Archive (2008)

Evening News: More Suffering, Endorsements, Calls

The 13-WHAM has posted their story about Kuhl's "suffer" comment.

Reader Tom sends the City Newspaper endorsement of Eric Massa. City also has a profile of the 29th race.

Finally, Tom also sent this item from Politico which contains an e-mail soliciting DC-area Republicans to make phone bank calls. Randy Kuhl makes the top ten, with 338 calls.

13-WHAM is All About the Suffering

Evan Dawson and Sean Carroll at 13-WHAM are working the suffering story. Evan has two posts (here and here).

Kuhl's interview on the remarks will be played tonight on the 13-WHAM broadcast. His spokeswoman, Meghan Tisinger, didn't take back Kuhl's statement this afternoon.

Evan and Sean are trying to dig into why these remarks surfaced now. I don't know the answer to that question, but the reason they're an issue now is pretty clear. Colin Powell's Obama endorsement on Meet the Press [video], and his remarks afterward [video] which singled out Michele Bachmann, have been extremely influential.

Powell, the stable center-right voice of rational Republicanism, called out all the haterade we've been seeing. He did it calmly, succintly and with one devastating example. Maybe if you're John McCain, you can stand up to Powell. Rush Limbaugh can say Powell did it because he's black. But if you're Michelle Bachmann, you have one choice: abject apology.

As for Randy Kuhl, I don't think the choice is as clear. His remarks were garden-variety haterade. He didn't say that more than half of the House of Representatives hates America. He just implied it. I think the smart move here is for him to back down and this will go away. My sense is that he's going to push it, and it won't.

Update: Kuhl did not back down. Here's a quote from the just-posted update to one of the WHAM blog posts:

I think it's outlandish to think that a comment that I made 11 weeks ago is the beginning of quote-unquote a trend of my party some two and a half months later. I'd like to think that I had that kind of leadership capability and that I was that much forefront thinking, but not particularly.

I think that one needs a re-think: Is he saying he would rather have been the leader of the stupid brigade, instead of Michele Bachmann?

More from Rahm

Rahm Emmanuel puts Randy Kuhl on the list of Republican Members of Congress who say crazy stuff, and The Hill and Politico pick it up.

Besides Michele Bachmann and Randy Kuhl, the other Congressman on Rahm's list is Robin Hayes [R-NC-8], who said "liberals hate real Americans".

Rahm Comes to Town

Rahm Emmanuel is in town, holding a press conference with Eric Massa about expansion of S-CHIP.

At the press conference, Massa said that "one of the proudest moments of my life will be the day I cast a vote" for S-CHIP expansion. Massa said that 280,000 children in New York would benefit from expansion.

Emmanuel said that S-CHIP was an example of bi-partisan cooperation, citing the 17 Republican Senators and 47 Republican Members of Congress who voted for S-CHIP. He characterized it as a "fully paid-up" program, saying that there's "no doubt" that S-CHIP will be one of the first bills to be voted on in January.

Randy Kuhl has been on the wrong side [of this bill] five times. No issue represents the fundamental difference between Eric Massa and Randy Kuhl more than this one.

I asked both about the issue of S-CHIP coverage in New York, which would move to 400% above the poverty line. This was one of Kuhl's reasons for voting against the bill.

Massa cited a report issued yesterday by the Journal of the American Medical Association saying that children whose parents are at 200-400% of poverty line are not getting healthcare.

Emmanuel said, "These are the kids of working parents. They fall, through no fault of their own, between Medicaid and employers that provide private health care. They make more because they work, so they can't get Medicaid. But where they work doesn't provide health care."

Massa also said that it's likely that not insuring these children ends up costing us money.

What's Really Important About Kuhl's Remarks

Yesterday's press outing of Randy Kuhl's overheated remarks is an interesting comment on the current political climate. That interview happened in August, and nobody made note of it then, mainly because it was pretty standard-issue rhetoric at that time.

Remember August? That's when gas prices were up and the entire fate of America rested on our desire to "Drill Here, Drill Now". Kuhl spoke of a "three-legged stool" of conservation, exploration and new technology, but he hammered away at only one of those legs.

Only Massa mentioned the other factor: the weak dollar. Now that the worldwide financial crisis has caused a flight to T-Bills (and dollars), oil prices have fallen sharply. Check out this graph of the price of oil vs. the dollar, which would be even more striking if it went into October:

We can argue about the other reasons for the lower price of oil, including weakening demand and a calmer market. What isn't up for argument is one fact: drilling had absolutely nothing to do with it.

With the current climate of overheated charges mainly coming from Republicans, Kuhl's rhetoric sounds like another example of the divisive distraction that is so damaging to our politics. Because we're in the midst of a serious financial crisis, media is finally looking hard at politicians who spout haterade instead of solutions, and Kuhl deserves his share of scrutiny.

But let's not forget the reason Kuhl deployed his overheated rhetoric, which was his eager desire to push his leadership's drilling agenda. That agenda was an example of what really hurts our politics: the search for simple-minded, slogan-ready solutions to complex problems. That search is aided and abetted by the stupidity of media types who imply that being "encyclopedic on the issues" is a strike against a candidate.

Morning News: Money and Environment

The current spending in the 29th, including money from party committees, is $1.4 million for Massa vs. $970K for Kuhl.

Randy Kuhl received a 36% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, according to the League of Conservation Voters.


Representative Michelle Bachmann [R-MN-6] said some crazy things about Barack Obama (he's "anti-American") and her house colleagues (the media should find out whether they're "pro-American"). Her comments caused a million dollar fundraising burst for her opponent, and the DCCC is pouring a million more into her race.

Casting around for more Michele Bachmann-like comments, The Hill thinks they found one by Randy Kuhl, made at the 13-WHAM debate on October 10th to 13-WHAM in an interview:

I firmly believe the Democratic majority wants the American public to suffer and to hurt so that they can make some political gains at election time, and I think that’s wrong.

Politico thinks this is significant enough to be called the play of the day.

Update: Exile at The Albany Project has the video. It's from an old interview with Kuhl, conducted in August.

More Endorsements

Reader Elmer noticed that Eric Massa was endorsed by American Hunters and Shooters.

The Star-Gazette also reports that Randy Kuhl was endorsed by Monroe County Town Supervisors, who are all Republicans.

New NRCC Ad, DCCC Mailer

Rochesterturning has scans of the new DCCC mailer, which, like the recent TV ad, highlights free trade.

The NRCC has released their first ad in the 29th district, which is embedded below. The charges in the ad are almost identical to Kuhl's most recent ad. (via The Albany Project)

The Third Man

Sean Carroll at the 13-WHAM blog has a profile of the newly announced write-in candidate in the race.

Evening News: Mailers and Endorsements, Oh My!

The Albany Project has scans of some pro-Massa mailers sent by the Working Families Party.

News 10 has an story asking whether endorsements matter.

Noon News: S-G, M-P and NRCC

Yesterday's Star-Gazette says that the 29th race is going to be a nail-biter.

Exile at The Albany Project found a Messenger-Post story about a write-in candidate in the 29th race.

Finally, it looks like the NRCC dropped some cash on the 29th, in the form of mailers for Kuhl. They've spent less than half ($71K) of what the DCCC has spent ($181K) on the race so far.