrat colleague, Michael Arcuri, in NY-24 is voting against the bill because he said small businesses would be negatively affected and that economic and job growth would suffer immensely. The ObamaCare bill, according the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office assumes that 8 million employees will lose their insurance coverage. That assumption is derived from the thought that employers will save money by taking a government penalty or fee to drop their employer sponsored health insurance. The Wall Street Journal also believes this bill will be a job killer and a tax-hiker. Once employees are forced off their employers plan, everyday Americans will be pushed in a plan that rations care to save costs for the government. The New York Times admitted that much in this piece this week.

As things stand today, Medicaid repayments are currently assessed against certain applicants. But what is worse is that under this new plan, Medicaid and Medicare will place tax leins against capital gains from sales of assets like homes, snowmobiles, ATVs, cars, land, jewelry and other physical property. One implication of the House passing the Senate health care bill is that thousands of property owners in upstate and central New York will be forced onto the expanded Medicaid. People with low-to-mid income levels who may own hereditary property, 2nd cars, collections, ATV's and other properties will likely wind up having those things taken away from them.

That is an outrage because many people in Northern New York rely on earned income credit tax credits every spring to get their houses painted, pay for the car repairs and other credits. However, with the changes in the taxation status of the health benefits from their employers, many low-to-mid income families in NY-23 may very well find themselves move out of their tax brackets, resulting in a lot of people getting tagged for more taxes to the fed.

But ObamaCare won't just tax individuals and employers if they don't comply with these heavy mandates. New reports are showing that the IRS will begin taxing everyday products to continue to pay for the health overhaul. Medical devices, prescription drugs and other health benefits and services will be considered fair-play for new taxes by the federal government. These are just some of the facts that ordinary Americans didn't want to hear. Just wait until we finally find out everything else in the 2,400+ page bill that surely stands to bankrupt the federal government. A vote for health care is a vote for higher taxes, fewer benefits, higher premiums and bigger deficits.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is Bill Owens More Liberal Than Michael Arcuri?

Congressman Michael Arcuri of NY-24 is a sophomore Democratic House member who represents the district just south of NY-23. Today Arcuri went public that he is against Big Government ObamaCare. Just like Owens, Arcuri was a yes vote last year. You can see Arcuri's reasons here. Arcuri says, "I have talked to small business owners from Herkimer to Geneva who desperately needs health care reform but, uniformly, they tell me this new proposal will hurt them and their employees across the board. I've listened to my constituents and have heard their concerns clearly."

This puts incredible pressure on Bill Owens, who is still undecided on how he will vote. NY-23 and NY-24 are similar districts demographically and politically. The people of NY-24 don't want a government take-over of health care just like the people of NY-23 don't want it. And now the public is learning about the sweetheart deals in this bill that benefit other states. The Senate health care bill that the House is preparing to vote for on Sunday contains the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Gator-Aid and the Husky Hospital. On top of that it cuts Medicare for seniors by more than half a trillion dollars, uses the taxing-power of the federal government to pay for other people's abortions and adds new mandates and taxes on individuals and small businesses. New Yorkers are already saddled with huge debts and we are sick of the lack of transparency in government.

Here is a brief analysis of the avalanche of sleazy deals that is killing this bill:

The Cornhusker Kickback: A Nebraska Senator got a special deal where no one in his state would ever have to pay Medicaid taxes ever again. In exchange for a critical Senate vote, Nebraska's Medicaid costs would be paid for by the other 49 states. That is included in the 2,400+ page Senate bill all the House members will be voting on.

The Louisiana Purchase: A Louisiana Senator got $300+ million for new medical projects in exchange for her vote to pass the Senate bill. That $300+ million would come from taxpayers in the other 49 states.

The Gator-Aid: Somehow Florida, the Gator state, was able to keep the Medicare Advantage program for its almost 1 million seniors. No other state in the union would keep the Medicare Advantage benefits many seniors across the country rely upon. If this bill passes the House on Sunday, seniors in NY-23 will lose their Medicare Advantage benefits, but Florida seniors will keep theirs.

The Husky Hospital: The Senate bill has $100 million allocated for a new hospital in Connecticut, paid for by taxpayers across the country. Why doesn't NY-23 get its own new hospital?

