Friday, January 27, 2006

Les Roberts: A Bread and Butter Candidate

Earlier today, I responded to part of a comment that was left on an earlier article I wrote about the possibility of a Bruce Tytler for Congress campaign. But, looking back at what I wrote, I realized that I left half of the comment's content unaddressed. I will now rectify that ommission. The anonymous comment concluded as follows:

"if you think somebody like Roberts who wants to talk about Rwanda and international health but doesn't seem to have a clue about the bread and butter issues here in the district can win, you are dreaming."

Okay, let's deal with this criticism of Les Roberts. Am I dreaming? I don't think so. In fact, I've been framed.

Yes, framed. I'm speaking of the attempt to frame the debate about the Les Roberts for Congress campaign by our anonymous commenter. A frame is a kind of rough definition of the issues at hand, the context to define all further discussion of a subject.

Notice what the anonymous commenter tried to pull in this short statement. He, or she, is trying to get you to buy into a seductive but false dichotomy: That a candidate for Congress who is capable of talking about international issues is for some reason incapable of talking about issues that are locally relevant.

Well, how does this frame apply to the real candidate, Les Roberts? As is often the case with political frames, it just doesn't fit reality.

Is Les Roberts capable of discussing the kind of international issues that routinely are addressed by the United States Congress? Yes. Roberts has an impressive depth of experience when it comes to international issues, especially when it comes to issues of science, health, and the effects of war on an international scale. Roberts has testified before Congress, advised the National Security Council, the group of people who in turn directly advise the President of the United States on national security (the old name for homeland security) matters. Roberts has travelled internationally as a part of his work, visiting places like the Congo, Afghanistan and Iraq in times of war. Roberts has put his life on the line to get information to top in the American government and United Nations. His work has been cited by the likes of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

When it comes to international issues, Les Roberts knows what he's talking about. He's been out into the big, wide world, and met it head on.

But does that mean that Les Roberts is somehow mysteriously incapable of talking about bread and butter issues that have a direct local impact on the 24th District? Of course not. To make such a claim is as ridiculous as claiming that the successful film career of Jennifer Lopez precludes her having a successful career in music as well.

Has Les Roberts met with local voters to speak on his experience dealing with the aftermath of genocidal war in Africa? Yes. But, Les Roberts has also made it clear that bread and butter issues are a central part of his campaign. Consider the following couple of statements from the Roberts for Congress campaign web site:

On Jobs and the Economy:

"In Congress, I will fight for a more fiscally responsible government through a balanced federal budget, the elimination of unnecessary and wasteful spending and the implementation of higher accountability standards in our federal agencies. One way to start is to oppose lucrative no-bid contracts and to eliminate extraordinary inefficiencies in the Homeland Security Department. I will also support shifting the benefit of the massive Bush "tax cuts" from the wealthiest Americans who need it the least to the middle class and poorer Americans who need it most."

On Health Care:

"In Congress, I will fight for a health care plan that will guarantee access to high quality health care for all Americans. I will also support legislation that will overturn Medicare's inability to negotiate prescription drug prices."

If that's not bread and butter, I don't know what is. The accusation that Les Roberts is running a campaign only on international issues just doesn't stick. So far, it looks like the Les Roberts campaign is running on all cylinders.

Now, let's examine what the other Democratic candidates have to say about bread and butter issues on their own campaign web sites.



It seems that none of the other Democratic candidates even has a campaign web site.

To the campaigns of Bruce Tytler, Leon Koziol, and Mike Arcuri, I'm begging: Get your campaign web sites up already! Start communicating with the Democrats of the 24th District if you want to be taken seriously.

Until those other Democrats start to actually campaign, I think it's really rotten to accuse the one Democrat who has been campaigning hard from the start of not talking about the issues enough.


Anonymous said...

everything you've said so far says you're a roberts guy. Where does his money come from? What local credentials does he have?

24 Independent said...

Listen, you anonymous person - for all I know you're Michael Arcuri himself. I've said clearly who I am.

Check me out. I am nobody's guy. I am my own guy.

