Saturday, April 15, 2006

If Spitzer Took A Stand, Why Couldn't Arcuri?

Supporters of congressional candidate Michael Arcuri have been struggling to come up with an explanation for the fact that, although Arcuri now says that starting the war was a "a bad, unnecessary decision", there is no sign that he took a stand against the war when it counted, back in early 2003 when there was still a chance to stop the war before it started.

Arcuri's supporters have quickly come up with a justification for this apparent inaction: Michael Arcuri was ethically bound to remain silent because, as a District Attorney, he is not supposed to publicly declare his positions on political issues.

Just yesterday, someone left a comment here from this perspective, and added a challenge to it:

"Arcuri is a DA. He had no business formulating an opinion on the Iraq war at the time. It would have been unethical. I challenge you to name ONE DA who spoke out for or against the war."

There are two problems with this claim, one of which I've already noted.

First, there's the problem that Michael Arcuri is a District Attorney now, and he's taking a public position on the war now. If take such a position against the war now, why couldn't he take such a position back in 2003? What's changed?

Well, one thing that's changed is that Michael Arcuri is now wants a job other than District Attorney. Michael Arcuri wants to be promoted to Congress now, and Congress deals with issues of war and peace. But, Michael Arcuri has refused to resign from his position as District Attorney during the campaign, keeping the job just in case he loses. He is still under all the professional and ethical obligations as he was before the campaign.

Another thing that's changed is that the war is not politically popular any more.

Secondly, there's that point in the challenge: That I should name one District Attorney who spoke out in favor of or opposition to the war. Well, I'll go that challenge one better. I'll name the public attorney for our entire state, the man who is, in effect, the District Attorney for all of New York: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer spoke in public about his support of the starting the Iraq War. In New York, he's the district attorney of all district attorneys, so if he could speak out in public about his position on starting the Iraq War, there's no reason that Michael Arcuri couldn't have done the same thing.

These explanations just don't hold up.

Now, some people are upset at me for just asking the question of whether Michael Arcuri supported George W. Bush in starting the Iraq War in 2003, or whether Arcuri was against the war at the time.

Arcuri could come out and say that he was privately against the war, and gave some kind of quiet support, such as financial support, to antiwar non-profit organizations. So far, Arcuri hasn't made any such statement, and until he does, voters will naturally have questions on the issue.

How long Arcuri's campaign wants voters to ask these questions is up to them. As usual, the Arcuri campaign seems to be a bit slow in their reactions.


Anonymous said...

For the sake of comparison, could you provide some kind of citation for Les Robert's opposition to the war? The only articles available via Lexis-Nexis that mention "Les Roberts" during 2002 or 2003 cover his work in Africa. Is there some other source that would demonstrate Roberts took a stand against the war? Could you provide us with the source you're relying on to make that assertion?

Anonymous said...

Jon - even more interesting...FEC reports coming in...Roberts got another $106K in the first quarter, Jones $26K, Meier $176K but it includes a large number of General Election contributions which distort his actual fundraising for the primary (where everyone else is). No reports for Arcuri, Koziol or Tytler yet. I wonder where Tytler's money is going?

I wonder where Arcuri will be? Roberts is still getting his just from friends and $150K in total is impressive.

Arcuri is going to have quite a bit of union money too and his supporters will probably be talking about how he raised money in the district. Fine, contrast the Arcuri and Meier in district money and see who is going to get the Oneida money. The fact is that it will take substantial out of district money to fund several million dollar campaigns and if you can't raise it out of district, you can't win.

This is going to be very interesting...

Anonymous said...

that is what I have been asking for from you for the last 5 days since you started this new attack on arcuri.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Jonathan, where were you on the war in Afghanistan? What about Roberts? All war is evil.

Anonymous said...

And while you are working on 7:49's request, you said Eliot Spitzer came out against the war as Attorney General and publically in 2003. Could you please point us toward that link as well?

Anonymous said...

Well, seems no Arcuri supporters are here trumpeting their man's fundraising. I've got a feeling he might be far behind Roberts. I wonder if the DCCC is going to need to be rethinking their support.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere on this blog, money being raised was mentions. This is the current information on fund raising activities. Enjoy your holidays:

Michael Arcuri, Oneida County District Attorney and Democratic candidate for Congress from the 24th Congressional District, leads all the announced candidates in both political parties in his fundraising efforts.

