------No, GreeneLanders did not give a majority of their votes on Tuesday to the Democratic presidential candidate. Instead, along with majorities in 27 mostly rural and thinly populated counties, plus Staten Island, they gave majority support (55 per cent in our case) to the Republican nominee, John McCain. They did not side with majorities in neighboring Albany, Columbia and Ulster counties (63, 54 and 61 per cent support for Barack Obama). Neither did they join the hordes of Obamaniacs in New York City: 88% of Bronx voters, 85% in Manhattan, 79% in Brooklyn, 74% in Queens.
------What is more, GreeneLanders gave a massive majority of their votes on Tuesday to their incumbent Republican State Senator. On Jim Seward they bestowed 11,202 votes, or 62 per cent, with Democratic challenger Don Barber garnering 6727. The latter figure, however, marks quite a jump from zero; in seven previous elections, Mr Seward has faced no opposition at all.
------Other figures point to a pro-Democratic drift in GreeneLand political life:
------*Enrollment creep. Among registered GreeneLand voters, self-defined Republicans declined numerically from 13.970 in November 2000 to 13,702 in November 2008, while self-defined Democrats grew a bit from 7162 in 2000 to 7822 currently. Enrolled voters who decline to state a party afilliation, however, still out-number professed Democrats, by 624.
------*County offices. A few Democrats now sit in the county legislature.
------*Fence-jumping. In the last election for U.S. Senator (2004) and for Governor (2006) Democratic candidates (Hillary Clinton; Eliot Spitzer) won majorities (small ones) of GreeneLand votes. In this election, while majorities backed Mr McCain for President (marginally) and Mr Seward for State Senator (heavily, with cross-over Democratic support), they also supported Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's re-election to the United States House of Representatives. That majority, to be sure, was small: 10,827 votes, to 8458 for Republican challenger Sandy Treadwell. It marked, however, a big gain (38%) in support from 2006, when Ms Gillibrand challenged the Republican incumbent, John Sweeney. On that occasion, while winning the seat (with 52% of votes cast in the electorate's five counties and five pieces of counties, she lost, with 7865 votes to 8555, in GreeneLand.
-----Those numbers, incidentally, do not do full justice to Ms Gillibrand's feat. It is one of the great political performances, nation-wide, of 2008. It starts in 2006 when, as a newcomer, with family connections but no local base (State Assembly seat, county legislator, town supervisor, district attorney), in a district that was designed by conniving State legislators to be safely Republican forever, in a district where only one in four voters is enrolled as a Democrat, she undertakes to challenge an entrenched, repeatedly re-elected Republican incumbent. Thanks to Botch Administration mishaps, plus a late-hour scandal tainting the incumbent, she wins the seat. Shen then assumes the daunting task of holding on. She establishes field offices, emits myriad messages, processes special needs cases, makes appearances all over the district, woos veterans and farmers as well as traditional supporters, builds a war chest--while also bearing and then delivering a child. In due course she is confronted by a challenger who is not just a Republican, but is a scandal-free (apart from association with the Botch Administration), presentable, affable, articulate, well connected, rich Republican. This time Ms Gillibrand wins 62 per cent of the district's votes.
------The lady has a future.
"Shen then assumes the daunting task of holding on. She establishes field offices, emits myriad messages, processes special needs cases, makes appearances all over the district, woos veterans and farmers as well as traditional supporters, builds a war chest--while also bearing and then delivering a child."
Curiously, what you have failed to mention is the amount of money that the Congresswoman has brought back to Greeneland, specifically, Catskill, as the County seat. That might be because the amount is zero. Conversely, her predecessor was very adept at "bringing home the bacon," specifically by way of financial support to our Village Police Department which purchased two police cruisers that saved the Village of Catskill over $36k. Let's not forget about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that had been previously alloted to Cedar Grove.
While it is admirable to form task forces and postulate upon bringing the troops home (which the Democrats failed to deliver on their 2006 promise), the true metal of a Congressman or Congresswoman is their ability to bring federal monies back to their district to help reduce the tax burden on the local municipalities.
Maybe, with the Democratic majority in both houses of Congress and the White House, our Congresswoman's stock will go up and she will start delivering the funds. That is, if the Democrats are able to get out of their own way and accomplish anything they have promised.
History tells us that when one party is in control of both Congress and the White House, little gets done. We need only look back to 1992/1993 and 1965/1966, both times the Democrats had full control.
Maybe the Republicans will have a future in 2010. ;o)
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