Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ghosts of What Could Have Been

This morning's news reflects a huge tragedy in Iraq, and a smaller one here in New York's 24th Congressional District. The team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University led by Les Roberts has released the results of a new study to update its 2004 study of deaths of Iraqis resulting from the American invasion and occupation. The new study finds that approximately 650,000 Iraqis have been killed because of the war the Americans started there. When the margin of error is taken into account, the reality could actually anywhere between 426,369 and 793,663 dead.

So, let's be conservative and take the low estimate. Even at that number, this is an unprecedented slaughter that's taking place in Iraq. That's right - unprecedented. It is estimated that Saddam Hussein's government, over the space of 20 years, killed 290,000 Iraqis. That means that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has Saddam Hussein beat by 136,369 victims - at a minimum.

For you to imagine the impact this is having on Iraqis, reflect on this: The equivalent death rate from such an invasion of the United States would result in 4 million dead Americans.

This, and the Republicans are still going on about how September 11 changed everything. September 11 resulted in only 3,000 dead. That was a very bad day, but it was just one day, and it's only a grain of sand compared to the violence that's going on in Iraq.

For that violence, every American who did nothing to stand against the invasion of Iraq in the months before the war in 2002 and 2003 is responsible. That includes Ray Meier and that includes Michael Arcuri. Neither one lifted a finger to try to stop the war.

Our election this year could have been different. Instead of having a choice between unworthy candidate Michael Arcuri and worthy candidate Ray Meier, we could have had a choice between a strong Democrat and Ray Meier.

If Rahm Emanuel and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had not come into our congressional district to interfere and push out all of Michael Arcuri's competitors, and if our Democratic County Committees had not so eagerly helped Emanuel do it, we could have had the time to properly evaluate the worthiness of both Mike Arcuri and Les Roberts. We Democratic voters could have had a choice.

We could have had an intelligent Democrat. We could have had a Democrat who actually knows something about policy issues. We could have had a Democrat who is motivated by trying to make America a better place, not by his own ambition.

We could have had a Democrat capable of talking for himself, not just repeating the talking points produced by the DCCC like a puppet. We could have had real debates based on substance. We could have had a Democrat that we believe in, not a Democrat that we have to apologize for.

Instead, we got no choice. Michael Arcuri was forced upon us. And now, he's going around the district talking about what a great thing the Military Commissions Act is.

Now, the rallying cry of Democrats across the 24th district is, "If we elect Michael Arcuri to Congress this year, at least we can get rid of him in 2008!"

The members of the Democratic County Committees in our district ought to resign their posts in December out of shame for allowing things to get this bad.


Anonymous said...

Start by clearing out the deadwood in Cortland. Chairman Bill Wood is now only openly supporting Mike Arcuri after embarrassing the County Committee and himself by supporting Suozzi and Charlie King in their respective primary losses.

Allen Carstensen said...

Anonymous said - "The Democrats don't represent me anymore. You people who defend the Military Commissions Act, and its supporter Mike Arcuri, make me sick."
I can't remember anyone posting here defending the Military Commissions Act, and as for supporting Michael Arcuri, it makes me sick to, but I have to, so we can take back Congress. I think we have the same goals.

24 Independent said...

Actually Allen, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

You don't HAVE to vote for Michael Arcuri to support the Democrats taking back Congress.

You COULD support a Democratic candidate in another district, one who hasn't been so stupid as Arcuri to support the Military Commissions Act. It is increasingly looking as if the Democrats are going to gain MORE than the 15 minimum required to take back the House. So, the Democratic Party nationally doesn't really need Michael Arcuri, and would be better off without him in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should just get back to your 30 reasons why to vote against Meier.

One would be to make a visit by Dick Cheney and Laura Bush a kiss of death to any candidate.

I don't want to have the reactionary republicans here crowing about how the 24th supports Bush and Cheney by electing a Congressman they support.

Thinking the 15 seats doesn't include this one is counting your chickens before they are hatched.

Allen Carstensen said...

