Republicans: It's Only Bad When You Do It

Erin Kelly has a story in today's Democrat and Chronicle and Star-Gazette detailing Republican attacks on Eric Massa for accepting corporate contributions.

Here's a choice quote from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which apparently never touches odious corporate money: "It didn't take long for Eric Massa to get comfortable with the way Washington Democrats operate."



Remember the Mantra "Change". The Republicans did not run on it. Massa did. I really have no problem with him taking corporate money. I expected him to do a 180 once he got elected. His opponent canuse it in the next election and lets hope every town hall he does it comes up as a question.

The only thing I disagree with is that his opponent can use it effectively. How does that work?

"Eric Massa is just like me -- he takes corporate contributions"

"Eric Massa: His corporate money is dirty, but mine isn't"

I do find it interesting that Massa won without Corporate PAC money, his opponent did have it. He criticized him for it and won the election. Now he believes that he can't win without it and complains it's not a fair playing field. Didn't he just win with exactly that playing field? Didn't he just prove that you can win without Corporate PAC even when your opponent has it? He has shown that he is not a person of change and is not different.

"He has shown that he is not a person of change and is not different."

This will be proven by more than one act, of course.

Yes and this is a pretty big act. Obama proved this works by not taking public money. His massive war chest allowed him to dwarf McCain. While McCain stuck to his beliefs. (although I do not know if McCain could have raised it anyways he was always weak at fund raising). Obama after three weeks in office has shown he has more than a few bad acts.

So now Eric Massa is in office and that clever stunt like personality of going to the people that elected you that helped get him there and overcome any disadvantage needs to be changed with one that is bought and paid for. Interesting because when we debated over his stunts, I had a degree of admonition that you were right, while silly they probably would not have hurt him and played right, they could help him. But a sellout to the evil ones that he condemned is a little different and takes more than a little luster of his shiny new Armour.

There are two parts to beat an incumbent MoC:

1. Show that he's not representing his district to those who are persuadable. This involves personality/integrity and ideology.

The key point here is that the corporate donation issue is something that means more to Massa's core supporters than it does to a Republican or Independent. In other words, there are few who will be persuaded to change their vote based on the corporate donations alone. Those donations have to be linked to anti-representative behavior. That link is missing at the moment. Massa's first corporate donations were from firms in the district. That's a big "so what".

I believe what persuaded those who changed their vote from Massa to Kuhl was that Massa linked Kuhl's corporate contributions to votes against the interests of those in the district. Specifically, Kuhl took a lot of money from big financial institutions and flipped around on the TARP vote, which was unpopular.

2. Provide a candidate who has better integrity and supports an ideology more suited to the persuadables in the district.

Again, if you're going to go hammer and tongs against corporate donations, you're going to damage your candidate, who will presumably accept them.

I think you're being too simplistic, Rottenchester. Massa was elected by independents, and they are finicky. I'm one of them, a slightly right-of-center independent who switched from Kuhl to Massa and now regret it because I see this move as complete duplicity and lack of integrity. And this isn't Massa's only 'big switch' -- lest we forget he was a raging Republican and who voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Where are Mr. Massa's principles? Apparently now at the doorstep of the highest bidder. And you assume that his GOP rival will take PAC's. We don't know if that's the case yet.

Also, the former top staffer for Kuhl and Amo is now working at the college I go to in the district as a Senior VP. It was pretty big news out in the Western part of the district. I wonder if he has political aspirations?

Of course, there's a whole book to be written about how to get elected as a MoC, so a comment on a blog like this is going to be, by its nature, overly simplistic.

That said, my simple (though, I think, reasonable) point is that you need to offer an alternative in addition to convincing voters that Massa has lost his way. So, no matter how bad Massa's decision to accept corporate money is, it exists in a vacuum until Massa has an opponent.

If you are going to switch from voting for Massa in November, 2008 to "anybody but Massa" in February, 2009, I think you're not typical of the average switch voter. That's no judgment on the wisdom of your decision, but I think there are a fair number who are willing to give Massa a little more time to prove himself.

I agree that there are certainly many scenarios where Massa's GOP opponent doesn't accept corporate PAC money. I don't think any of them are very interesting, because all of them concern an underfunded, sure loser opponent. A Republican needs $2 million to be competitive in this race. The only PACs with that kind of money who give to Republicans are corporate PACS.

Are you saying that Bob VanWicklin moved back to the district?

Good points. I know you're an apologist and supporter of Massa so I understand that you would want to understate this a bit, and maybe it doesn't matter to diehard Massa supporters, but I'm just trying to say that as soon as people heard about this it was more than just an eyeroll and "oh, those crazy politicians..." -- the reactions seem more visceral, like people felt like they were sold a bill of goods and cheated (then again it's Valentine's Day and there are a lot of lonely, angry, cheated on people out there so maybe they're just projecting...). If the election were next month it would be a huge issue. Two years from now, who knows. My take is that he was elected by Independents who were voting more for Obama than Massa. Without Obama running but with the Paterson, Schumer and Gillibrand running with him I'm sure it will be interesting. Would be great if Obama visited upstate to help!

Yes, its Vanwicklin. I saw articles in Olean Times and I think the Buffalo News, maybe Wellsville but couldn't find anything about it online. Didn't say anything about political aspirations I was just wondering about it.

Actually, I think corporate financing matters to diehard Massa supporters more than most. They are probably more invested in Massa's "goodness" (as defined by not taking corporate donations) than run-of-the-mill Massa supporters. However, they're not going to vote for a Republican under any circumstances, so he can alienate them now and make up next year.

I'm afraid I can't buy into your Obama coattails theory. Obama lost every county in the 29th but Monroe, and Massa carried Cattco and Chemung. In other words, it's the opposite of your claim: people voting for McCain split their ticket to vote for Massa (or chose not to cast a vote for Kuhl).

That said, I agree that the dynamics of 2010 will be far different from 2008. Off-year turnout is always much lower than Presidential year turnout.

I don't know if VanWicklin has political aspirations. He needs to learn how to raise money in order to do that.

I don't think voters care much about financing of campaigns. Maybe they should, but they don't.

How about this: they don't care about one source of money over another, because they think it's all dirty.

That sounds about right.