Saturday, June 24, 2006

Arcuri and Meier Squabble Over NYRI Fringe Issue

What does NYRI stand for? Nonstop Yawning Reaction Issue. That's what's going on outside of of the corner of New York's 24th district that serves as home base to both Ray Meier and Michael Arcuri.

Oh, sure, in the northeast fringe of the 24th District, the NYRI debate is roaring strong. Elsewhere, most likely voters haven't even heard of the controversy, and even those who have heard about it don't care about it much.

And then, what are Arcuri and Meier doing on the NYRI issue? They're arguing over who opposes the NYRI project the most. Mike Arcuri's latest statements on the issue are supposed to be slams against Ray Meier, but to most of the district, they sound more like a hissy fit over nitpicky details. Arcuri says that, yes, Ray Meier opposes the NYRI, just like Arcuri, but accuses Meier of supporting other energy infrastructure projects at other times in other places that aren't at issue now.

This is not the kind of stuff that sticks in the minds of voters. It's not the kind of material that strongly differentiates candidates from each other.

In terms of election strategy, playing around with this issue brings the congressional candidates down to the level of local politics, and threatens to derail both campaigns.

1. The number of voters who care about this issue enough to affect their choice of candidate is too small to carry victory
2. Most voters who care about this issue are already familiar with Arcuri and Meier and have likely already decided which congressional candidate they support
3. The difference between Arcuri and Meier on this issue is so slight that it's difficult for voters to tell how it favors one over the other
4. The connection of this intrastate issue to the interstate and international jurisdiction of the House of Representatives is not easy to communicate to voters
5. Most voters in the district just don't give a damn
6. Undue focus on the NYRI issue is distracting the candidates from issues that have a district-wide appeal

Democrats from outside Michael Arcuri's home turf are getting downright bored with this campaign, finding little to get motivated about. We've had one Democratic County Committee member admit that he doesn't know what to say to voters about where Michael Arcuri stands on the issues. Another Democratic Committee member, Mary Ann from Dryden, notes that her petition to get Arcuri on the ballot is lying on her kitchen table, blank. She just can't bring herself to get excited about Michael Arcuri's candidacy.

The reason is simple: Mike Arcuri isn't giving us Democrats much to get excited about. This is a pathetic state of affairs for an open seat in an election year where anger at the Republican Congress is strong. With just barely over four months to go before Election Day, what was once a red hot race with lots of action has cooled down to near freezing.

It's time for Michael Arcuri to graduate from his past as a local politician and show that he has the kind of vision and leadership that deserves our support. A shouting match over who hates the NYRI most won't do it. A plan to expand sections of route 12 won't do it. Arcuri needs to stop playing tiddlywinks with these local fringe issues, stand up, and start acting like a statesman instead of like a member of the Utica City Council.


Anonymous said...

Gee, maybe they are just addressing it because it's the RIGHT thing to do. God forbid. I mean why bother worrying about eminant domain in 8 counties and the health and welfare of people if it doesn't get any votes, right?

You are a cold cold man on a perpetual hissy fit.

Anonymous said...

Ray Meier has to stand up and do something. After all, Joe Bruno took his coveted chip plant and put it right in Bruno's district instead of Meier's.

Arcuri should hit Meier as ineffective in stopping a political heavyweight like Bruno from running him over.

Anonymous said...

How is this the RIGHT thing to do? What so many selfish people in Oneida County don't like to talk about is that this is part of an essential plan to avoid the kind of massive regional blackout that we all suffered from just a few years ago.

Both Arcuri and Meier are WRONG on this issue, but they will cater to the local anger in order to try to promote themselves. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

Here in Norwich this is a big issue and it shows that Meier is a tool of special interests. This is also a national issue since federal regulators may eventually decide the issue.

Anonymous said...

This whole anti-NYRI posturing is a clear example of the kind of insular thinking that is killing upstate New York.

Arcuri should be fighting for this project. It means thousands of new construction jobs, cheaper power for everyone in the long term, and it helps keep the environmentally sensitive areas downstate safe.

Anonymous said...

This NYRI Powerline is just a larger scale version of the "Bossert Site" cleanup issue we all sat thru During the mayoral election in Utica. Garrimone and Julian sparred over Bossert, and now, long after the election transpired, the Bossert site looks the same as it did while it was an "issue" in that race.

I hate it, but it looks as if we're going to get hit with that powerline, one version or the other, so yes it's an issue. It would be good also though, if the candidates would show us a little more about issues other than this, carnival.

Wake up and smell the BS...

Anonymous said...

You're dead on with this issue. It doesn't have anything to do with the House Race. It's an Oneida County issue, with Onedia County politicians playing jab jab like the petty local politicians they are.