Please deal with the facts at hand.

None of the other Democratic candidates have had enough gumption to even muster a formal announcement speech, or a web site, or anything to tell anybody ANYTHING about why they should be the Democratic nominee.

The other candidates are just running generic name recognition ads on televison. That stuff is the most worthless junk I could imagine.

Until the other candidates actually put some real work into their campaigns, I'll note that they're not working hard on their campaigns.

As long as Les Roberts continues to work hard on his campaign, and actually deal with local issues that the other candidates are silent on, I'll note that.

That doesn't make me a Roberts Guy. That makes me a rational observer.

Compare: One candidate has a substantial campaign that's quickly moving forward. The other candidates are doing next to nothing.

It doesn't take a genius to figure this out.

Anonymous said...

You just aren't making sense. Roberts appears out of nowhere and announces that he is running for congress. He claims to have funding (but who knows how much or where it came from) and he launches a web site (that looks pretty generic and has minimal content). He might be knowledgeable about local issues but there is no way to tell from the broad statements on his site. So he's for accessible health care and eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy. That's a shocker coming from a Democrat candidate. Bruce Tytler and Mike Arcuri are known to be exploring the possibility of running, but you dismiss them because they don't have web sites or haven't formally announced? What about looking for the candidate who can win and who will do something to help the district when he gets to congress? Your man might be the one, but don't count out the others just yet.

24 Independent said...

Anonymous, I don't know who you are, and if you're working with one of these campaigns, but your language is so exaggerated I have a hard time believing that you don't have any kind of particular agenda or allegiance to a particular candidate other than Les Roberts. As you continue to insist on being anonymous, readers will have to judge for themselves whether you have credibility.

I'll repeat again that Les Roberts is not "my man" - not my candidate. So far, however, Les Roberts is the only real candidate that there is.

The Les Roberts campaign has information publicly available that makes it easy for ordinary, non-connected Democrats like myself to get involved. They've got a real campaign headquarters that has been active for weeks, bringing ordinary people from the 24th District in and getting them to volunteer, meet Les Roberts and the campaign staff, and so on.

None of the other Democratic candidates has that. In order to find their contact information, I have had to search for things like Leon Koziol's legal records, documents related to his involvement in litigation, which have his office telephone number on them.

There's no way for anyone to get involved with these other candidates, unless they have some personal connection with them. They're not reaching out to voters. They're giving no information about what their policy positions are.

First, you complain that Les Roberts is merely qualified to discuss international issues, but doesn't say anything about bread and butter issues. Then I show that he has particular positions on local bread and butter issues, but when I point out that none of the other candidates have issued so much as a single official statement about their policies on ANY issue, international, national, or local, you cry foul and accuse me of being a "roberts guy".

You seem determined to promote some other candidate, even in the absence of any information about any of the other candidates' policy proposals - because none of the other candidates has made any policy proposals.

You accuse ME of not making sense?

I'm just observing the immense gap in experience, campaign expertise, and substance between Les Roberts and the other Democrats who say that they will, some day, become candidates. You can't deny that this gap exists, so instead you're getting defensive. Defensive for who?


Who among the other Democrats who say that they will be candidates in this race do you support?

And, importantly - name one single policy initiative that that candidate has made a speech about, written about online, or put an op-ed in a newspaper about?

You can't, because no other Democratic candidate in this race has bothered to make a single policy statement of substance. They're silent. No web sites. No campaign announcements. Not even any interviews of substance with local reporters. All the other candidates will says is that they're going to make an official announcement, sometime, later, about whether they'll really be running.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down. There are mere months before the primary, and before the general election. So far, Les Roberts is the only one who has DONE anything as a candidate.

And you say that he's come out of nowhere? Out of nowhere? He's an internationally recognized resident of our District whose work has been featured in prominent newspapers and professional publications for years. His reputation here and across America is much larger than any of the other candidates.

And Les Roberts has come out of nowhere? Knock it off. The other candidates are nowhere to be seen. No speeches. No campaign headquarters. No meetings with the public. No web sites. Just behind-the-scenes deals with Democratic Party insiders.

