But it's got people's lips flapping, alright. Candidates of all stripes are coming out with their reasons why they did or did not -sign their names- point and click to get one the list, and of course jumping at the chance to explain why their opponents did or not do the same. Political theater, if you ask me, and today all the state's a stage.
Below the fold, the Democratic primary for State Senate in Albany County offers an interesting way to look at how three different candidates are taking three different approaches to this charade:
(Cross-posted on The Albany Project
The manner in which each of the candidates deal with the NY Uprising has them each playing roles surely being filled in your home district.
Sen. Neil Breslin
Incumbent Sen. Neil Breslin has not signed the pledge. He was apparently considering it:
“No one’s asked me to sign it, but it would seem to me to be a good idea, but I want to make sure that pledges are a minor detail. I’m more interested in getting legislation that mandates it and I sponsor that legislation."
- Sen. Neil Breslin to Capitol Confidential, 7/21
Well, the deadline's passed before he could make up his mind. But honestly, and this is coming from a huge critic of the Senator, ignoring this thing completely is correct. Plus, he's got more important things to worry about.
Know your role: If you're an incumbent, or even a challenger, the best thing to do with NY Uprising, is just not worry about it. In this, Senator Breslin plays the role of the experienced politician who knows a campaign ploy when he sees one. Role-playing advice: Get a press release out about how dumb NY Uprising is.
Primary challenger Luke Martland is probably close to the top of Breslin's worry list. Martland's campaign has grown in strength and visibility in recent weeks, and continues to use every opportunity to expose the Senator's shortcomings. This time is no different. Some excerpts of what Martland has to say about this from a press release yesterday:
“In June,” Martland continued “I was glad to sign NY Uprising’s pledge, which includes many of these same goals. But, I will go beyond the minimum in NY Uprising’s pledge. For example, I will also fight to fix New York’s Swiss-cheese campaign finance laws by lowering contribution limits, banning unlimited donations to “house keeping” accounts, and other reforms.”
“How could anyone,” Martland asked, “who truly believes in fixing our State’s broken and corrupt government be against meaningful ethics reform? How could anyone who cares about New York’s sky high taxes be against balanced budgets and an end to the excessive spending and debt that leads to ever rising taxes and jobs leaving our State? How could anyone (unless you are a 14 year incumbent running for reelection yet again) be against ending the Senate’s ‘life time employment club’?”
“The fact that Neil Breslin has refused to pledge to fight for these basic principles of balanced budgets, an end to corruption and real ethics reform says a lot about Neil,” continued Martland. “The stark differences between me and Neil Breslin get clearer by the day. I will fight for reform. Neil is trying desperately to claim that he is a reformer, but the fact is that he has been in power for 14 long years, represents the status quo, and has refused to commit to the most basic changes necessary to fix our dysfunctional government.”
Even though I support Martland's campaign, I find it hard to support this one. There are so many angles from which to expose Breslin's failure as a legislator, and Martland has consistently pointed these out during times that mattered. When the Senate continues to take long weekends while the budget goes unpassed, Martland called Breslin out for it; when Breslin flip-flopped on education spending, Martland took Breslin to task for it; lather, rinse, and repeat is a common refrain for the Martland campaign, and most of the time rightfully so...
Yet this episode breaks the string of effectiveness. Perhaps voters who don't pay much attention will filed into Martland's camp because of this, but personally I think the points to be scored here are too small as well as too meaningless to bother with.
Know your role: I hate to admit it, but Luke Martland's role here is that of an anti-incumbent politician who got a little over-eager and fell right into NY Uprising's stupid. What's worse is that he was doing just fine. Role-playing advice: Get back to what you were doing.
Finally, Tim Carney appeared on the blogs for his statements on the matter. His comments over at Capitol Confidential have him brushing aside the pledge entirely. An advisable move...
...but aligning yourself with the Tea Party? And still trying to exploit the NY Uprising Pledge by lying about one of your opponents? Not so much:
From the Friends of Tim Carney for Senate,
July 22, 2010 – Albany, NY – Tim Carney has not sought endorsements or support from any political group except the Independence Party and the TEA Party Movement. The Independence Party went with Neil and many members of the TEA Party movement are passing out palm cards across Albany County for Mr. Carney.
We would like to know if Luke ever advocated for any type of reform in Albany in the past 20 years? Oh, yea he hasn’t lived in Albany for the past 25 years.
Tim Carney does not need to be on this list to be considered a reformer.
What else do we have to expect from a Tea Party Democrat but cheap political exploitation by way of ignoring the facts? Luke Martland was born and raised in Albany. He lives a short walk from the Legislative Office Building for crying out loud. And where Martland has been consistently giving progressives reasons to consider him as a serious option to replace Senator Breslin, Tim Carney has been consistent only in his ability to force us to not take him seriously at all.
Know your role: You know that one guy in your district who's always running about trying to get elected any way he can and only ever making himself look ever more unelectable? Role-playing advice: Get back to where you once belong.
That's the down-low on the "uprising" from where I sit. Who's playing what role in your neighborhood?
One thing's for damn sure: nobody's a "hero" or an "enemy" when it comes to Ed Koch's phony NY Uprising.