Posts containing facts about the race in the 29th.

Another Debate?

The D&C story on the debate includes one in Rochester on October 16 on RNews, the Time-Warner cable channel.  This looks like news to both campaigns, since neither has it on their calendars. 

(Update:  Kuhl just posted it.  Massa also has it on his Debate Page.)

The October Expected Event

As predicted, the VA announced yesterday that the Canandaigua VA Hospital will remain open. Randy rhapsodized:

The Canandaigua V.A. Medical Hospital is a special place. There's a soul here and a soul that needs to continue.

I wasn't aware that souls become more visible and in need of preservation one month before elections, but perhaps I'm not as erudite a theologian as Rep. Kuhl.

Kuhl on Foley: Take 2

Yesterday, Randy Kuhl said that the Speaker of the House, the man second in the line to the Presidency, should be held to the same standard as a defendant in a criminal trial.  Today, as part of backgrounders in preparation for today's debate in Canandaigua, he had another chance to speak out on the Foley matter.  Let's take a close look at what he said:

All of this activity all happened before I was even there.

Not true:  the initial emails were received and "processed" by the House leadership in the Fall of 2005 and Spring of 2006.  Kuhl was in office during that time.

Isn't it interesting it all just comes out now?

Yes it is.  Why would a House GOP aide leak emails to the press?  And why didn't Hastert and Reynolds take care of the problem when they first heard about it a year ago?

My opponent is trying to capitalize. I think that's scurrilous. It's just outrageous for them to try to do that.

Absolutely true:  his opponent is trying to capitalize on the scandal.  I'll leave the ultimate judgment of whether that's "scurrilous" or "outrageous" to the reader, but I think there's a legitimate question of abuse of power and responsibility behind the salacious emails.

Here's another interesting quote:

I think that any calling at this point for any resignations is just political pandering. There's no question about in my mind and I'm very disappointed that my opponent has joined into that.

Perhaps Randy should write a letter to the pandering editors of the conservative National Review, which has called for the resignation of Rep. John Shimkus, head of the Page Committee.  Or perhaps he has a bone to pick with the panderers at the conservative Washington Times, who said yesterday that Speaker Dennis Hastert should resign.

None of Kuhl's responses printed today are anything more than spin.  How about:  "I want my leadership to do better."  That's a simple one.  Can Kuhl agree to it?

Kuhl's Response

Randy Kuhl has responded to Massa's challenge:

Kuhl said there has to be a presumption that Hastert is innocent until proven guilty. He says Congress owes it to parents to make sure their children are protected while serving as House Pages. But he also said the facts will come out, and if Hastert was at fault he'll be replaced when the House reorganizes its leadership after the election. Right now, Kuhl says he doesn't know that Speaker Hastert has failed in his responsibility.

He declined to back away from the Speaker, or to say what he would have done Hastert's place or in Congressman Tom Reynolds' place.

Kuhl Negative Ads and Push Polls?

The Massa campaign is saying that a new Kuhl ad is out, and that Kuhl is push-polling.  The ad apparently says that Massa wants to raise taxes.  I haven't seen it, but  I'll post a link and analysis as soon as Kuhl posts it on his site, or someone puts it on YouTube.

A Penfield resident (and Massa supporter) is the source for information about the poll, which claimed that Massa would oppose raising defense spending and sending the National Guard to protect the borders.   The Kuhl campaign denies the push-polling.

(Sorry for the confusion and update - the original story wasn't clear.)

Massa Challenges Kuhl on the Foley Issue

Eric Massa has written a letter [pdf] to Randy Kuhl asking him to call for the resignation of leaders complicit in a "cover-up" in the Foley matter.  He's also asked Kuhl to return contributions from Boehner, Hastert and Reynolds. 

A number of candidates have returned contributions from Foley, but Reynolds has specifically refused to return the $100,000 that the committee he chairs received from Foley, money received after Reynolds knew about the e-mail sent by Foley to a page.  Today, conservative columnist Robert Novak reports that Reynolds worked hard to convince Foley to run this Fall, again after he knew about the e-mails.  Finally, Reynold's chief-of-staff tried to cover up the IMs that ABC news found, and Reynolds has been giving conflicting explanations of his knowledge of his #1 aide's actions.

If there's a definition of "dirty money" that's any clearer than the $100K that Tom Reynolds got from Foley this year, I'd like to hear it. 

So, while Massa could be (and probably will be) accused of trying to capitalize on a scandal that doesn't directly involve Kuhl, the questions he raises are legitimate.  Who does Kuhl think should resign?  And what about that $100K?  Yes, it's been spent.  There's an easy answer to that:  each campaign that received money from Reynolds' committee can donate their pro-rata share of the $100K to charity.

Kuhl's silence on this issue is politically stupid and morally wrong. 