Jon - "You COULD support a Democratic candidate in another district"

Well, I thought of that. I checked out Eric Massa, who is against the Military Commissions Act. He's in the next district over to the west - the 29th. He's running against a rabid right winger Randy Kuhl. I spoke with Massa and some of his campaign people. I'm waiting for them to get back to me to tell me how I can help. If they don't get back to me soon I'll try again. I think working for other more progressive candidates is a good idea. I think it's wrong to give up on our own district though.

Picture this. It doesn't go as well as you think. We take back 14 seats. Arcuri loses by a hair. You're left wondering for the rest of your life if you were responsible for the catastrophic results.

24 Independent said...

Picture watching Michael Arcuri support more and more legislation like the Military Commissions Act, and realizing that you're responsible for giving him the power to do it - and the power to shut out any Democratic challengers as well.

I'll support the Democrats worth supporting. I've found my own significant ways to do it - the opportunities are numerous and easy to come by.

Michael Arcuri is not a Democrat worth supporting, so I'm taking my support to Democrats elsewhere.

If you think the Democratic County Committees will allow a challenger against a Democratic incumbent in this district to go forward in 2008, I think you'll find you're mistaken.

24 Independent said...

I'll go back to writing those 30 reasons not to vote for Ray Meier the minute that Michael Arcuri repudiates his support for the Military Commissions Act. I've made that clear.

Arcuri will not admit that he made a mistake - even though everyone here knows that the Military Commissions Act is a terrible law.

That reminds me a lot of the pig headedness of George W. Bush - not a quality we need in a member of Congress.

Anonymous said...

Les Roberts isn't the Democratic candidate because he dropped out. He had money and alot of folks behind him. He could have forced a primary if he'd wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Another reason to vote against Ray Meier. I'd rather read Jon's diatribes against Mike Arcuri in the Ithaca Journal than read Allen's diatribes against Ray Meier.

Anonymous said...

So if Les Roberts is such a great guy, why did he buckle under to the pressure of the DCCC and the county chairs? The fact is that Les Roberts could have stayed in the race if he wanted to. The DCCC and the county chairs had no control over him. Plenty of candidates run w/o the support of the DCCC or the local party establishment. Les Roberts got out of the race because he had no support and no hope of winning the nomination. His campaign only would have forced Arcuri to spend money on a primary that would have been better used against Meier.

Also, if you are so heartbroken about those killed in Iraq, why are you trashing the only candidate who wants to get our troops out of Iraq? If Ray Meier wins this race, their blood will be on your hands.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to get Ray Meier elected Jon - you better work harder at it.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in how people think Les "Let's adopt a congressional district" Roberts would have been a strong Democratic candidate. He was a freakin joke! All the man had to do was open his mouth. The NeoCons would have destroyed him. I can just see them going there with the whole Foley thing.
We didn't have a strong democratic congressional candidate. We still don't have one. Arcuri should thank his lucky flippin stars that things have gone the way they have.
Bill Wood is part of the problem and I think we should start with his head.

Anonymous said...

Les Roberts dropped out. Don't post this if you can't deal with it, but Les could have forced a primary and he didn't.

Josh said...

Mr. Cook, I presume the problem is simply that, among the Democrats throughout the District, there simply aren't enough true Progressives that Les Roberts would have pulled off a primary win. Certainly he would have had a tough time pulling off a general election win. The district skews to the right, especially among law and order issues, and is less idealistic than opportunistic--so it's no surprise that we get Michael Arcuri as a candidate.

Wouldn't you say it's fairly likely that you don't belong in this Democratic Party?

Anonymous said...

Josh what happened here is the two major parties got yanked at by the two peripheral parties. The democratic party will never become the liberal party. One was always way further to the left and they can never assimilate the majority of this party to join in. Same goes for the conservatives and republicans, although I think a third emerged there and it is correctly called the Neocon party. Also known as right wing whack jobs. The rest are laughing behind the backs of the off the cliff evangelicals and using them for votes.

In this district all les roberts would have done is drive most of the base to Meier who pretends he's not nearly off the cliff himself.