Sunday, July 30, 2006

Take the Lead, and Nitpicking Won't Matter

In this election, it is time for Michael Arcuri to take the lead.

No, I'm not talking about the lead in the polls, or the lead in the fundraising. I'm talking about taking the lead, as one partner must do on the dance floor. It is time for Mike Arcuri to stand up, hold his head up straight, and demonstrate some leadership.

The essence of leadership is the ability to define the terms of whatever competition one enters. In a race, a leader sets the pace for others to follow, even if he is not at the head of the pack. In a political campaign, a leader defines the issues that matter and forces his opponent to address them.

Right now, Michael Arcuri's campaign is allowing Ray Meier to take the lead. Arcuri has no choice, because he doesn't have any leading moves prepared himself.

The issue that leads the discussion at present is whether the Arcuri for Congress campaign should have taken a check from someone who turned out to be a convicted felon. A number of connected checks, all from people connected to an insurance company under investigation for fraud, were accepted by Michael Arcuri at first, but then, when questions were raised, were returned.

Although many Democrats don't want to admit it, suspicions about the donations are quite valid. There are signs that there's more to the donations than meets the eye. An article in the Observer-Dispatch makes the point quite well in describing the strange behavior of one of the donors, Michele Consiglio:

"I personally made the contribution because I feel Mr. Arcuri is the man for the job, and it came out of my money," said Consiglio, 45.

Consiglio declined to give her salary. The mean average for a paralegal salary in New York state is $47,460, according to the state Department of Labor.

When asked why Arcuri is the best candidate for the job, Consiglio said she had another call to take and asked an Observer-Dispatch reporter to hold."

The article further points out that Consiglio appears not to be registered to vote.

The important thing is that there is no evidence yet that Michael Arcuri did anything that could at all be regarded as a crime. These issues of campaign financing, and who wrote what check, working for what employer won't stick in voters' minds - if voters are given anything else to think about.

Michael Arcuri's problem with this issue is due to the fact that he hasn't given voters much else to think about. All summmer long, with no primary opponent, Michael Arcuri should have been busy defining the debate, communicating powerful positions on the issues that matter to people across the district. Arcuri has been slow on his feet, ignoring many opportunities to land solid blows against Meier, staying silent on most issues, and wasting his time with the NYRI issue, which doesn't motivate voters outside the corner of the district where Arcuri and Meier both already have established political identities.

Jordan Karp, Arcuri's campaign spokesperson, says that voters don't want to hear about who wrote what check to which candidate. Rather, Karp says, voters want to hear about issues like the war in Iraq and health care.

Karp's right. The trouble is that the Arcuri for Congress campaign hasn't really been doing much on the issues of the war in Iraq and health care. Michael Arcuri has yet to develop a comprehensive, coherent, and compelling policy for dealing with either the war in Iraq or health care... or if he has, he sure hasn't done a good job communicating about them. Take a look at Arcuri's web site, and you'll see the two same old tired sound bites that offer vague statements but not much in the way of clear solutions.

When Les Roberts dropped out of the race and endorsed Michael Arcuri, it was suggested that Arcuri's campaign would make use of the considerable experience and expertise that Roberts possesses on both the Iraq War and health care, in order to develop impressive policy positions in both these areas. To date, Arcuri has yet to do so, and that's been a foolish, arrogant choice. Arcuri may have had unbeatable muscle in his political machine, but in terms of content, he was clearly outclassed by Roberts. Arcuri's policy weakness has made him vulnerable and reactive when he ought to be commanding.

We Democrats have been hearing for too long now that we need not worry, that everything is going according to plan, and that the Arcuri campaign has some secret ingenious plan that will make everything all right. Everything is not all right. In a swing district campaign for an open seat in a year in which the Republicans are more unpopular than they have ever been in living memory, the Democratic candidate ought to be making a vigorous performance and maneuvering the right wing candidate into a corner.

It's long past time for Arcuri's campaign to stop making excuses and start taking the initiative. I've been writing articles promoting Arcuri's campaign on this blog for weeks now, though, as longtime readers know, I'm not wild about the way that Arcuri is runnning for office. From the beginning, Arcuri has taken too much for granted, and relied too much on behind-the-scenes politicking.

The reason I'm writing in support of Arcuri's candidacy is not because I've got some naive idea that Arcuri willl be a great member of the House of Representatives. He won't. But, Arcuri has the potential to be a good member of the House, and that's a lot better than can be said of Ray Meier.

I've been working, stretching, searching for reasons that voters in our district ought to vote for Arcuri. I came up with a list of 20 reasons, and the sad thing is that most of those reasons didn't really come from Arcuri's campaign at all. At just over 100 days now until Election Day, that's not how it ought to be. Arcuri ought to have plenty of information supporting his campaign available, ready for supporters to use. Instead, Arcuri's Democratic supporters have to make it up for themselves on the fly. The pro-Arcuri bloggers have largely dried up, making one or two reactive posts per week. Arcuri isn't giving them much to say, and they seem tired of doing all the work themselves.

