Sunday, June 11, 2006

TU Talkback

My thoughts and the important parts of the Times Union's "Race is Framed by Ties to Bush"

The Good News: John Sweeney (R NY) learned his lesson and didn't call Gillibrand a pretty face this time. The Bad News: Instead he dismissed her as a "caricature."

Anyone who meets Gillibrand knows she is a real person, she is sincere and she is listening to us.

"The Democrats are trying to run a national race in the 20th District," he [Sweeney] said. "I've represented that district for eight years."

A) You are holding a federal post, that is what you do, represent us to the federal government. B) You've never faced a strong Challenger since you won. C) 8 Years don't mean you are entitled to another term. D) McCain just told the Rs in Saratoga, "I believe the Republican Party should be a national party not a regional one."

Sweeney, 50, who officially kicked off his campaign for a fifth term Saturday in Clifton Park, says his opposition to dredging the Hudson River is consistent with what the people in Fort Edward want.

It is consistent with what GE's lobbyists want. But today, locals are changing their tune. The district and Fort Edward will get an economic boost from the project. And no one really wants PCBs in water that is in their backyards and rivers. Sweeney stood on the wrong side of this issue. He pandered to GE, sold people GE's version of reality instead of looking at facts and science. He stood with his campaign donors, the GE lobby. Another NY representative put it right when he said: This process has dragged on for far too long, which is why it is time to begin the dredging in earnest. Not only will our health benefit from a cleaner Hudson River, but our economy will benefit as well with new opportunities for development and travel along the river. The sooner the dredging begins and the more comprehensive that dredging is, the sooner all New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the Hudson River the way it was meant to be enjoyed. PCBs pose a threat to public health.

"He may be able to talk about the money he's brought here and there. Of course, that's a congressperson's job," the Hudson resident [Gillibrand] said. "But his job also is to be an advocate for his district, and that's where he has failed."

The article also points out that:

In recent elections, Republicans lost to Democrats in traditionally Republican parts of the district including Rensselaer and Saratoga counties.

Republicans are acknowledging that Sweeney's ties to Bush are not going to be helpful. We all know that he fought against McCain and for Bush in 2000. We all know when Bush makes a speech, Sweeney follows up with a release claiming that the president is "correct" and "absolutely right" over and over again.

Elizabeth Brilliant, chairwoman of the Dutchess County Republican Party, says Bush's disapproval ratings will affect the race..."I think that is an issue certainly all the way down to the local elections. It is an obvious issue the Republicans have to deal with," she said. ...

Sweeney's way of dealing with it is to tell us that he is a moderate. In other words, to misrepresent himself. The repackaging of himself into someone that he has not been. How is that different from telling us a lie when faced with an inconvenient reality, just like Bush would? The voters know where he has stood and who he has stood with. Big Business and Bush.

"There can be no denying the president has had difficulties," Sweeney said, but "I've outpolled every Republican on Election Day and at polls whenever I run...."

Guess what, Congressman Do Over? Past results are no guarantee of future returns.

The congressman, a former labor secretary under Gov. George Pataki, is no longer close to the governor, and some in his camp view the nomination of Gillibrand ... as receiving surreptitious support from Pataki.

That is a problem for those who want Pataki to run for president in 08, isn't it? If Pataki were to win, it seems that Congresswoman Gillibrand would be in better favor with the GOP President than Sweeney would be. While Sweeney is busy trying to tell us that he's not Bush's Go to Guy, and that he's from here while Gillibrand is not. The facts tell another story:

Neither Sweeney, a Troy native, nor the Albany-born Gillibrand is originally from the 20th District, which extends from Dutchess County in the Hudson Valley to as far north as Essex County.

Gillibrand has deep roots here. She is raising her son here. She is one of us. Sweeney has grown used to dining with lobbyists and free vacations. Gillibrand won't be vacationing with lobbyists. She's going to be traveling within the district instead, getting our feedback.

This time, local Democrats have found a strong Challenger, someone who will do just as well as her predecessor did, if not better, in supporting local projects of merit--someone who is going to represent us not the lobbyists and the Bush family dynasty.

This time, the top of the line candidates are on Row B. From Spitzer to Gillibrand and right down to the local races.

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