On top of those hand-outs, Obama and Pelosi are sweetening the deal for other members of Congress to get this thing passed at the 11th hour. Human Events reported on these goodies today: "Rep. Bart Godron (D-Tenn.) who announced his retirement from Congress has been promised the job of NASA administrator in exchange for his vote, and Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), another retiring Democrat, has been promised an appointment as U.S. Ambassador to NATO in exchange for his vote." Ask Owens what he got for NY-23, besides the bill for the taxpayers and some campaign contributions from Obama and company. Ask him if he is going to vote for the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Gator-Aid and the Husky Hospital for Connecticut.

Why would someone elected to represent our interests vote for our tax dollars to go to special deals in other states? Does Bill Owens really expect the voters of NY-23 to forgive him if he votes to make us pay federal taxes that go to benefit other states, but not our own? Right now the whip count stands at 205-202 in favor of the good guys. Owens is still undecided and to pass the Big Government take-over Obama needs 216 votes.

Watch the 90-second video below, which describes the whole process with some humor, and ask yourself why Bill Owens is more liberal than the Democrats south of NY-23. So much for hope and change. The only change NY-23 should be looking for is Owens to change his vote on health care. Our freshman congressman, Bill Owens, should follow his neighbor Michael Arcuri's lead on this big issue.

Bill Owens' Silence Will be Broken Soon

You just can't pin some people down for whatever reason. Congressman Bill Owens is considered a major swing vote on the huge health care bill that will result in a government take-over of almost 1/5th of the American economy, and he won't say where he stands. If you are wondering why Owens hasn't made a decision yet we might have an answer for you - politics.

A campaign organized by national Republicans called Code Red that is tallying the votes says our congressman is going to vote yes, but there is no public record anywhere that shows Owens as a committed yes vote for Obamacare, yet. The real reason why Owens doesn't have a public statement on Obamacare: he doesn't want to go on record either way, he thinks he can keep all sides happy.

A commentator at National Review quotes John Fund from the Wall Street Journal who wrote, "Rounding up the votes for health care has also proven difficult. House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn told McClatchy Newspapers that final consideration of the bill may not occur until Easter (April 4) or later. He is dealing with dozens of members who refuse to commit to a firm position in hopes their silence will force the leadership to pull the bill and move on to other issues. 'Just say nothing,' is how one Democratic staffer explained the strategy being taken by many members. 'Maybe it will just go away, and we can avoid a tough vote this close to the election.'"

Initially, the deadline for passage was March 18th. Now it looks like we might see a vote on Sunday or early next week. How is that for courage? It makes you wonder why Bill Owens voted for health care last year. Could it be that the Obama administration offered him a quid pro quo? Promise to vote for health care and we will raise you some money and campaign in NY-23. Promise to vote for health care and we will get you Dede Scozzafava's endorsement by offering her a cozy job in the administration or in the state government when Cuomo becomes Governor.

Bill Owens has gone radio silent on the biggest domestic issue in a generation. An editorial in the Wall Street Journal summed it up nicely here. The writer, Fred Barnes, believes, "America will be in a constant health-care war if ObamaCare is enacted. Passage wouldn't end the health-care debate. Rather, it would perpetuate ObamaCare as the dominant issue for decades to come, reshape politics, create an annual funding crisis in Congress, and generate a spate of angry lawsuits. Yet few in Washington seem aware of what lies ahead." You can run, but you can't do it well with flip-flops.

For those who don't think the health care debate is a big issue have been missing the forest for the trees. The people of NY-23 know that you can't put deodorant on cow manure and call it dirt, and they also know that you can't be silent on this critical issue forever. Holding out and waiting to commit on health care, and potentially coming out to be the deciding vote on either side of this very public debate, may only end up adding greater insult to a great, great injury.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bill Owens Wearing Flip-Flops in March???

Congressman Bill Owens just found his name on a list he really does not want to be on. An AP article linked on the Drudge Report lists Owens as a top-tier, vulnerable target among a group of candidates which grassroots activists think they can flip from a yes to a no vote on health care reform. The news confirms the poll on Newzjunky.com this week showing over 70% of people against the bill. What Owens now knows is that the people, by wide margins, don't want this government take-over of health care. A group of Tea-Party activists even stood outside of his campaign office in Watertown with homemade signs to make the point loud and clear.

