Archive (2009)

Bad Boys, What You Gonna Do?

WHEC carries Eric Massa's announcement of COPS grants for Cattaraugus and Monroe Counties.

The Star-Gazette has been busy posting this afternoon. First, there's the new Massa town hall meetings in Van Etten and Chili. Then, we have Massa and Reed's opinions on the public option as well as sanctions for Iran.

Press Conference Audio

Both Eric Massa and Tom Reed had press conferences this morning. I'm going to try something new: side-by-side audio of three topics. Six clips are embedded after the break:

Afghanistan: I asked both candidates about our mission in Afghanistan and whether we should be sending new troops.

Reed's answer: 

Massa's answer:  

Healthcare: Both candidates made a few comments about healthcare.



Iran: Bob Recotta of the Corning Leader had extensive questions about Iran, especially for Massa. I've spliced together Massa's statement about Iran with two sets of questions from Bob.



Tom GReed

Reader Elmer sends today's Corning Leader column [pdf] by Bob Rolfe, where Rolfe reports that Tom Reed has a new nickname around town: Tom Greed.

Reed Continues Digging

Tom Reed probably has blisters on his blisters from all the shoveling he's been doing lately. The hole he's dug is pretty deep:

  • Reed says that it would be "troublesome" for him to accept stimulus money he requested as Mayor, since he's now a Congressional candidate. But it wasn't "troublesome" for him to personally accept $1.18 million in grant money earlier this month.
  • Reed says that the next $500 billion of stimulus -- the source of the funds he requested for Corning -- should not be disbursed, since the administration says that the recession is likely over. But in the next breath he says he doubts that the recession is really over. If Reed really thinks the recession is still going on, then shouldn't he be advocating the release of further stimulus? Does he want the economy to fail just to make a political point?
  • Does Reed really think that voters care whether the federal budget or stimulus funds paid for important projects? When New York gets 82 cents back [pdf] of every Federal dollar we send to DC, I doubt that voters care which spending bill paid for a new water main or intersection.

Reed Asked for Stimulus Money

The Corning Leader reports that Tom Reed sent a letter to state and federal representatives, including Eric Massa, to request over $5 million in stimulus funds for Corning. Reed now says that he doubts that he would accept that money.

Radio Town Halls

Eric Massa will start holding radio town hall meetings on WLEA in Hornell on Fridays from 4-5 PM.

Some WLEA broadcasts are live streamed here. I don' t know if Massa's town hall is one of them.

Massa on Gaddafi

Eric Massa appeared on MSNBC to discuss Moammar Gaddafi's presence in the US. Video after the break.

Rating Round-Up

The new Rothenberg Political House Ratings are out, and it has the 29th classified as "Lean Democratic". This is the same rating as the Cook Political Report and Congressional Quarterly.

Only Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball has the 29th as a toss-up.


Eric Massa and a bunch of local politicians attended a groundbreaking of a $45 million enhancement of US 15 in lovely Lindley.

It's Hard Out There for a Republican

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly created this graph from Research 2000 polling:

Even though the 29th is more Republican than the Northeast in general, I think this is a pretty powerful display of what I was trying to say in this post. The boilerplate rhetoric from the current Republican party only appeals to Southerners. Reed can't have a cut-and-paste campaign -- he needs to distinguish himself from the rest of the party.

Indicators of Failure

Joe Dunning's column in the Leader was appropriately tough on Tom Reed's campaign, which has made a number of tactical errors in the past months. But, to his credit, Reed made one strategic decision that trumps most of those errors: he started early. A majority of voters won't be paying close attention to this race until well over a year from now, and by then many of Reed's missteps will be ancient history.

A few dumb comments, or even taking government money as part of his business, won't sink Reed's ship by itself. Far more dangerous is the perception that Reed is taking orders from the DC Republican party. Ultimately, if I had to pick the most important factor in Kuhl's 2008 loss, it was the perception that he was paying more attention to his party bosses than the residents of the 29th district.

It's hard to imagine two individuals more different than Eric Massa and Amo Houghton, but neither of those men took orders from their party bosses. Amo had, and Massa has, a set of votes that differentiate each of the men from the average order-taking backbench party loyalist. Their war votes -- Amo's against the Iraq War, and Massa's against the Afghanistan War -- are just two examples.

Of course, in Amo's case, he was part of a strong tradition of moderate Republicanism that originated in New York and is now gone from the political scene. Unfortunately, Reed can't rely on that tradition to inform his rhetoric. Instead, he, like Randy Kuhl, sounds very like a right-wing radio host.

Perhaps the best example of this kind of rhetoric is the comments that Reed made about the stimulus bill. Here's a mayor -- whose small town is getting millions of dollars in stimulus funding -- calling the stimulus a "slush fund". Here's a resident of a state facing a huge budget shortfall -- one that would have decimated residents of his district -- claiming that the only proper use of stimulus funds is infrastructure projects. And here's a candidate who enlists the loser of the last election to fundraise by dismissing the stimulus as nothing more than "liberal pet projects".

This, not a badly schedule press conference or some intemperate remarks about reading legislation, is what will sink the Reed campaign if it continues.

Kuhl Fundraising Letter

Reader Richard sends Randy Kuhl's fundraising letter for Tom Reed [pdf]. Here's a sample:

Specifically, Massa is on the record in favor of a single-payer government administered healthcare system that would ration healthcare, and has voted to support the Presidents so-called "stimulus" package that funded liberal pet projects without any boost to our economy.

The whole thing is worth a read.