Get serious about this. When the other candidates start their campaigns, and have something to say other than that they are going to run, maybe, later, then I'll be happy to discuss what they say.

Until then, all that makes sense is to point out that these other candidates have had nothing to say to the people of the 24th District. That's the only honest thing there is to report.

Anonymous said...

Stamp your feet and sputter all you want, your responses show you are invested in a certain candidate. You seem to have a lot of detailed knowledge about his campaign for someone who pretends to be disinterested. So come on, tell us where his money came from. That is if he really has any.

Anonymous said...

scared are you?

Anonymous said...

sucks to be outed

24 Independent said...

This nonsense has taken a twisted turn.

No, I'm not frightened. Perhaps you should tell me why I should be afraid of... something?

As for being outed, I have directly stated who I am. My name is Jonathan Cook. I live in Trumansburg. Go on. Check me out. I'm a regular guy. I don't even serve on the Democratic Committee for my town, much less hold elected office or work as a secret undercover agent for congressional campaigns. Please put your fantasies in check.

I am not invested literally or figuratively, in any of the candidates. If you look at the FEC report on campaign finance that I believe is due out soon, you'll see that I have not donated a single dime to anyone. Obviously, until that report comes out, I won't able to tell you any specifics about who else has donated, but wait... when the FEC reports, I'll finally have something to talk about for all the candidates.

In a figurative sense, I am invested in the defeat of Sherwood Boehlert, which is why I volunteer my time to this blog. I am also invested in the cause of open, democratic politics in the 24th District. That means I respect candidates who campaign in the open, and am deeply suspicious of candidates who have not.

Where do I get my information about Les Roberts? Well, first of all, he has international fame - well deserved, through his work. So, there's a lot of information about Les Roberts available, whereas with other candidates, like Bruce Tytler, it's mostly little tidbits about an upcoming pumpkinfest. Of course, what I find about these other candidates isn't much of relevance, but when I find it, I put it up here.

Please keep in mind that this blog is just a couple weeks old. Who's the candidate who's been most active in this time frame? Les Roberts. What have the other candidates been doing during this time? Not much.

So, what am I likely to write about? Think hard, now.

As I have said before, I've gotten in touch with some of the campaigns in the district, and not just the Les Roberts campaign. I've also talked to other people I know, and some I'm getting to know, who are involved in district politics. It isn't hard, but that's where my information comes from. It isn't hard.

For example, I recently spoke to Leon Koziol on the telephone. That doesn't make me his man. That makes me curious.

On Monday, you'll read about the outcome of that telephone call.

Please knock off the hyperbole, whether it is in protest of what I write or as threats against what I might write. I'm not stamping my feet or sputtering while I write anything for this blog. Trust me, that would make it difficult.

It's YOU, anonymous writer, who won't answer any questions. You refuse to reveal who you are and where your allegiances lie. For all I know, you could be one of the candidate's brothers, or wives, or children, or maybe Les Roberts called you a mean name when you were both in the 3rd grade.

I've asked you to come clean and reveal who you are, as I have been open about my identity.

I understand that you cannot accept my challenge to name one single policy initiative that any candidate other than Les Roberts has made a speech about, written about online, or put an op-ed in a newspaper about as a part of this congressional campaign. You can't accept that challenge, because no one but Les Roberts has done such things.

I've invited the other candidates to get in touch with me and give me positive information about their campaigns, but so far, none of them have accepted. That's not my problem, especially since I'm working to get personally in touch will ALL the campaigns.

If you see things differently, well then, go write your own blog. Wouldn't that be interesting?

TytlerWatcher said...

You should check out the speculation about Bruce Tytler at the Cortland County Forum. It appears he is destined to run for Congress, gather donations, drop out of the race and give the money to the Cortland County Democratic Committee that can't raise money under Bill Wood.

Tytler was the one term Mayor of Cortland who spent his entire term tied up by a battle with the Water Board and accomplished nothing.