Monday, November 06, 2006

Has Michael Arcuri Relented on Military Commissions Act?

I got a telephone call this morning from a Democratic office holder in my town informing me that Michael Arcuri has finally reversed his endorsement of the Military Commissions Act, and now opposes the law. This person told me that the Arcuri for Congress campaign has promised people to announce Arcuri's opposition to the Military Commissions Act on the Arcuri for Congress web site.

I regard this source as very credible. This source also told me that this statement promising to declare opposition to the Military Commissions Act has been made by Michael Arcuri to several different people.

Geneva blogger Jodi Dean writes that she saw Michael Arcuri say on October 30 that he has reversed his position on the Military Commissions Act. She notes that Democrats in Geneva have been up in arms against Michael Arcuri because of Arcuri's support for the Military Commissions act, writing, "there has been substantial pressure from left voices here in Geneva since his last visit".

Here's the trouble: I just called the Arcuri for Congress campaign, and was told that there has been no change in Michael Arcuri's support for the Military Commissions Act. I look on Michael Arcuri's web site, and I see that there is no statement at all indicating that Arcuri now opposes the Military Commissions Act. My source here in Ulysses also acknowledges that she has not seen any documented proof that Michael Arcuri has acknowledged his error and changed his position.

Nowhere in any place of public record, not in a newspaper or in a blog, has Michael Arcuri indicated a change in his support for the Military Commissions Act.

This issue is a vital matter in this race, because it's an indicator of whether Michael Arcuri will stand up to the Republicans in Washington D.C. or collaborate with them on the worst aspects of their legislative agenda.

The Military Commissions Act:
  • Revokes habeas corpus
  • Ends enforcement of the Geneva Conventions
  • Legalizes torture
  • Provides legal amnesty to George W. Bush for any war crimes he may have committed
  • Sets up an alternative system of kangaroo courts with absurdly low standards of justice
  • Gives President Bush the power to declare someone an "enemy", and then lock them up in a secret prison without any trial, for as long as he likes

    It ought to be a no-brainer for a Democrat running for Congress to be against such a horrid law, but Michael Arcuri went and declared his support for the Military Commissions Act earlier this autumn... without bothering to actually read the law first.

    It seems to me that Michael Arcuri may be trying to play this issue both ways, telling Democrats in private that he'll oppose the Military Commissions Act, while maintaining his support for the Military Commissions Act in public. Or, it could be that the rumors of Michael Arcuri's change of heart are merely that - rumors.

    It seems that the Democrats in our district are getting nervous, and are deciding that Arcuri may well need the support of the progressives in this district after all.

    Michael Arcuri, you know what you have to do to get our support. Make a statement in public, where it's documented, that you now oppose the Military Commissions Act.

    It's that simple. Do the right thing. Your time is running out.

    Frederick said...

    Sounds like someone is trying to have it both ways...

    Anonymous said...

    Ah, you'll like this editorial Jon.

    I suspect Arcuri is seeing the light, but all efforts are probably focused on the GOTV efforts today.

    Why don't you talk to Arcuri personally?

    Pataki is campaigning with Meier today.

    24 Independent said...

    Why don't I talk to Arcuri personally? I've talked to Arcuri once personally, face-to-face, a quick, nice, friendly chat, but since then, the Arcuri for Congress has rebuffed all my efforts to speak with Michael Arcuri - even for a friendly interview to help him promote his candidacy. That's where my suspicion of Arcuri began. I've spoken with many congressional candidates from across the country this year, for House and Senate, and everyone but Arcuri has been very approachable and open.

    I've talked to Arcuri's headquarters today, and that's enough for me. Given Arcuri's promise to others to put something on his web site, a promise left unfulfilled, I think we can see quite clearly where Michael Arcuri truly stands.

    Allen Carstensen said...

    An anonymous writer told me yesterday that I should check my facts because actually the DCCC had poured big money into the Massa campaign. I was going on old information, hearsay. So I went to the site, and I can't find recent DCCC money. I would appreciate it if anonymous would tell me where to find more info. Very interesting poking around on the FEC site though. I learned that the RCC has spent huge sums against Arcuri. Maybe this is a clue to his position on the MCA. Maybe he is making a half assed reversal on the MCA very late in the game because he thinks it's too late for the RCC to crank out attack ads based on him being weak on terrorism.

    Allen Carstensen said...

    Dear Ulyssess voters,
    Please get out and vote tomorrow. I will be at the Fire Hall all day (as a pollworker). Stop on by and say howdy. If Jonathan has got you upset with the Democratic Party (understandable) you can vote for Michael Arcuri on the Working Families Party line, and thereby send a little message of discontent to the Democratic Party.

    Curious said...

    I heard this, too--don't know whether it came out of Arcuri's speech in Lansing last night or what, but my source was pretty certain.

    24 Independent said...

    Yes, the source that called me this morning was very certain too... said that Mike Arcuri promised to put the statement on his campaign web site and everything...

    And yet for all that certainty, Michael Arcuri didn't keep his word, did he? When I called this morning, they told me straight out that Michael Arcuri still supports the Military Commissions Act.

    It seems to me, the more this goes on, that Michael Arcuri is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    24 Independent said...

    Allen, will voting for Michael Arcuri on the Working Parties line make the Military Commissions Act go away?

    Hmmm..... no. It'll just be voting for the same problem under a different brand name. Kind of like buying the same minivan from Plymouth or from Chrysler.

    Anonymous said...

    Jon, Plymouth not longer exists and after tomorrow that I hope will be the story on Ray Meier's politial career also.

    Allen Carstensen said...

    Jon - "Allen, will voting for Michael Arcuri on the Working Parties line make the Military Commissions Act go away?"

    I've given up on convincing you Jon. Ofcourse it won't make the MCA go away and I understand your highly principled position. I was writing to the more pragmatic folks that might be reading this.

    24 Independent said...

    Allen, I know where you stand. You're speaking to the pragmatists. I'm speaking to the idealists.

    To tell the truth, I'm not seeing how helpful the Working Families Party really is. It seems to be almost completely co-opted by the Democratic Party at this point. They just stand back and beg for concessions before endorsing (and then often don't get the concessions they were promised anyway).

    24 Independent said...

    For the record, I think that an official count has been done, and it turns out that there are 17 idealists in the district. One of those is in a coma, and won't be voting.

    Not a big voting bloc, I know, but I think it's important that someone speak up for them.

    Anonymous said...

    "Your time is running out."

    Guess not, Jon.

    24 Independent said...

    No, no. You misinterpret. The time was running out for Michael Arcuri to do the right thing and keep his promise to local elected Democrats to release a statement on his web site opposing the Military Commissions Act.

    It's been clear for a couple weeks that Michael Arcuri stood a good chance of winning this election, though I admit that I'm surprised that the strength of the victory.

    Anonymous said...

    Well I'm not.