This election is all about retiring incumbent Republican Sherwood Boehlert, or so the two major party candidates would have us believe.
Michael Arcuri says that he will be a "Boehlert Democrat" - a Democrat who will vote like a Republican.
Arcuri's opponent, Republican Ray Meier, gives out broad boasts comparing himself to Sherwood Boehlert, such as the article that crows, "State Sen. Raymond Meier is the perfect candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, according to Vice President Dick Cheney." Dick Cheney's word isn't exactly as good as gold these days, of course. No, to be more accurate, Dick Cheney's word is as good as lead.
So, Arcuri and Meier have come to praise Boehlert before they bury him. That's an improvement on Julius Caesar, I guess. But what does the promise from Arcuri and Meier to follow Sherwood Boehlert suggest on the centrally important issue of defending American freedoms?
It suggests that we're in for trouble, no matter who wins.
The Progressive Patriots' Oath of Office Index gives Sherwood Boehlert only a 29 percent approval rating on voting to protect American liberty over the last two years.
Sherwood Boehlert voted to renew the Patriot Act, with almost all of its big government abuses against the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. The government's got your flight records, your medical records your credit card records, your telephone records, your Internet records, and it's putting all these together into one big database - Total Information Awareness reborn, thanks to Boehlert's vote. Boehlert specifically refused to cosponsor legislation that would have prevented government agents from using the Patriot Act to search through your library records and bookstore receipts.
Congressman Boehlert also voted to block an amendment that would have protected religious liberty. Instead of supporting that amendment, Boehlert supported a measure that would have allowed employees of programs funded by the federal government to be fired for no other reason than that they don't belong to the same religion as their boss. No kidding.
Worst of all, Sherwood Boehlert voted in favor of the terrible Military Commissions Act, which ends enforcement of the Geneva Conventions, revokes habeas corpus, gives legal amnesty to war criminals, and creates a system of law that allows the President to either throw people in prison with no trial at all or to subject people to show trials with legal standards that are so low that they may fairly be compared to the Salem witch trials.
That's not the kind of record on American freedom that either Ray Meier or Michael Arcuri should be trying to replicate. Yet, Ray Meier and Michael Arcuri don't seem to worry about a little old thing like freedom very much. They both support the Military Commissions Act, just like Sherwood Boehlert.
That's a shame, because as the Progressive Patriots point out, the oath of office for everyone entering the House of Representatives commits the person to protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. Ray Meier and Mike Arcuri seem more interested in defening their ability to get elected.
Is their shared disdain for the freedoms guaranteed us in the Bill of Rights likely to help them in the polls on Election Day? If so, that's a sign that the voters in this district have drifted as far away from a true love of freedom as Sherwood Boehlert has.