Over the last couple of days, I've had my hackles in reaction to the style of the Arcuri for Congress campaign.
Although Mike Arcuri has practically no information out in public about his stands on important issues, and has been publicly campaigning for a little over a week, I saw the message sent on the national scale that I was supposed to believe that the Democratic primary is practically all sewn up here, with Arcuri the victor. That has raised my hackles.
Seeing the Arcuri campaign delete questions off their discussion forum, and then delete their discussion forum altogether, thus avoiding questions about abortion raised my hackles even more.
At various times so far in this race, I've been accused of being a hack for the Les Roberts campaign, for the Michael Arcuri campaign, and for the Bruce Tytler campaign. I've also been accused of taking money from the Republican National Committee to write this blog. Whenever I offer criticism or an unflattering picture of one particular candidate, supporters of that candidate seem to think that I must be in league with their opposition.
For the record, I'm just a guy. I'm a self-employed consultant who has business outside the district, and none within it. A good deal of my work is in qualitative research, but I also have some entrepreneurial fingers in some political work - outside the 24th District. No one in the 24th District is paying me to do anything at all. I don't even get money for mowing anybody's lawn here.
I came into this race with no allegiances. I just wanted a new representative in Congress. I have not endorsed any candidate, and I still don't have enough information to do so. I happen to think that all three candidates have strengths, but that all three candidates need to do a lot more to communicate relevant details with voters.
I write what I see. In the last couple days, I have not liked what I've seen about the Arcuri campaign. But, if the Arcuri campaign is upset with what I'm writing, then I'm willing to take a look at any redeeming material they have to show me. If they want me to like what I see in the Arcuri campaign, then I'm begging them to show me of Arcuri what they want me to see.
Get in contact, Arcuri people. You have my information.
Want me to see that you're not shutting down the discussion board on the Arcuri site to prevent voters from asking questions that make you nervous, on issues like abortion? Then show me the documentation that this is all just some kind of computer glitch disaster, as one of the people affiliated with your campaign has claimed.
Want me to see that Arcuri has a clear position on health care? Then articulate one. Don't just say that you think that people need good health care, and leave it at that. That's not nearly good enough.
Want me to see that Arcuri has a position on Iraq that is different from George W. Bush's? Show me.
Want me to see beyond the muddled assertions of Arcuri that this is no time to be neutral, yet it is time to be a nonpartisan moderate? Then show me what kind of Democrat Arcuri is. In detail.
Michael Arcuri's team has spent months maneuvering behind the scenes so that, after just one week of officially being in the campaign, and no public polls or information on a single dime raise by Arcuri, they could have Washington D.C. publications sweep in and declare Arcuri to be the favorite, the frontrunner.
You reap what you sow. If you want Arcuri to be seen as the Democratic frontrunner, then that means that he's going to get the majority of the scrutiny, and I do intend to keep up my scrutiny.
So, the Arcuri campaign has two options. The Arcuri campaign can have me scrutinize their campaign with their help, seeing some rich information about what Arcuri is doing right. Alternatively, the Arcuri campaign can keep holding all its cards to its chest, and not let me or the other Democratic voters of the 24th District know very much about who Michael Arcuri is and what he wants to do as a member of Congress.
It doesn't take a genius to see which option will have me writing more positively about the Arcuri campaign. If Michael Arcuri keeps on campaigning with an attitude of secrecy, then he will elicit the same kind of suspicion that the secrecy of the Bush Administration provokes among thinking Americans.
I don't want things to be this way. I want to see an open campaign, and to sing the praises of the candidate.
I want to be positive about Arcuri, but I can't do that without meaningful information. I'm not so partisan that I'm just going to fall in line and say that I see an open door, when in fact what stands before me is a padlock and an activated burglary alarm.
We voters should not have to beg for information about the people who are asking for the privilege of representing us in our government.
We know that Michael Arcuri is too intelligent not to have clear policy positions on the important matters of the day already worked out. It's time to share those positions.
Come on. Let's do this the right way.