Posts containing my opinion of the race.

The Twitter Fallacy

A recent Politico Story on John Boehner includes this comment:

In a speech to his rank and file down at the Homestead resort this weekend, Boehner will encourage them to use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs and any other electronic tool to communicate with constituents.

This reminds me of a friend's comment on "communication" as a cure-all in relationships. He said that most of his relationships fell apart as soon as he and his girlfriend started communicating, because both of them realized they had nothing in common.

Boehner needs a new message, not a new way to distribute it.

The Second Most Important Vote of the Session

Eric Massa, and most other Democrats, voted for the economic stimulus package. All Republicans voted against.

Since the Senate bill is different from the House version, there will be another vote on the bill after it goes through conference. Swing-district Republicans who voted against this bill will probably vote for the "compromise" bill, and they'll highlight some change or other that supposedly tipped their hand.

John Boehner has apparently convinced endangered Republicans that this is a clever strategy. Randy Kuhl, a Boehner protegee, used it a few times on tough votes in the previous session. I've always felt that it was too clever by half.

Voters aren't moved by technicalities on tough legislation, and this bill is one of the biggest gut-checks to come around in recent memory. Our country is in big trouble, and we're facing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Either you're for stimulating the economy with massive spending, or you're not. The bullshit expenditures that Republicans are bloviating about on talk radio (e.g., money for STD's !!) are nothing in comparison to the totality of this $800+ billion package. A few little additions or deletions are simply window dressing.

I think voters will see this for what it is: Republicans betting against the economic well-being of their country in hopes of a political advantage. I'm sad to see it, and I'm sad to say it, but I can come to no other conclusion.

Pelosi's Popularity

Reader Tom sends this link. It's a poll showing that Nancy Pelosi has the highest approval rating of the four Congressional leaders. Her counterpart, John Boehner, is the least popular leader, scoring lower than even Mitch McConnell.

Despite an intense effort by Republicans to draw a tail and horns on Pelosi, she's proven to be a popular Speaker. That's no surprise, because she's a competent, on-message leader of her caucus. If she's a factor in Massa's 2010 campaign, it's likely that she'll be a positive one.


The Gillibrand appointment will probably have a small direct impact on the 29th District. Gillibrand and Massa serve on the same committees (Agriculture and Armed Services). As the two New York members on Agriculture, they co-ordinated subcommittee picks to cover the major interests of upstate, so her move might have a slight effect on legislation originating from that committee.

Overall, however, the Gillibrand pick is good for upstate Democrats. By all accounts, she's well-qualified, smart and a hard worker. She understands the issues of our region, and, as a newcomer to New York politics, she's not tied in to any machine or interest group. She knows how to raise money and campaign hard. Caroline Kennedy would have been a liability in 2010 -- Gillibrand will be an asset.

The Briar Patch

Eric Massa's trip to Washington in a fuel cell vehicle is still making the news, as intended. The Democrat and Chronicle has a story on the trip today. National blogs, including this green warrior and these right-wingers, are running to their fainting couches because two vehicles were involved in the trip. They're shocked and appalled that a R&D prototype running on experimental fuel doesn't work as well as the family minivan.

I'm sure Eric Massa, who freely acknowledges that the trip was a publicity stunt, is reading all this and smiling. In addition to getting more publicity, he has the opportunity to defend a district employer against outside critics.

The 29th has lost jobs and population for decades. Massa beat a heavily favored incumbent by convincing voters that he would fight harder to create jobs. His campaign was full of creative stunts designed to show that he's a fighter, and only those who don't understand the politics of the district would think he'd stop once he was elected.

Massa on Infrastructure Investments

Today's D&C has a roundup of area politicians talking about next year's projects and legislation.

Eric Massa mentions a few projects he'd like to see, including an east-side water project in Rochester, high-speed rail, more broadband, and a better Irondequoit Bay bridge.

With the incoming Obama administration promising a $650-850 billion infrastructure package, Massa will be in the position of doling out billions of dollars of government money in the next couple of years. Forget about a few million dollars in earmarks -- federal infrastructure spending in the next couple of years is going to dwarf anything seen since the Great Depression.

Redistricting: Only One Seat Lost?

Election Data Services, a non-partisan consulting firm, has released a new study projecting the loss of a single House seat by New York in 2012. As this analysis shows, last year's EDS report predicted a sure loss of two seats by New York.

The anticipated number of seats lost has a huge impact on the future of the 29th district, and Eric Massa. Since Western New York has lost population while downstate has gained, it's almost certain that redistricting will lead to fewer, and geographically larger, districts in this area. In the 2002 redistricting, three "Republican seats" were created: NY-29, 25 and 26. Today, two of those seats are held by Democrats. With Democrats in charge of the Legislature, it's hard to imagine a plan that leaves any Western New York seats to Republicans.

(via Philip at The Albany Project)

Massa's Committee Preferences

Here's a list of Freshman committee preferences. According to the list, Massa "is interested in the Armed Services Committee, given his experience as a former staffer on the committee. Massa would also like a seat on the Agriculture Committee."

I've seen interest from Massa in the Transportation and Agriculture Committees, but this is the first I've heard about Armed Services, though it makes a lot of sense, given Massa's background. Veterans' Affairs is another possibility.

(Via Rochesterturning)

Massa and the Bailout

Julie Sherwood at the Messenger-Post has a few more details on Massa's support of the automaker bailout. Like yesterday's coverage, the centerpiece is Massa's trip to the GM R&D facility in Honeoye Falls.

Massa's rationale for supporting the automaker bailout centers on breaking our dependence on fossil fuels and bringing jobs to the district. The Honeoye Falls plant, which specializes in "green technology" like fuel cells, is a great backdrop for that message.

Massa's message is a preview of coming attractions from the Democrats, because they need to sell the auto bailout to a skeptical public. As this analysis shows, polling on the automaker rescue is running roughly 55/45 against.

Meanwhile, In a Parallel Universe

Randy Kuhl's letter to the editor of the Wellsville Daily Reporter includes this statement:

I am proud to say that during my career I worked with you all to increase economic opportunities and jobs in the district, to balance our federal budget without tax increases, and to keep our homeland safe and free from fear.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average deficit during the years Kuhl was in DC was $242 billion, a number that doesn't include the budget-busting spending of 2008.

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