For Owens, you are damned if you do and you are damned if you don't. The problem is Owens put himself in this moldy political sandwich because he broke his own campaign promise and voted for health care the day after he was sworn into office. He has made himself a national symbol of the Democrats 2,400+ page health care reform package. In fairness, Owens owed his first vote for health care reform to Pelosi, Obama and company because the administration campaigned hard for him last fall.

Unfortunately for Owens, the unions and the Obama machine are threatening to withhold a campaign visit and political money to any Democrat who refuses to vote in favor of socialized medicine. The unions and some liberal interest groups are even threatening to push a challenger into races if incumbents like Owens vote against the Senate version of the health care bill this week. The Working Family's Party would certainly have to withdraw their support of Owens.

The best Owens can hope for is to try and convince the House leadership to shelve this health care bill so he doesn't have to go on record again. That's a long shot, and despite the pressure from the left we are predicting that it won't be long until you see Congressman Bill Owens wearing flip-flops around NY-23 in late March. On a positive note at least the newest member of Congress will be trying his first pair of sandals on in DC and not Plattsburgh.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

While Leaving NY-23 Race Will Barclay Beats Up on Political Cynicism

Assemblyman Will Barclay got out of the race for NY-23 tonight. The main theme that Barclay leaves us with is that he did not want to skirt his "duty" to the New York State Assembly which is currently in disarray. In an e-mail message sent out to supporters tonight Barclay took a hard shot at what he describes as the cynicism of politics.

Barclay eloquently wrote, "I fully expect and resign myself to accepting that my citing duty as the reason for my decision will be dismissed by some, perhaps by many, with cynical comments. So be it... It was, I freely admit, very tempting to excuse myself from the ever worsening woes of Albany." That kind of open and honest dialogue is what voters are longing for in today's politics. It was a theme the former candidate could have utilized earlier on in his bid to gain traction for the Republican nomination.

For sure Barclay's decision to leave the race for NY-23 is a bit of an indication of how hard it is to compete against a populist, conservative Republican juggernaut in Doug Hoffman and a self-financing Banker-Lawyer from Manhattan in Matt Doheny. Regardless, Barclay may still have a very bright future in politics and What's Up NY-23 wants to wish Mr. Barclay the best in his effort to represent the people of the 124th Assembly district in Albany.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Call Bill Owens & Tell Him NY-23 is the People's Seat, Not Obama & Pelosi's

The White House self-imposed Thursday, March 18th, as the date when the House should vote for the Senate version of the health care reform bill. That doesn’t mean the President or the folks in the House won’t move the goal posts again, but it is a pretty safe bet that the end of March is last battle cry for the Democrats to carry on this looney tune fantasy to socialize our medicine.

The conventional thinking goes like this: expect that the House will be taking up the Senate-passed health care reform bill any day now. This bill is not good for Northern and Central New York. If you are reading this blog then we expect that you should already know the reasons why. It costs $2.5 trillion and for what? It will not create a single job for a single person in NY-23. It will increase our debt. Seniors will lose their Medicare Advantage plans. Your money will go to pay for other people’s abortions. Washington bureaucrats will be getting between you and your doctor and their meddling will have a significant impact on the health care delivery options you are entitled to. Premiums will go up. Rural hospitals and health centers will be consolidated. Medical liability will continue to drive up costs, resulting in less access for patients and fewer incentives for better-trained medical professionals to enter the health care field.

The whole thing is a precursor to Bigger and Bigger and Bigger government. Ladies and gentlemen, this is simply not what we signed up for. Now is the time to tell Washington.

Can anyone talk to Congressman Bill Owens about this, please? Ask him why he is still undecided. Ask him how many jobs this monstrosity will create. Ask him how he expects our children and our grandchildren to pay for the costs. Ask him why he wants to take our money to pay for abortions. Ask him if he is so concerned with our debt why he wants to spend more money on a government run system that would force small businesses to comply with new bureaucratic red-tape or else face fines and new taxes. Ask him why he is so in the bag for Obama and Pelosi.