Campaigning on evenings and weekends isn't cutting it. Michael Arcuri has a job that demands more than 40 hours a week of attention, and that's rough. On the other hand, it's the job that he was elected to do just last November - the job that he's using as his platform for this campaign. Arcuri can't very well quit or take a leave of absence from being District Attorney now. So, it's Arcuri, not Meier, who is in a corner. Perhaps Arcuri ought to have anticipated these problems before he started his campaign.

So, I hate to nitpick, but if Michael Arcuri would stand up and take the lead, he wouldn't have to worry about nitpicking.


Zorro said...

Put on your tinfoil hats. This whole scandal is just one part of a larger plan. The fucking Repukes are using this election to test their Black Book strategy and so far it's succeeding beyond their wildest dreams. THERE IS A TEAM OF REPUBLICAN OPERATIVES HERE RIGHT NOW USING THE INTERNET TO MANIPULATE THIS ELECTION.

You think all these anti-Arcuri blogs just popped up? You think they're not working together? You think they're not getting funds and information from a central source?

Then you haven't been paying attention.

While Arcuri has been sitting back they've been setting the agenda. They're the ones that brewed up this fucking bullshit scandal. They're the ones that started the Ray Meir is fucking gay thing so they can come back later and out someone. That's a classic Karl Rove tactic! They're the ones with real fucking guerillas making hits in the middle of the night.

All of this crap is being payed for and coordinated from a central source. You think these guys have the time and resources to comb through records themselves? You think they're paying for these signs themselves? Bullshit.

They are a fucking merciless machine and they will not stop until they've buried Arcuri. If Arcuri isn't willing to stand up and stop it for his own sake he'd better start fucking thinking about how it's going to impact other races. You can get your ass that if they can pull it off here they're going to do it everywhere in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Zorro is a great example of the typical leftist- mix a bit of conspiracy with a lot of profanity-no thought, no ideas, just rant.How sad for Arcuri and the Party

Anonymous said...

Ray Meier is gay?

Anonymous said...

Ray Meier is gay?

I've heard rumors about a candidate that divorced under mysterious circumstances, left his family, and has a "good friend" living with him, but I didn't think it was Ray.

Anonymous said...

Yes Z has a foul mouth....and a very valid point. The entire thing is coordinated and, although it appears sudden it is hardly so. Their job is to do a Cleland on Arcuri to help a slime ball like Saxby Chambliss. Rat Meier is our Saxby. Their job is to do a mini nuke like the big nuke they did to mccain, the deserving bastard. The push polls will be next. However, I honestly and truly think that these few internet slimers who use different blogs to pretend there are more of them, really don't know their territory. The net is zilch around here. Their readership stats are pathetic and will stay pathetic. That's why they won't post a nice link where you can SEE just exactly how many people are reading their schtick. Besides, without saying a whole lot more, sometimes even Karl Rove's ideas blow up in own his pink-eyed face. Rat Meier will not come away from this clean. His operatives are too careless and can't help their bragging ways. This is always a mistake, and they are fools if they think they are the only ones who are going to have any fun.

Anonymous said...

Dont be foolish don't you know there are no gay republicans. Its kind of hard to believe either sex would want Meier. Have you ever seen him in person, he looks like a cartoon character.

24 Independent said...

7:55 - You can't have it both ways.

You can't complain about bloggers ruining Michael Arcuri's campaign with their super-devious ploys and then say that the Internet doesn't matter to politics.

You know damn well that the Internet DOES matter - for one thing, Arcuri would be doing a lot better with his national fundraising now if he bothered to make a real effort online. You just don't LIKE that the Internet matters.

Biggus Dickus said...

Well, if I'm part of a co-ordinated effort I'd really like my check. I've been doing my schtick since the last election and feel like I'm getting stiffed.

I've also admitted to having a pathetic readership of, at most, 20 people a month.

I guess that could be some kind of devious ploy to make it look like I'm really important and influential by saying exactly the opposite, but I'm not quite grasping the logic there. I'm a gnat.

I'd be less worried about blogs and more worried about the ALF guys. They're the dangerous ones.

Your friend forever,
Biggus Dickus

Anonymous said...

You guys are hilarious.I suppose a Republican conspiracy forced Arcuri to take money from a felon.On the one hand you guys mock the stupidity of Republicans; on the other hand they control all even forcing your candidates to act certain ways and fixing electtions right under the noses of Democrat election officials.If you are that dumb to be so manipulated, you deserve to keep losing.By the way 24 don't keep answering with the lame criticsm of Anonymous use since you offer it!

24 Independent said...

I offer anonymity, but the best commenters choose not to use that. I regard it as a kind of restricted option: People are free to post anonymously here, but I feel free to point out that the credibility of people who won't identify themselves is suspect.

NoMoreArcuri said...

12:o5, nice. But I still like John, and even Bob a little. You both do have a dream.