Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's Relaxing to Be A Little Less Important

Had a nice chat with Senator Aubertine today. I called him to say he made the right choice for himself, his family and the 48th District.
He seemed at ease and as I told him, guys our age don't need to be jumping into that kind of rat race.
Best wishes to the Senator and his family as he pursues his efforts on our behalf in the NYS Senate.

Tid Bits

-As of Saturday, the government computer running the Cash for Clunkers program is still down.....And these people want to run healthcare. Oops it's back up now....I take it all back....
-Hey, You folks in Lewis County, be sure to help out my friend Joe Baruth who is running for County Legislature in the C-Ville area.
-Albany insiders say the fiscal meltdown now in California will be in New York in two to three months.
-This morning's Jude Seymour tome in the WDT backs up my view that the Aubertine withdrawal left Dems without a Plan B.
-Is Richard Ravitch really Lt. Governor and is he really in charge this weekend with Paterson out of state ?
-Over 300 people a day visited this site last week, many from distant places. Thanks for reading and I hope there was something of value in all the rantin' and ruminatin' I do every day !

If Elected, You Should Show Up.

Ogdensburg City Councillor Nick Vaugh missed three consecutive City Council meetings in the Maple City so fellow Councillor Mathew Flynn wants him kicked off the Council.
Mr. Flynn suggests provisions of the City Charter justify his position and that absences must be excused and he says these three were not.
Mr Vaugh says he had some bum wisdon teeth.
I met Vaugh for the first time a few weeks back when he stopped by with Congressional hopeful Matt Doheny. I didn't check on his wisdom teeth.
In Watertown, we don't require an excuse for absence or tardiness. Our feeling is the public will judge the job done at election time.
If Mr. Flynn is upset about absence he is welcome to sanction Mr Vaugh by airing his criticisms to the voters. Council members kicking out other councillors....Not a good idea.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Obama Giveaway.....Its HUGE !

The Cash for Clunkers program started today and right away the web site crashed for this latest scheme to bribe us with our own money.
Nonetheless, it is free money if your trade qualifies, so come see me tomorrow at FX Kia, and I will hook you up.
Between Clunker Cash and rebates you could save $8000 on a new Sportage.
Yes this is self serving but it is my blog and I'll do what I want to.

Timing is Everything as Special Election Looms

With confirmation hearings slated to start Thursday for Rep. John McHugh's appointment as Army Secretary, the next question is when will the special election be to replace him ?
Democrats control the pace of not just the confirmation but also the call for the election. It could come in September.
However, it should come on November 3 with all the other local races. A September election would be costly even if held on Primary Day as the hours of voting are different for this race vis a vis the noon to 9pm hours for a primary.
Choosing another date would be a huge waste of money in a state crying poverty at every turn.
Add to this, the new voting machines which will confuse and confound many.
With their candidate in place Republicans have an edge and an early election helps them as whomever the Dem is has to build some recognition.
Plus if the GOP is smart they would turn the expense of a special day for voting squarely on the Dems. It's a good, easy-to-understand issue for voters already mad over dysfunctional governance.
The loss of Darrel Aubertine lessens the chances of a Democratic victory regardless of what the insiders say.
Listen for the hand wringing remarks setting up a loss. Stuff like " this is a tough district and a GOP win doesn't mean anything"
A win is a turning point headed into the 2010 mid-terms.
If the Dems are to win they should go with November 3rd if possible. It gives them time and saves us money.