Kuhl's Hasty Vote Against a Basic Right

One of the many bills rushed through the House last week was the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This bill, which Randy Kuhl wholeheartedly supports, received a lot of attention from the media because of the showdown between John McCain and the White House over the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. Lost in the noise was the equally important suspension of habeas corpus contained in the bill.

Kuhl's spin on the bill is that it would let us "prosecute terrorists". The question that we need to ask him is: who's a terrorist?

The answer is that a terrorist, a.k.a. "enemy combatant", is a foreign national or US Citizen who the President deems dangerous to the country. Once a person is named an enemy combatant, they are offered a very limited set of options for appeal of that designation. Specifically, the right to challenge one's detention in open court (habeas corpus) is suspended.

Habeas corpus is a fundamental right enumerated in the Constitution:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. (Art 1, Sec 9)

Since the War on Terror is not a "Case of Rebellion or Invasion", a law that suspends habeas corpus is unconstitutional. Arlen Specter, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, believes that it is, as do a number of legal scholars.

Legislators only pass obviously unconstitutional bills for political reasons. In this case, Republicans were afraid of appearing "soft on terror" and instead chose to pass a bill that they knew would immediately end up in court.

I have no issue with letting the President designate enemy combatants and lock them up. It's a legitimate tool of war. But when one man has the right to single out a citizen of the US as a terrorist, and that citizen doesn't have the right to challenge his detention in court, we've weakened, not strengthened, our laws and our nation.

Weren't Republicans once the party that defended basic liberties against the big-government Democrats? I guess those days are gone, and John R "Randy" Kuhl is a little part of the reason why.

News Roundup

The Washington Post reports that part of the Republican strategy to localize Congressional races included scheduling 165 votes on bills that addressed local issues. Randy Kuhl's dam safety bill was one example.

And the New York Blade, a gay newspaper in New York City, has posted its analysis of New York congressional races. It thinks that Republicans will probably hold the 29th.

"Critical Race" Coverage

Today's Democrat and Chronicle has a long analysis of race in the 29th on the first page of the "Local" section. The article concentrates on the race as an example of the Republican strategy of making all Congressional races about local issues, versus the Democrat's attempt to make them a referendum on issues like Iraq.

A prime example of the local strategy, from Kuhl:

"My opponent has no history in the district, no experience, no ties to the district. I have tremendous legislative experience. I was born in the district. My father was born in the district. And I've got more than two decades of experience in serving the people. That's what this race comes down to."

Massa's rejoinder:

...his life experience as a naval officer, cancer survivor and special assistant to four-star Army Gen. Wesley Clark — the former Supreme Allied Commander for Europe — means more than legislative experience...."I'm not a professional politician. And that by itself is quite unusual in a congressional race these days"

The 29th on the News Hour

The Kuhl/Massa contest was featured on in a lengthy piece tonight's PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer.  Here's what's news (to me at least) in the coverage:

  • Kuhl's rejoinder to Massa's partition strategy on Iraq.  He spoke to an Iraqi interior ministry official there, and distilled his experience as follows:

He said that there's no way that they could do that from a practical standpoint. It just wouldn't work out. And so it's just not even an option to them.

And they are working toward a unified national government with inclusion of all the various sectarian groups. So I don't see any proposals at this point. I mean, that would just lead to people fighting over what's the territory they get, and on, and on, and on. I see that as totally disruptive and not a responsible plan.

  • Kuhl's re-phrasing of the "surrender" argument on the war:

I don't see us sending up the white flag, and walking away, and encouraging, you know, these radical Muslims, jihadists to actually come in and have a safe haven for all of them, take over a country that they then can launch attacks not only on us, but some of our other allies who are there, too.

  • Intimations of a "whisper campaign" about Massa's military service.  The basis of this campaign is the idea that Massa should have achieved a higher rank than Commander after 24 years of service.  A Kuhl supporter was quoted as follows:

DR. ANTHONY SANTOMAURO, Kuhl Supporter: What position did he have in Navy?

RAY SUAREZ [News Hour Reporter]: He retired as a commander.

DR. ANTHONY SANTOMAURO: How many years was he in?

RAY SUAREZ: Twenty four, but I'm not sure all of that was active duty.

DR. ANTHONY SANTOMAURO: Twenty four years in the Navy, what would you expect to get rank to?

RAY SUAREZ: Well, they say he would have made captain, except he took a medical -- he retired...

DR. ANTHONY SANTOMAURO: I'll leave it at that. I think you see where I'm coming from.

Commander is the Naval equivalent of Lt. Colonel.  Of course, what Ray Suarez was trying to say is that Massa would have probably retired as a Captain (the naval equivalent of full Colonel), except that he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and spent the last part of his career fighting cancer and serving as a cancer outreach advocate. 

So, yes, I think we see where you're coming from, Dr. Santomauro.

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