Archive (2009)

Twitter Devolution

In researching the last post, I took a look at the new NRCC web page, which is, literally, one web page. It contains the NRCC's Twitter feed, a couple of links to other sites, and pointers to the NRCC's Facebook, YouTube and MySpace sites.

As I noted earlier, the Republican Congressional leadership believes that heavy use of Twitter and other social media will help them re-connect with the public that rejected them. This effort has been full of bloopers, as one would expect when men in their fifties and sixties adopt technology favored by their children.

In my last post on this subject, some readers disagreed with my view that it's the content of the tweets, not the fact that you're tweeting, that's important. If you still doubt my view, take a good, hard look at the NRCC's Twitter feed. At this moment, it's composed almost entirely of criticism of Democrats. There's not a single constructive or positive comment.

The NRCC's Twitter feed tells us what's bad about Democrats. I wonder what organization will tell us what's good about Republicans?

NRCC Radio Ad

Liz Benjamin has the details on a National Republican Congressional Committee radio ad targeting Eric Massa and other Democrats supporting the stimulus. USA Today notes that the ads are launched at a time when there's pretty broad support for the stimulus plan.

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."

Evening Stimulation

The Hornell Evening Tribune reports that Eric Massa and Chuck Schumer still think that there will be enough money in the new stimulus plan to help area schools. WXXI quotes Massa as laying the blame on Republicans. The Buffalo News carries the same lament.

Filthy Lucre

Corporate campaign contributions are just a fact of Congressional life. Members of Congress in competitive seats just don't have the time to do the hands-on fundraising required to finance their campaigns. And corporations are very eager to stuff money into the pockets of Members who sit on the committees that regulate them.

So, in retrospect, it was a bit naive to think that Eric Massa would continue to finance his campaigns without corporate donations. As someone who's never believed that union PACs are any better than corporate PACs, I'm not that concerned with his decision. Moreover, the donations he accepted came from local companies that would have gotten his attention without donating a penny.

Unfortunately for Massa's 2010 Republican opponent, corporate funding is a cornerstone of every Republican Congressional campaign. There's little chance that this will become a campaign issue, and the only people who will be upset about it aren't going to vote for a Republican anyway.

That all said, Eric Massa's decision to take corporate funding is a classic example of chucking out a supposedly heartfelt principle when it is no longer politically expedient. This one seems to have escaped media notice, but a few more like this will constitute a troubling pattern.

Stimulus Stimulates Star-Gazette

The spending in the stimulus bill is detailed in this Star-Gazette story.

Massa Takes Corporate Money

An anonymous commenter who read Eric Massa's most recent FEC filing noted that Massa has started accepting donations from corporate political action committees (PACs).

In the last filing, Massa accepted a total of $7,000 from local companies Genentech, Harris and Time-Warner. Massa's long-standing position in the past two campaigns was that he only accepted money from individuals and Union PACs.

Jared Smith, Communications Director for Massa, confirmed that this is a change in Massa's policy. Smith said that Massa had financed his last two campaigns from individual donations, and that he didn't believe it was fair in this economic climate to expect individuals to donate to his campaign.

Smith also said that Massa continues to support Clean Money/Clean Elections (CMCE), and will co-sponsor CMCE legislation. Massa has also delegated the decision of whether to accept or reject corporate donations to a kitchen cabinet of supporters who will vet each donor.

Sideshow Follies

The D&C reports that Eric Massa, Chris Lee [NY-26] and Dan Maffei [NY-25] all support the Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act.

Opposing Congressional pay has been a sure way to get headlines for decades. Members of Congress are generally hard workers, they have to maintain two residences, and it's better to have them receive decent pay than to be swayed by bribes. If any public offiicial deserves a good salary, it's them. The pay story is simply a distraction. Someday we might have a media sophisticated enough to ignore this story, but until then expect it to crop up every two years.

More Money

Reader Elmer sends today's Corning Leader story [pdf] detailing a grant in Bath, featuring a headshot of Eric Massa.

Expect much more of this in the future.

Morning News: Town Hall Meetings and Money

The Corning Leader and Star-Gazette have reports on Eric Massa's first town hall meeting, which was three hours long and involved 100 people.

The D&C reports that Massa is still raising money. I'm sure he'll be doing that for the next two years.

Morning News: Buy US, Subcommittees and a New Blog

The Buffalo News has a good rundown of the pros and cons of a "Buy American" provision in the stimulus bill. Massa supports that provision.

Massa's Homeland Security subcommittee assignments have been announced.

Massa has also started blogging at the Huffington Post. His first post celebrates the signing of S-CHIP legislation.

Today's Leader

Reader Elmer sends today's Corning Leader story [pdf] about Eric Massa's town meeting. The Massa office also released the text of a Leader editorial. The Leader thinks Massa can get the $300 million of stimulus he wants to claim for the 29th.