Saturday, March 28, 2009
----For a voter whose principal value in approaching Tuesday's special congressional election here is to inflict on the Obama Administration a major rebuke, to advance the cause of "conservatism," to resuscitate the Republican Party, or perhaps to punish "Wall Street greed," the appropriate candidate is James Tedisco. -----Three of those values, or tests of candidate merit, have been conspicuous in fund-raising appeals made by national Republican figures, and by quasi-Republican group leaders, in support of the Tedisco campaign. They have NOT been conspicuous, however, in the campaign materials distributed to district voters by those support groups or by the candidate himself. Thus, while the National Republican Trust PAC, Our Country Deserves Better, and Human Events ("headquarters of the conservative underground") invite prospective donors to "express your outrage" at the Obama Administration's "socialist" proclivities by supporting the Tedisco campaign, their mailings to the voters do not voice those same appeals. They take the form largely of mendacious personal attacks on Tedisco's opponent. Similarly, while assuring their backers that Tedisco is a rock-solid "conservative," those strategists do not invoke that label, or invoke "conservative" values, in their pro-Tedisco campaign rhetoric. -----As for the plea to Punish Wall Street Greed thesis, that comes directly from Tedisco. Wall Street greed is his recently nominated cause (along with "Washington incompetence") of our current economic misery,, as well as his current rationale for opposing the Obama Administration's economic stimulus package. In addition, "Wall Street millionaire" has served Tedisco as a persistent way of stigmatizing his opponent. "Jim Tedisco...because A I G and Wall Street don't need another voice in Washington." Thus does Wall Street bashing come in this campaign from the Republican candidate. THE CASE FOR MURPHY ----- For voters who do not give top priority to Obama-shocking, "conservatism"--boosting, GOP-resuscitating or Wall Street bashing, Scott Murphy's appeal as prospective successor to Kirsten Gillibrand as our United States Representative seems to be formidable. It comes under three headings. -----CHARACTER. Murphy seems to be an extraordinarily intelligent and grounded young man. After graduating with honors from one of the world's great colleges, he achieved early success as an innovative, job-creating enterpriser. His business experience seems peculiarly appropriate for current conditions. Murphy could bring to the Congress a trained talent for distinguishing between sound recovery projects and junk. Meanwhile, Murphy could carry to Washington a distinctive up-State, down-home spirit. Although his natural base as a venture capitalist would be a big-city financial district or Silicon Valley, Murphy chose to settle with his wife and children, three years ago, in a rural community amid scores of in-laws. He embodies what we feel instinctively as family values. By way of contrast, his opponent got married, at age 57, last year. ---- OUTLOOK. Candidates for elective office are subject to evaluation on the basis of how they stand on a broad range of issues. In Murphy's case, information on many of the issues has been provided in the course of campaign stops as well as in the Issues of his web site, http://scottmurphy09.com. What emerges is the picture of a middle-roader--a fiscal conservative but not a right-wing "conservative," a Gillibrand-style centrist as distinct from a liberal or "progressive" poster boy. In contrast, while Tedisco isfl categorized by outside supporters as a rock-solid "conservative," he has been ideologically elusive. His campaign rhetoric has been devoted to flipping and floppng and evasive blustering. Tedisco ducked a chance to gain major exposure to 20th district voters by meeting Murphy in a March 19th "debate" on public television that reached the whole 20th district (and No, he did not have a previous engagement). Tedisco's web site (www.jimtedisco.com ) is equally unenlightening. It does not contain an Issues section. -----CONNECTION. Scott Murphy's appeal as prospective Representative also derives from his affiliation with the winning team: the Gillibrand-Schumer-Obama team; the majority team in the Congress. That connection is a major asset. Members of the governing majority can do more for their constituents, more in the way of Federal stimulus dollars, more in the way of grants, for highways and bridges, hospitals and museums and parks.