There is only one solution to this nightmare: we must start over and work out a bipartisan solution. Tell Congressman Bill Owens, who voted for the House Health Care Reform bill when he was first elected to office last year, that we need his help. Even though he lied about his true position to the people of NY-23 on the campaign trail he is now evolving on this issue. If Owens gets enough pressure from his constituents we can make a difference. In recent news reports Owens says he might flip-flop on health care. Tell Owens that just because he owes his seat to Pelosi and Obama who raised him buckets of money last year, the NY-23 seat is still the people's seat. Afterall, Owens does have to answer to us next fall.

You can call his DC office today at 202-225-4611. You can call his Watertown office at 315-782-3150. You can call his Plattsburgh office at 518-563-1406. You can call his Mayfield office at 518-661-6486. And you can call his Canastota office at 315-875-5115. Then you can e-mail his office by going to this link. And if you really want to make sure he gets the message you can e-mail his campaign aide, Gary Whidby, at gary@billowensforcongress.com. Ask Owens to go public in the news. Demand that he represent the people of NY-23 instead of Obama and Pelosi. This bill is bad, but we don't even know all the problems that are in it because even the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, doesn't even know everything that is in it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hoffman Shows His Cards

Posted at the top of NewzJunky.com is a link showing Doug Hoffman now in the race for NY-23. That would make Hoffman the first Republican in NY-23 to actually quit dancing around the district, testing the water temperature with just his toes. And to highlight his independent streak, Hoffman comes out of the gate as a uniter seeking three different political lines. It appears that the congressional hopeful is taking the gloves off and wants to show people he is serious. It is a bold move to be the first candidate to enter these rough political waters and by going first, it shows that Hoffman really wants it.

However, the big question remains as to whether the GOP establishment will be amendable to accepting Doug Hoffman as their Republican nominee. He is now putting himself out there, asking for their support and has put all of his cards down on the table. And by the looks of things Hoffman isn't bluffing. He has a good hand of cards and a groundswell of Republican, Conservative and Independent grassroots voters backing him. But insiders believe the GOP County Chairs in NY-23, who picked Dede Scozzafava last year, are apprehensive about giving this political newcomer, who won over 46% of the district buried on line D last year, a chance on their ballot.

Now as Kenny Rogers would say, "for a taste of your whiskey I will give some advice..."and this advice is for the 11 Republican county chairs to seriously consider: How will you feel if your leadership provokes a messy and fractured Republican primary that agitates the competition so much that it allows Bill Owens to win in November? And how will the county chairs feel if the Republican Party misses taking back the majority of the US House of Representatives by one Republican vote because of a loss in NY-23? The advice I give to you is simply the moto that Kenny Rogers gives to all of us in life: "You've got to know when to hold 'em, you've got to know when the fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run. You never count your money when your sitting at the table. There will be time enough for counting, when the dealings done."

And there is an old proverb that politics knows no humility. But maybe that is the characteristic most needed in our political conversation as we move closer to the 2010 elections. Maybe if we look for humility instead of looking at people as problems, we will be successful as Republicans. Maybe if we look to the future instead of the past, we can find hope again. Maybe if we look through the rhetoric and the spin, we will find true leadership. Doug Hoffman is clearly looking to unite a movement that could change the course of politics throughout NY-23 all the way down the ballot to the most local of races for the Republican Party. He deserves that opportunity and he deserves the chance to earn our respect and our vote. Lets give him that benefit at the outset.

He proved something to Mayor Graham today. Just a few weeks ago Mayor Graham of the great City of Watertown said that the first candidate to show he had the guts to get into the mix would gain an advantage locally because people want to see passion instead of political posturing. Doug can now say he took Mayor Graham up on that challenge. While there is no doubt that other credible and worthy challengers will emerge in this contest for the Republican nomination soon, it is well known that to build a winning coalition in the expansive and rural 23rd, it takes time, money and hard work to earn the people's trust. Hoffman is first out of the gate and he even has a new website.

In addition, this week seems like this is a good week to make the formal announcement considering a recent New York poll showed most New Yorkers are ashamed of the recent political scandals that have rocked our state. It is a swipe at incumbency and the old style business of politics. No one wants to see how the sausage is made, but we are seeing everything out in the open recently.