Arcuri raised $186,507 in this quarter compared to $176,090 for Republican Ray

Meier, $106,110.19 for Democrat Les Roberts, and $23,684.80 for Republican Brad Jones.

Arcuri also leads in the total amount raised since filing as a candidate. Arcuri’s total is $191,657 to Meier’s $176,090, Roberts’ $145,848.35, and Jones’ $68,137.48.

In the Democratic Party, Arcuri outraised his only remaining opponent, Les
Roberts, by $80,396.81 in the last quarter.

Anonymous said...

I just checked the FEC website.

Arcuri's numbers aren't up yet. Roberts raised $156,000 total, but that includes the ~$50K he had from the previous quarter. This quarter he's raised about $100K.

But the big news is that he spent $55,000. How does a candidate spend $55K in the first quarter and only raise $100K? Either he's running the most inefficient fundraising operation in history or he's paying his staff way more than they are worth.

Compare that to Meier who raised $176K with NO EXPENDITURES!

All of this points to the fact that the amount raised isn't the important number. Cash on hand is. It's similar to a business. Net profit is what matters, not revenue. I could generate huge revenues selling dollar bills for 99 cents, but I would have no profits.

Roberts only has $100K on hand (and that doesn't include the $10K in debt that he owes). That gives him little more than half of what Meier has to spend. And since money now makes it easier to raise money later, Roberts has really gotten himself behind the curve.

This is very bad news for Roberts and indicates that he's running a pretty inept campaign. If he keeps this up, he won't have a snowball's chance in November. I just hope that Arcuri's cash on hand numbers are better. Does anonymous 8:03 have the numbers for Arcuri's cash on hand?

24 Independent said...

Tell you what: I'll give you TWO links for Spitzer's public pro-war stance - using his office as Attorney General of New York State.

See this morning's article.

If Spitzer could take a stand in 2003 - albeit the wrong stand -, how come it's taken Arcuri three years to take a stand?

Anonymous said...

"This morning" is not 2003. Believing something is not the same as taking a public stand.

Anonymous said...

Hi 12:09 no I don't have that number, I got those numbers because they were being released to the press. I am no longer very active in politics, as it can be all-consuming and ruin your life and I prefer to have a life, so I'm not a physical campaign worker--but was able to get this information thru the grace of a good active democrat. The rest of the information will most likely turn up at your link once it is posted in the data base though.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Meier didn't have any expenditures because he only started a campaign in the last week of March.

If you review Roberts expenditures, you'll see typical congressional expenditures including a DC consultant. That's a key item. If you don't see that in the other campaigns, wonder hard if they know they are running a national level contest instead of a state or local level contest. The number of locals with congressional campaign experience is pretty limited. Particularly when the candidates have been so weak.

I'm going to be very interested in Arcuri's report in two areas. One, is he collecting a lot of money limited to the general election like Meier? Meier's fundraising is distorted by the number of contributors giving $2200 for the primary and another $2200 for the general election. It makes you look better than you are and that was Meier's goal in that short time frame. Arcuri didn't do any fundraising at all in the last quarter of 2005 when he was actually a candidate so he needs a big showing to give the DCCC confidence in him. It may well turn out that Roberts has more money from individual contributors that can be used in the primary. Arcuri's problem is that he may not be very comfortable making calls for money as a sitting DA. The fact that he continues to hold that position is an increasing liability.

Secondly, what is Arcuri spending his money on? At this point, you need to be accumulating money for eventual media campaigns and your operations need to be geared to that along with building an operation that will get you the requisite number of signatures to get on the ballot. I can assure you that the county committees won't provide you with enough signatures. These are half baked, inefficient county committees which aren't particularly motivated by candidates who don't come around on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

11:26 isn't kidding about getting signatures. When it comes to signatures everybody goes into a coma and you are on your own. I know this from experience. On the other hand, this country has been so beaten up by the neocons that it might be an incentive for the party to help out. I guess I can hope so anyways.