Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bent on holding a majority

Just remember when Sweeney Spinners claims he is independent, it is because the house leadership is "letting" him. Why? So they can keep their majority. Power is what matters most to them. From this New York Times Story:

Republican leaders, bent on holding a majority, are getting behind their incumbents aggressively even as they let them put some distance between themselves and the national party, political analysts monitoring these races say. ...

Even Democrats concede that it is hard to imagine how their party could reduce a Republican majority without gains in Connecticut and New York, where Democrats are mounting competitive challenges against two prominent Republican incumbents, John E. Sweeney in the 20th District in the Albany region and James T. Walsh in the 25th District in the Syracuse region.

The threat that independent analysts say Mr. Sweeney faces is something of a surprise, since he represents a district where registered Republicans roughly outnumber Democrats, 200,000 to 100,000, with about 100,000 independents. In fact, Mr. Sweeney won re-election with 66 percent of the vote in 2004, while President Bush won the district with 54 percent of the vote.

But the Democrat seeking to unseat him, Kirsten Gillibrand, a lawyer, is counting on what she describes as the disenchantment of certain traditional Sweeney supporters — chiefly independents and moderate Republicans — with the direction of the nation. In that context, she has aggressively sought to tie Mr. Sweeney to Republican leaders in Congress and the Bush White House.

"I think John Sweeney is in trouble because he is not independent and he is not standing up to the administration," Ms. Gillibrand said. "The climate with voters in the district, whether they are Republicans, Democrats or independents, is they want a change in leadership."

By most appearances, her strategy has placed Mr. Sweeney on the defensive. The Sweeney camp maintains that he has always exercised independence in Washington. "He works with leadership to bring what needs to his district and he opposes leadership when their policies hurt upstate New York," said Melissa Carlson, a Sweeney spokeswoman. ...

Except that with a Republican majority, even when Sweeney opposes the administration, the policies that hurt upstate New York are still swept into law. What this country needs is a majority party that is not beholden to this administration. Until that happens token votes against an occasional bill which passes anyway is the best "representing" we're going to get.

And I say that's just not good enough.

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