Monday, March 19, 2007

Michael Arcuri Disagrees With Surge. Now What?

Readers of yore know that I am suspicious when it comes to Congressman Michael Arcuri. Representative Arcuri is the kind of Democrat who leans toward being a Republican a lot of the time. He has, as a former District Attorney, a record of pushing a law and order attitude that sometimes fails to recognize people's legal rights. Arcuri's support of the Military Commissions Act is a form of this attitude writ large.

Still, there are some areas in which Mike Arcuri could be redeemed. On the matter of Iraq, for example, Congressman Arcuri seems yet to have formed a coherent position. During the campaign last year, Arcuri fumbled and fudged, and avoided giving specifics beyond such vague promises as "benchmarks".

As last week's change of heart on the House legislation to set an end date for the war in Iraq shows, we can influence Arcuri. The change of heart came after calls from constituents who requested that Arcuri take a firm stand.

Michael Arcuri certainly did the right thing in February, when he voted for the non-binding resolution disagreeing with George W. Bush's plan for an escalation in Iraq - a plan which has failed, as this weekend's carnage illustrates. However, that was just a non-binding resolution, expressing an opinion.

The campaign is over. It's no longer time to just say what you would do, if elected, or what opinion you have about what the President is doing. It's time for clear action.

Supporting this month's legislation with a specific end date for the war in Iraq is a good start, but with the Senate's failure to pass equivalent legislation, more action will be needed.

Let's keep an eye on Congressman Arcuri, and watch how he votes.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Mike Arcuri Relents on Iraq

The antiwar majority of New York State's 24th congressional district can be proud of itself this morning. As a result of pressure from our district's voters, Michael Arcuri has changed his position on the legislation to end the war in Iraq.

At first, Congressman Arcuri was standing firm with the rest of his right wing caucus of Blue Dog Democrats. Once Arcuri's pro-war position became known, however, his offices began to receive telephone calls questioning his judgment.

Now, Mike Arcuri has promised to vote in favor of the resolution to end the war.

If you called Arcuri's offices, good for you.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Michael Arcuri Wavers on Iraq

It was an email from MoveOn that got me back to writing this blog.

It seems that Michael Arcuri is considering whether he will side with the Republicans, against the Democrats, on the resolution to end the Iraq War. No kidding.

From the MoveOn message:
"Dick Cheney and his allies in Congress are on an all-out assault—saying that Democrats are "undermining the troops" by trying to end the war.1 And some Democrats are wavering.

Can you call Rep. Arcuri and tell him that you want our troops home safely this year? They won't vote until next week so we still have time to affect the final plan and your call could make all the difference.

Congressman Michael Arcuri
Phone: 202-225-3665"

"Some representatives are afraid. They're nervous about taking any measures to end the war. It's a political calculation—they don't want to "own" the war, they want it to be Bush's problem. That's a failure of leadership: How do you tell our troops that they're being asked to fight and die because Democrats don't want to "own" the war?"

Could this be the same Michael Arcuri who used the aw shucks story about talking to his son about ending the war in Iraq while campaigning last year? Yup, same guy. Apparently, Arcuri is having a very different conversation with his son now: A conversation about flip-flopping.

I wonder, how do the Utica Democrats feel now about putting this guy in Congress?

If you're a Democrat who voted for Michael Arcuri, give his office a phone call at 202-225-3665, and remind him what he was elected to do.