September 14, 2010
POLITICS: Who I Voted For In New York Today
Quick roundup. I voted around 7am this morning, and was the sixth voter at my polling station, and the first Republican. The bad news is that the new optical-scanner voting machines seem a real downgrade in ease, reliability and privacy from the old mechanical machines in use for so many decades in New York.
The sort of sad thing, but emblematic of the poor odds of the candidates I had to vote for, is that while I've been carefully following numerous races across the country, I was basically down to looking stuff up the night before the election on the races I actually voted in.
Senate (Gillibrand): David Malpass. The most conservative of the three candidates, had at last check a few million in the bank, so he should be able to meet the minimum standard of making voters aware he's running. Malpass won't win unless we're dealing with a much larger GOP wave than anybody anticipates, but he's a serious policy guy. Only thing that gave me pause was that Joe DioGuardi has the Conservative line, despite being more of a typical NY establishment Republican . This is a story for another day, but while the Conservative Party has its uses (see, Doug Hoffman), on balance I resent the coercive practice of giving a third party November ballot line to one of the participants in a primary, and think the presence of a separate Conservative Party - a thing that doesn't really exist in any of the other 49 states - has retarded the process of reforming and reviving the NY GOP.
Senate (Schumer): Gary Berntsen. The ex-CIA spy is also a serious and impressive guy, albeit a sacrificial lamb of the highest order.
Governor: Carl Paladino. This is a protest vote; Rick Lazio is a loyal Republican and a reasonable guy with a well-thought out agenda (and also has the Conservative nomination), while Paladino is something of a bomb-thrower and only intermittently a Republican. But Lazio screwed over the state's Republican voters by sitting out the winnable Gillibrand race (remember, his experience is as a Congressman) in favor of a doomed bid for governor, in which he's getting crushed by Andrew Cuomo, down more than 30 points in the polls. A vote for Lazio is wasted anyway; may as well go with the deep-pocketed Paladino, who promises to make life difficult for Cuomo. Given the many other races on the ballot and the fact that Lazio's no more likely to make a race of this, I'm not worried that a poor showing by Paladino will depress turnout.
House (NY-5): Liz Berney. Berney ran against Gary Ackerman in 2008, and is a known quantity. Her opponent, Dr. James Milano, is less so, although he does have - yet again - the Conservative Party endorsement, for reasons that are really no clearer than the DioGuardi endorsement. Apparently, Milano is a registered Democrat, having switched parties in the spring of 2009 (this according to a Berney mailer; I couldn't find better information from Milano disputing this). I was also turned off by noticing that it's hard to find a decent picture of Milano, the news feed on his website hasn't been updated since July, and perhaps most damningly an article in the local paper on the race was unable to get a comment from Milano on his candidacy - all of which when added up suggest a guy who isn't running the kind of operation needed to make himself available in case the voters turn on the 14-term incumbent, Gary Ackerman.
Crank, I think your voting experience is typical accross the country. The Republican party still does not get that we are tired of voting for the lessor of the evils. They may do well this fall, but if they don't present a true Conservative ticket in 2012 it will be just like 1996. Not enough momentum to unseat a criminal.
I voted Malpass, Berntsen, Palladino and Grimm in NY13.
It seems that the Republican Party is now doing to itself what the Democratic Party did in the 1980s. Look and run for people who are ideologically pure, and damned be the consequences. Christine O'Donnell is a nut, plain and simple. But since she is so "Tea Party Pure" she stands for everything "we" want. Think about it: If you are against abortion, against gun control, but for the 55 mph limit (and nobody is 2 for 3 on those, you get my point), well, then he/she is not one of ME.
Which is too bad. When both parties have reasonable shades of differences, things get accomplished. The Democrats have started to learn that. Which is why Chuck Schumer put up Gillibrand in the first place. Because you really NEED a big tent, not just say you have one. As the GOP taught (and this is a lesson taught every few generations), unless you win, you don't really count.
I think support of Scott Brown in MA shows that this is not the case. It is more of a litmus-test vote (on government spending) than ideological purity test.
If the Tea Party sustains the energy (a big if), what they will do is force the establishment to field more acceptable candidates in the next cycle or two.
Delaware was not about some purity test. The voters had a choice between two candidates. One agrees with the Republican platform less than half the time the other agrees with the platform a lot more. Can you believe it, in a primary, voters voted for a candidate more in line with their views. Castle's biggest problem was he didn't learn from McCain and at least pretend to be slightly conservative. Heck, McCain went so far this cycle as to pretend to be for enforcing our immigration laws. He knew his weakness and tried to cover it up. All Castle did was sling dirt. Primary voters ignored the dirt and decided not to nominate a Specter/Chafee clone who will later stab 'em in the back.
Separately, interesting how national media is decrying Delaware nominating an unproven candidate yet hardly anyone has noted how New Yorker nominated a crook for another term (Rangel). We may not know what O'Donnell might do in office, but it is pretty clear that Rangel will continue to disgrace his congressional district.
Nobody, Scott Brown beat a retread like Martha Coakely, who took for granted an election, and ran a poor, in fact, almost non existent campaign. As a result, Brown, whom I agree strikes many people as a reasonable alternative to the far left Coakely in a progressive state like Massachussettes electable. Had he run against someone more centrist, he probably would have lost.
And largebill, remember who votes in primaries. No question, the Teabaggers (I just love Maher's name) came out in droves for their candidate. But will the electorate in general vote for someone who sees menace in every bush? I go as far back as vividly recalling the McGovern nomination (I was 17 then), and seeing the throngs at the convention cheering on McGovern, well I thought then, "How can anyone beat such popularity?" Simple really. Run someone with intelligence who can give a viable alternative; in the GOP case, the incumbent. McGovern is a Teabagger. A left wing version, and he attracted those on the far left. The centrists thought McGovern so reactionary then that NIXON won in an enormous landslide. This wasn't Reagan beating a lightweight like Carter (a poor president and even worse ex--the worst ex I can imagine); this wasn't HW beating Mondale; this was a reactionary left winger losing to someone everyone knew for years was a seedy, but really intelligent crook. And of course, it got worse from there.
McCain lost for a whole host of reasons: He ran a truly awful campaign, he was the same party as a disaster of a president ; he felt he had to prove himself to an intolerant part of the electorate, and nominated Palin instead of whom he wanted to nominate: Lieberman. So voters knew pretty quickly he was NOT presidential material. You have to decide for yourself and lead, not be led.
And yes, Rangel is a disgrace, no question there.
I guess you were not the only one protesting Lazio.
Although it is certainly true that in the *general* election it took a weak Democrat as much as strong Republican to throw Ted Kennedy's seat into the R column, the Tea Party's willingness to support him as their last best hope to stop Obamacare shows that ideological purity isn't required.
I don't agree at all that Coakely was a far left candidate in the mold of McGovern (which MA voted for at the time), she was an establishment candidate with nothing to recommend her.
Hey Crank, Congratulations on the NY Post article!!!