It was a great pleasure to attend Michael Arcuri's talk at the Lansing Community Center last night. At long last, there is a great deal that I can say about Arcuri's candidacy, other than that he has been absent from the race up until now.
To be fair to Arcuri and his supporters, I will need to address his speech in several, separate chunks over the next few days. The gathering went on for about two hours, after all.
For now, as it's a Friday afternoon, I will merely take note of the form of audience participation. There were between 15 and 20 Democrats in attendance, but 13 questions asked, not including my own 2 questions, which I just don't feel that I can fairly report on along with everyone else's. A quick review of the scope of these questions will give us a good idea of the subjects that the primary campaigns ought to address, as the Democrats in that room were probably a good rough representation of the kind of Democrats who are likely to turn out to vote in the primary election.
The subjects of the questions were as follows:
2 about how to reform health care
2 about Bush's warrantless wiretapping against American citizens
2 about general campaign strategy
1 about the district's economy
1 about media consolidation
1 about the proper balance between federal rights and states' rights
1 about the Republican Party's support infrastructure
1 about gay marriage
1 about the ability to get funding for science for universities in the district
1 about political role models
Look at these questions quickly, and you'll see that local issues don't play a dominant role in Democrats' consideration of who they want to support in the upcoming primary election. The large majority of questions dealt with national issues, with actions that can be taken by Congress to impact all Americans, not just people living in New York State's 24th. Campaign organization will have to occur on a local level, but the candidates will need to appeal to a higher level of citizen interest than merely what benefits us in our own back yards.