Yesterday, Michael Arcuri outlined the four main themes of his campaign:
- "health care"
- "war in Iraq"
- "realistic energy policy"
- "economic development"
Compare those to what Les Roberts said would be the themes of his campaign, when he made his own announcement speech, back in January:
- "balance the federal budget"
- "make sure that everybody in the country has health insurance"
- "coherent, sustainable energy policy"
Then, keep in mind that Les Roberts is running his campaign with the backdrop of his work in Iraq, having himself smuggled in to research the extent of civilian deaths resulting from the invasion and occupation. Most of the speeches given by Les Roberts have been about Iraq. The Iraq War is the tacitly accepted main theme of the Les Roberts campaign.
It looks like the Les Roberts campaign and the Michael Arcuri campaign are working from the same playbook. Balancing the federal budget and stimulating economic development fit in the same kind of general slot of economic policy, though Arcuri's expression has more of a local perspective, while Roberts's plan has a more national focus.
The interests of economic development for the 24th District, funded through congressional funding, and balancing the federal budget by cutting programs or increasing taxes, seem to be naturally in conflict. A powerful, senior member of Congress might be able to pull off a lot of pork barrel spending for the 24th District within the restrictions of a balanced budget, but a freshman member of the House almost certainly could not pull it off.
For that matter, Sherwood Boehlert couldn't pull it off either. Boehlert's efforts to increase science spending have been repeatedly smacked down by his Republican colleagues, making Boehlert an embarassingly weak kind of jack-in-the-box, who always comes out saying something nice, but inevitably gets put back in his place. The 24th District would do better with a fresh start, from someone who actually has a chance of establishing some authority within the House of Representatives.