According to the poll, "Seventy percent of voters agreed that New York has never been more dysfunctional, and by a 54% to 41% margin, voters also say that what's going on in Albany makes them "embarrassed" to call themselves New Yorkers." Add that poll to a list of political grassroots frustration emerging from the Paterson and Massa scandals, and dissatisfaction with federal spending and the health care push-through happening in Washington, and you can see the potential for a populist uprising in support of a candidate like Hoffman.

Stepping forward with a strong economic message may be good politics, but going first also has its clear disadvantages. Watch for competing campaigns to come out swinging. But landing a solid punch could prove difficult for any would-be competitor, especially at this early juncture. Hoffman has his cards down on the table and now it is time for the rest of competition to show their cards. They have got to know when to hold em and know when to fold em, when to walk away, and know when to run. The money is on the table. Who is in this game to win it?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Did Vaugh Plagiarize Doheny or did Doheny Plagiarize Vaugh?

File this post under the "you can't make this stuff up" bookmark because it is bizarre. Read the two statements below from Nick Vaugh, running for the 118th Assembly district, and Matt Doheny, running for the 23rd congressional seat held by Bill Owens, and then tell me someone isn't plagiarizing.

Nick Vaugh's Fundraising Appeal to Republicans Posted on NewzJunky.com on March 4, 2010:

"I owe my values and success to my family. My mother and father along with my grandfather taught me firsthand the dignity of hard work, the sanctity of family, and the value of service to the community. It is with these values that I seek your assistance in representing the citizens of the 118th Assembly District and the rest of New York. It is with these values and experience I will aggressively work to create an economic environment in which businesses and families can thrive."

Matt Doheny's Letter to Local Republican Committee Members Dated January 21, 2010:

"The value of hard work in the North Country, the sanctity of family and the importance of service to the community was passed down to Matt at a young age directly from his parents. It is these values and the values that he learned from his work in the private sector that Matt will use to represent the citizens of the 23rd Congressional District."

These two paragraphs sound like outright plagiarism to us. And it appears that either Vaugh and Doheny are brothers, or one of them copied the other's campaign materials. Notice the terms that are intimately woven into each candidate's perspective biographies, words like: values, hard work, sanctity of family and service to the community. This could create a major problem for each candidate and they need to be honest with the voters about their backgrounds instead of spouting off vague, cookie-cutter generalizations and near verbatim wording. The website Famous Plagiarists.com sums the seriousness of this political foul on their site:
"A proven accusation of plagiarism can have serious repercussions for a candidate's political ambitions. Just ask Joe Biden. His borrowing of a British politician's campaign speech is perhaps the most famous instance of political plagiarism... This P-word sums up a number of qualities with which no successful politician would want to be assocaited: in-authentic, shortsighted, manipulable (by speechwriters), dishonest, criminal, deceitful, and so on... And if the plagiarism charges stick, the accused is forever tainted, corrupted, and sullied with the justly deserved stigma surrounding such reprehensible behavior. Even if the speechwriter is the real culprit! ["Your speechwriter did it?--yeah, right."]"
And there is a precedent for plagiarism among North Country politicians that never goes over well. Remember when Darrel Aubertine plagiarized a bill that his colleague, State Senator Elizabeth Little, wrote last year? A few weeks after Little had submitted a bill in early 2009 to regulate block-voting rights among co-ops in the New York milk market, Aubertine introduced near similar language amending the state agriculture and markets law. In a classic response to Aubertine, Senator Little took to the floor of the State Senate and said Aubertine's bill was essentially something she could support because she had already introduced it (the video can be found at the end of this post in case you missed the exchange). You may also remember this second instance of plagiarism by Aubertine reported by the Gouverneur Times.

The reason why today's instance of political plagiarism is particularly offensive is because each candidate involved in this scandal used language to describe the values and character they inherited from each of their respective families. It is fine to talk about your core values on the campaign trail and in your written correspondence, but in doing so you should never resort to copying another politician's rhetoric. Beyond sounding unoriginal, it raises questions about one's ethics and personal competence. And to borrow unoriginal language about the values handed down to you by your parents is just lame and embarrassing.

Voters expect candidates to be open and honest about their backgrounds. And this violation raises larger questions for each candidate because it is a safe bet that neither Doheny nor Vaugh will want to be associated with Democratic State Senator Darrel Aubertine for plagiarizing. Will Vaugh and Doheny clear the air with a public statement, an explanation or an apology?