Thursday, October 26, 2006

The question about Mike Arcuri and the Military Commissions Act

In the pragmatic view of politics, perhaps it doesn't matter so much whether what a candidate does is right or wrong as whether what that candidate does helps or hurts the election effort. I don't cotton much to that pragmatic view, myself, but I know that a lot of other people do.

So, let's consider the impact of Michael Arcuri's support for the Military Commissions Act in a pragmatic sense. Yes, it was a betrayal of Democratic voters for Michael Arcuri to join forces with George W. Bush to support the worst law to come out of the Bush White House in six years, a law that the New York Times called, "a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." Oh, but let's not consider right and wrong. How did this decision by Arcuri to support the Military Commissions Act impact his election?

Yesterday, I discussed how Eric Massa, a Democratic candidate in the congressional district next door, who opposed the Military Commissions Act, facing a Republican incumbent, a poverty of national Democratic Party support, and a population that is further toward the right wing than in our district, is doing better than Michael Arcuri in the polls. Today, I want to ask a simple question to shed light on Mike Arcuri's own prospects in the wake of his Military Commissions Act support:

Is there one single person in New York's 24th congressional district who is now supporting Michael Arcuri because of Arcuri's support of the Military Commissions Act, who did not support Michael Arcuri until Arcuri supported the Military Commissions Act, and who would have voted against Michael Arcuri if Arcuri had opposed the Military Commissions Act?


If so, name yourself. Is there even one reader out there who fits this category? If not, then Michael Arcuri did not help his campaign by supporting the Military Commissions Act.

That would make Mike Arcuri not only morally vacant, but an inept politician as well.


Anonymous said...

People like yourself, who seek perfection in a candidate, are the cause of all our troubles in the 21st Century. Like Nader and the Greens, who brought about GW,you apparently wish to help a right wing zealot by causing others to pick the ideal vs the better candidate. Are you in league with Meier?

Allen Carstensen said...

Jon said "Barron's is a financial magazine. What else would they write, but that it's only the money in an election that counts?"

That's not a very thorough debunking. They claim they have predicted with 98% accuracy in the past. I hope they're wrong, but it worries me

Jon said "This isn't just an election of Michael Arcuri or Ray Meier. It's also a huge societal issue during which we decide who we are.... I believe in the importance of our individual choices in shaping who we are.... If we accept one step toward tyranny now, then it will be all the easier to accept another step toward tyranny tomorrow. "

yeah, yeah, yeah .... You're right of course, but you're dodging my question, do we have the time? This is urgent man! These "huge societal issues during which we decide who we are" take to damn long! The Eisenhower strike force just arrived in the Persian Gulf! We need checks and balances!

24 Independent said...

I don't seek perfection, anonymous. I seek candidates who don't support laws that rip the roots out of our liberty. As Allen, whose comment follows yours, can attest, I gave my support to Michael Arcuri all summer long in spite of very serious concerns about his politics and abilities.

I was willing to support Arcuri even though he wasn't perfect. Supporting the Military Commissions Act is too far.

This isn't about seeking perfection. It's about seeking candidates who won't support insane legislation.

Of course I'm not in league with Ray Meier. Meier supports the Military Commissions Act just like Michael Arcuri. Politics is much more complicated than Democrat or Republican.

Michael Arcuri is in the Joseph Lieberman wing of the Democratic Party - he's taken money from a Lieberman-affiliated organization with the purpose of moving the Democrats into the right wing.

This entire election process has been screwed up for us this year in the 24th district, and Michael Arcuri's campaign has been at the center of that mess.

24 Independent said...


I could ask the same question of your strategy (to support Arcuri now, but to try to get another Democratic candidate to replace him in 2008). Do we have the time?

Michael Arcuri has shown that, on the most radical issues, when the chips are down, he'll support George W. Bush.

How, then, will electing Michael Arcuri help turn things around?

The Democratic majority could be achieved without a turncoat like Arcuri - the Democrats are currently predicted to gain at least 30 seats in the House.

Frederick said...

With a 96-99% incumbancy rate, you have to do it right the first time. Not seeking perfection (as much as possible)in a candidate is the cause of "all our troubles in the 21st Century,' anonymous, not the other way around.

BTW: 24Democrat, I'm doing an interview with Mike Sylvia, Monday. Let me know if you have any questions you want passed along.

Allen Carstensen said...

"How, then, will electing Michael Arcuri help turn things around?"

Obviously, he's part of the needed 15 seats to give us a majority, and that could have a major effect on turning things around. You say the Democrats are currently predicted to gain at least 30 seats. If I was sure of that then I wouldn't object to your counseling people to not vote for him, but Barron's thinks the Dems will take only 8 seats. What about the hackable voting machines? What about other tricks from the Republican's 04 playbook, like allocating too few machines in Democratic districts causing long lines? How short is your memory? Have you forgotten the stolen elections of 2000, 2002, 2004? We need overwhelming numbers to overcome the cheating. Now is not the time for infighting.

Allen Carstensen said...

Frederick - "With a 96-99% incumbency rate, you have to do it right the first time. Not seeking perfection (as much as possible)in a candidate is the cause of "all our troubles in the 21st Century,' anonymous, not the other way around."

That is a depressing statistic. I checked it out, and it appears you are right. It means that it will be very difficult to replace either Arcuri or Meier with someone more progressive. It is not,however, an argument that supports your position of withholding votes from Arcuri at this stage of the process. It is an argument in favor of infiltrating the Democratic Party and fighting for progressive candidates. (admittedly a much easier job a year ago when faced with a retiring incumbent - but why cry over spilt milk?) At this stage of the process, withholding votes from Arcuri is shooting yourself in the foot, and does little or no good if your objective is moving society toward more liberal principles.

We had the chance to "do it right the first time" with Les Roberts. I invested a little bit of my time and money, and so did Jon. Maybe we should have done more, but we didn't and now we are where we are. Lets not make any more mistakes.

24 Independent said...

Allen, I'm deeply concerned that most Democrats here in our district, and perhaps nationwide, really don't care about the issues that you and I care about. Infiltration may only result in our being drowned out or co-opted. I certainly didn't have much success in my infiltration effort. On a county Democratic Committee and with the State Democratic Committee, I was pretty much a rubber stamp supporting the campaigns of non-progressive Democrats, and without the power to do anything else. The political party system is much, much stronger than the individual. I wish you good luck in your efforts, though. If you succeed, it will be worth it.

The election machines to be used over much of the country have been proven definitively to be vulnerable to malicious, untrackable hacking. If the Republicans are truly prepared to exploit that vulnerability, then it doesn't matter what we do, or how we vote.

I don't say that because I want to discourage voting. I'm going to turn out to vote, even though I plan to vote for none of the candidates for the House of Representatives. I say this because it's a fact now that we voters cannot rely on our system of elections to be honest and fair. This unfortunate reality may spell the end of our democracy, before too long.