After fending off the toughest inner-party challenge of his 14 years in the legislature, Sen. Neil Breslin faced off against his two general election challengers in what will likely be the campaign's only debate. The Republicans have nominated an army guy who is, of course, a small business man by the name of Bob Domenici. Michael Carey, a mental health reform advocate has started his own party to seek the seat after he discovered he wasn't a Republican after all.
I had meant to attend the debate, but determined that not much that was said there could affect the outcome of the race. It might have had humorous value, as have other recent major debates in New York state politics. The Times Union's headline and lead in to the story confirmed this:
Candidates talk morality
Thursday, October 21, 2010
COLONIE -- In a state in which the rising property tax burden is supposedly prodding voters toward revolt, the three candidates vying for Albany County's state Senate seat spent a lot of time Wednesday talking about morality.
Breslin will of course win the debate now that his third party opponent has proven to be an ultra-religious nut despite his good intentions. And Albany County's Democratic registration advantage is 2-1 over the Republicans, so he's had the general in the bag since winning the primary challenge mounted by Luke Martland last month.
But by surprise, this usually stomach-turning issue of religion and morality in politics lead this anti-Breslin partisan to actual decide to do the unthinkable and -pull the level- fill in the oval for Breslin this year. The candidates' discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage detailed below the fold leaves me no choice...
(Cross-Posted on The Albany Project)
The Tu Local Politics live debate tweets summarized the race as well. The debate wasn't carried live and I don't understand why. The Rent Too Damn High Show did pretty well with viewers earlier this week...
But getting back to the point. Here's the exchange from the debate that finally made me determine that I'd support Breslin for re-election in the general:
While Domenici, a South Colonie school board member and businessman, tried to keep the exchange focused on the economy and the state's fiscal woes, Carey repeatedly steered the discussion back to religion and faith -- at one point appearing to question how Breslin, as a Catholic, could be pro-choice and support same-sex marriage.
"You don't teach young children ... that it's OK to have sex with whoever you want," said Carey, 48, of Bethlehem. "It goes against the holy Scriptures and the written word of God."
All the chatter about faith prompted Breslin to remark that he "didn't expect to come to a debate on religion."
"I'm not elected to serve Catholics," said Breslin, 68, of Bethlehem, who is seeking an eighth term in the 46th state Senate District. "I'm elected to make judgments for the entire population."
Domenici, also a Catholic, said he opposed same-sex marriage on religious grounds. But the retired Army lieutenant colonel called the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevents gays from serving openly the "dumbest policy."
Empahsis added - SP
I like that quote, a lot. And of all the complains one could make against Neil Breslin, lack of support on the issue of gay rights is not one of them. He's voted for civil rights for homosexuals before without any question for his entire career, and it's the one of the only truly important social issues of our time.
Too bad the independent candidate's reasoning is so out of line with American values. He might have won an election in Salem in the late 1600s, but not Albany in the early 2000s. And the Domenici is even more confusing. Let me get this straight: if you wouldn't ask your soldiers to lie about the fact that they are gay, why would you want two gay people who've made a lifelong commitment to each other to lie and say they are in a "civil union" when they are just as married to each other as you are to your wife?
My guess is that Domenici is a good guy, but he just can't say what he believes because he has to try and get Republicans to vote for him. Talk about a rock and a hard place. Carey problem is simple: he's gone to too much church. That's what I have to say about morality and politics.
So I'm going to suck it up and support the party this year. I'm a notorious ticket splitter who would otherwise never vote for somebody who've I've spent hours canvassing against. But the thought of two ignorant "morals" politicians representing me at a time when gay marriage has to be enacted (and when the Democratic majority of the Senate is in question) I have to put myself above my own convictions and do my part to make sure the Senate stays blue.
See you at the polls on November 2nd.