Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Learned from Michael Arcuri's Victory

I learned a few very important things from Michael Arcuri's strong victory last night:

1. My political opinions are not representative of the opinions of the Democrats in the 24th congressional district.
2. My political opinions are not represented by the Democrats of the 24th congressional district.
3. In our district, the huge majority of Democrats will not reject the Democratic candidate for Congress
4. Independents are a major force to be reckoned with in the 24th congressional district, even though they're poorly understood, and may not really be a force so much as a collection of tens of thousands of forces that occasionally move in the same direction
5. I really ought to stop making predictions about what will happen in the future

Most Democratic voters in this district seem to have been unconcerned that Michael Arcuri supports the Military Commissions Act. Heck, they may not even know what the Military Commissions Act is, or care to know. There may even be some Democrats in this district who know what the Military Commissions Act is and are glad that Michael Arcuri supports it.

This makes me part of that "liberal fringe" that Michael Arcuri blasted earlier on in the campaign. That bothers me, that it's just a tiny fringe of the Democratic Party now that cares about things like the end of habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions, and the legalization of torture.

There is another group of Democrats in this district than those I've already mentioned, though, a small group: They're the Democrats who know what the Military Commissions Act is, know that Michael Arcuri supports it, are disturbed about that support, but voted for Arcuri anyway. This small group voted for Michael Arcuri because they were worried that, if they didn't help Arcuri get elected, they would be responsible for the Democrats failing to take back control of the House of Representatives.

This group of Democrats made a figurative deal with the devil. As with all deals with the devil, the devil came out on top. Michael Arcuri's win was actually not at all necessary to the effort to take back the House of Representatives from the Republicans. The Democrats needed 15 seats. By my count, they got at least 27.

Some of these Democrats may harbor fantasies that Michael Arcuri will be challenged from within the Democratic Party in 2008. I'm not going to predict for certain that that won't happen, because I've learned that I'm pretty bad at making political predictions. However, I will observe that the Democratic County Committees have learned a couple of nasty lessons:

1. If they don't let the voters have a political primary, victory results.
2. With a shift toward the right wing of the Democratic Party, victory results.

Given this learning, why in the world would the Democratic County Committees in this district abandon what gave them success, and support a progressive challenger? No, the Democrats are stuck with a decidedly unprogressive Michael Arcuri now, at least until he's defeated by a Republican.

But, then, I'm not a Democrat any longer. I started out this year blogging as 24 Democrat, but now end it writing as 24 independent. Clearly, a person like myself doesn't really fit well within the Democratic Party of New York's 24th congressional district. I'm re-registered as a non-affiliated voter, though that registration won't take effect until 2008.

Let the Democrats celebrate. As for myself, I'll be watching what Congressman Arcuri actually does in Washington D.C., for good and for bad.

Read on, if you like, when the next session of Congress begins in January.


Mike Sylvia said...

Conscience matters. I congratulate you on maintaining your integrity. Keep speaking the truth, Jon. Let's work on getting those who 'held their noses' to vote for Arcuri to make their position know to him.

Doug said...

I sympathize with you Jon.

And, looking at the numbers of votes cast in this election, turnout wasn't exactly dynamo. I tend to think Arcuri didn't so much win this election as Meier had it lost for him. Put simply: the Republicans stayed home more than the Dems.

I think you're right that there will be many true blue Democrats who will regret putting their trust in Arcuri, no matter who controls the House. He has no integrity.

Anonymous said...

Sure, you can take your ball and go home. It hurts the progressive cause, but you can keep your integrity intact.

Or, you can work on issues that matter with the new Congressman. The Speaker may be looking for his support to repeal some bad laws. He'll need a push from constituents. You can either call him names or influence how he votes, but not likely both.

Anonymous said...

I didn't hold my nose,not at all. The democrat agenda will never be as far to the left as you want it to be. That's the Liberal Party. Most Democrats aren't worried about whether somebody can burn a flag or not either.

The truth is, if Les Roberts had been the candidate he would have been toast in this district and we would all be bowing to Ray Meier today. I knew he didn't have the muster when I heard him on Air America. Somebody should appoint him as director of the CDC though.

I believe that Bush's MCA as you all call it will be yanked to a screetching halt through exposure. With Meier there it would have been gospel.

24 Independent said...

9:18 - That's a very generous interpretation, given what Nancy Pelosi and Michael Arcuri have said they'll do. But then again, this reinforces my perception that most people don't pay attention that kind of detail.

I certainly will not work with Congressman Arcuri to support the Military Commissions Act, or to work for the abolishment of the estate tax, or to promote the death penalty.

The cause of the Democratic Party is not always the same thing as the progressive cause.

I'll be looking at the facts about how Arcuri behaves in Congress, without attachment to partisan promotion of the Democrats. Democrats deserve progressive support when they deserve progressive support, and not just for being Democrats.

Allen Carstensen said...


I don't think your values are as different from those of us who voted for Arcuri as you think. Part of that group voted the way they did as an act of pragmatism (that's me), and a larger percentage just weren't aware of the MCA issue. We can't advance liberal principles alone. We have to form alliances with people that share some, if not all, of our values. Trumansburg district 1 voted for Arcuri 355 to Meier's 158. The votes on lines other than Republican and Democratic were insignificant. 355 of your neighbors is a group you ought to work with, not alienate. The turnout was 64% - excellent for a midterm. My guess is they turned out because they were disgusted with the way this country is being run. You have that in common with them.

I did have to hold my nose, because I agree with your criticism of Arcuri. If I had known that we would get the majority in the House without my vote, I would have voted for Sylvia instead, but I didn't know that. I knew Hillary would win, so I voted for Howie Hawkins.

The bottom line is that there has been a massive shift of power towards progressives in the House. Half of committee chairmanships will be held by members of the progressive caucus. I'm proud that I helped make that happen. You helped too, with all that great writing you did before Arcuri's boneheaded support for the MCA. Apparently all the writing after that didn't hurt his election, so it was in support of our cause as well.

God bless and go forward.

Anonymous said...

And...that Biggus Dickus never dies.

Anonymous said...

"And...that Biggus Dickus never dies."

He just goes up in smoke.