Anonymous said...

The company, which is from Canada, complete with its own crews, has already publicly admitted that the cost savings will be downstate but that upstate power rates will go UP as a result of this project.

Anonymous said...

"Legislature Blocks NYRI's Hopes For Land Grab"

Still think this is about Oneida County? It's a full Upstate issue and the body is paying attention to it. It will be a federal issue soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Duh, what part of "from the Mohawk Valley to Orange County" don't you understand?

This issue is a non-issue for most of us in the 24th District.

When will those Oneida County people get their heads out of the sand and start paying attention to the needs of those of us who don't live in Utica and Rome?

Anonymous said...

"When will those Oneida County people get their heads out of the sand and start paying attention to the needs of those of us who don't live in Utica and Rome?"

The correct question is when will the Arcuri supporters from Oneida get their heads out of the sand? Take a look at Ray Meier's website. There are plenty of references to the rest of the district in Meier's work but not in Arcuri's.

For the rest of the district the issues are the economy and Iraq. It's also what Arcuri can clearly differentiate himself from Meier on.

Meier and Arcur were in Cortland for a debate on Social Security and both said they want it left as it. Arcuri tried to stick Meier with the label that Meier would follow the Republican majority and privatize it, but it didn't really stick.

Unfortunately, I don't think Arcuri really believes much differently from Meier on Iraq. Frankly, there is not a chance the Iraqis will survive us leaving whether it's today or in the next millenia. If the best trained and equiped military in the world (our's) is taking huge numbers of casualties, imagine what the Iraqis are going to suffer. Failure to admit failure will cost a lot more American lives in exchange for giving the radical Muslims plenty of recruiting posters. It's the Republican's Vietnam. Declare "Peace with Honor" and get out.

But the real difference is the economy. It's not the policies even, it's the areas that get favored. The Republicans nationally are favoring the South and West, while the NY Republicans are favoring the Hudson Valley and downstate for economic development. Arcuri should be hammering Meier on the AMD chip plant going into boss Joe Bruno's district in the upper Hudson Valley. Marcy got screwed out of the deal by the state and every part of this district can understand how badly any part of the district needs that type of development. It's an Oneida County story that will play everywhere. No downside. Meier was completely ineffective with his own party bosses.

Ray Meier is a professional politician which is both his strength and his weakness. He knows how to campaign and win, yet he has vulnerabilities like the Republican leadership which he owes allegiance to. Arcuri needs to attack Meier as a proxy for Bruno, who only wants economic development in his own district and for Dick Cheney, the poorly regarded VP who thinks nothing of sending young Americans to their death in Iraq but used a series of draft deferments to avoiding serving himself.

Anonymous said...

"from the Mohawk Valley to Orange County"

learn to read a map. One bigger than your basement.

Biggus Dickus said...

Seriously, is this a real issue for you guys? Is that how disorganized the party has become?

Arcuri has spent, what, an hour on this? How long does it take to draft up a letter and a couple of press releases?

The problem isn't that he's talking about NYRI, since it obviously isn't exactly crowding his Daytimer, but that he isn't talking about anything else.

Your friend forever,
Biggus Dickus

Anonymous said...

Duh, back atcha 8:23. How professional of you. Now go count the counties upstate that are involved, realize it's not just Oneida, re-read the comment and get back to us on it.

It is kind of ironic that a bunch of guys who call themselves Progressives don't really give a rat's butt about the health issues or eminant domain threating people who just don't happen to live in their own little hamlet.

Anonymous said...

I was just looking at the DCCC list of candidates to see who else the DCCC is supporting this race. I was surprised to see that our own Michael Arcuri did not make the list of candidates in the Red to Blue program. They are highlighting 21 candidates there who are helping them take back the House. I was led to believe that Michael Arcuri had the support of the DCCC. Has he lost it? Why is the only mention I can find of him on the website in the list of candidates from every district in the country. Were we mislead?

Curious said...

Bless you, Biggus. Finger on the pulse as always. Yeah, excessive self-promotion is NOT exactly MA's most pressing problem.

Anonymous said...

12:06 - Red to Blue criteria: "Red to Blue candidates have demonstrated their know how on the ground, in the press, and through fundraising. Each of these candidates has met specific goals, and they are ready to help us win a Democratic Majority in 2006."

I've got a feeling Mike Arcuri's fundraising is way behind. Without a professional congressional campaign manager to tell him to quit his day job, get on the phone raising money and spend another 8 hours a day at fundraising events and community events, he isn't meeting the DCCC goals and therefore isn't a highly competitive candidate.

Anonymous said...

Les Roberts sees NYRI as an important issue. That's because he actually is a progressive.