Shifting Gears in the 23rd is Easier Than You Think

First let me again admit that I was among the legions of the chattering class who assumed Darrel Aubertine was in. But I wasn't alone.
Democratic leaders on the national level were so sure, I don't really think they have a Plan B now that Darrel has said thanks but no thanks to another blood sport campaign that would have laid waste to the normally placid North Country political landscape.
Remember the good old days when the GOP said "here's your candidate, go vote for him."
This morning I had a nice chat with a prominent national Democrat. He had called to ask if there was a chance the Dems could land the Independence Party line for whomever they pick next.
Rather than lie, which is usually what happens in this situation, I had as they say in the biz a "frank" discussion on why Diedre Scozzafava was getting the nod.
As you recall Dems had successfully lobbied NYS Chair Frank MacKay to give the line to Aubertine if he ran. That was a big plus in this district and also might have helped get Aubertine out of the Senate so the GOP could take back the seat.
The Aubertine candidacy was not yet at room temperature last night when from Pete's Restaurant I got the call from Tom Connolly who is the party's vice chair and my liason to the chair since an unfortunate moment a couple of years ago.
We exchanged pleasantries on how shocked we were about Darrel and then talked about the next move.
I said I thought Ms Scozzafava the best option for a couple of reasons. He agreed and ask me to pen a few kind words for the press release while he checked with others in the district. Among the reasons:
-One is she is local and the last thing I want is a Congressman from Plattsburgh. Sorry P-town, but Fort Drum is too important to take a chance on someone 200 miles away.
-Second, I have been friends with her for some years as like me she was a small town mayor and does know the turf.
-Third, I think she is electable and everybody likes a winner.
-Fourth, I agree with our Jefferson County Chair John Rice, who was a big Darrel supporter, but says the current agenda in Washington is too scary to be adding to Speaker Pelosi's herd.
Well, in any event I was the bearer of bad news for my Democratic friends, but
part of being independent is not walking in lock step.
After doing all this I immediately called Ted Ford to confess my sins and he let me off with a couple of Hail Mary's and a week of watching Olbermann.
Now about the Conservatives. Despite all their bluster about running a true believer against that left-leaning DeDe, don't believe it. My money says they leave their line blank as a semi-protest that won't derail GOP chances of holding one of only three seats they have in the state.

Aubertine's Bright Future Stymied By Albany's Mess

With all of us experts saying he was in, how did Darrel Aubertine fool so many ? He didn't.
I believe he was going to run. In fact he had been telling people that for some time privately. He was being courted by the White House and even the GOP had launched preemptive TV spots this week before there is even a vacancy in the House seat.
I am sure Darrel didn't like the prospect of another nasty race, his third in 18 months. He didn't like what running in eleven counties and moving to DC meant for his very traditional family. He certainly didn't like the prospect of having to trash his friend Diedre Scozzafava, because that's what you have to do when you surrender your soul to the money men and operatives who get you where you want to go. (In fairness, she would have had to return the favor.)
It came down to what it always does. POLLS.
Polling shows the public hates its state legislature and Darrel is included in the rage of voters. Now by next year, all the incumbents will ge reelected, but for now, in 2009, the natives are restless and the polls showed Darrel Aubertine had problems.
After meeting with Senate leaders, he must have decided it was best to stay where he is.
Senator is a good job...The capstone to Darrel's life to be sure. So he put aside the blind ambition of a Congressional race and concluded his life is good and he has achieved a lot. I think he made a wise choice, but I would have liked to watch the craziness this race would have been.
It looks like Dems may have to roll over on this one now.

Scozzafava is the Choice for Keeping Balance in a Nation Tilting to a One-Party State

Now that the charismatic Senator from Cape Vincent is out of the race for Congress, it is likely the Dems will pick from a list of lawyers to run for the seat Republicans have held since 1871.
No more talk of the "Blue Dog" Darrel Aubertine. We will get a run of the mill Democratic nominee.
Now I am not a party person. I think lawmakers are seemingly more loyal to party than country, people , family, you name it. The reason is the party puts you there and pays the multi million dollar tab to get the seat.
The result is the sad spectacle of lawmakers refusing to attend session and vote in Albany because the leadership is playing a cat and mouse game for power.
Against my disdain for elephants and donkeys, we do live in a world where there is an established two party system. The Republican Party is in full retreat in parts of the country like the Northeast and thats why Dems wanted the 23rd seat. It would signal a rout and the GOP would become a parochial Southern based party easily marginalized in national races.
That provides a compelling reason for the election of Dierdre Scozzafava. Put aside her liberal social views or her indifference to lock-step loyalty to party.
She is running to preserve the check and balance of two party politics. In that sense the race has national implications as we head into the 2010 mid term elections.
She also, like Darrel Aubertine, has a certain "one of us" appeal and it someone all of us have known personally for years.
Without Darrel , this race becomes less raucous, as Dems are suddenly less competitive. Whether the West Wing still sees blood in the water, I don't know.
There are still variables. The Conservatives are going to run their own candidate and they should. Issues do matter and they need to make a point.
With all said, Ms. Scozzafava offers the chance to retain a national opposition to the radicalism of an increasingly emboldened Left.
Plus she is from our area of the 23rd, and has an understanding of the issues of greater Watertown.
All of this adds up to some good reasons to vote for her.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sullivan Surfaces as Dem Nominee

With Darrel Aubertine barely out of the race for Congress, the name of a former mayor of Oswego is being mentioned as the Democratic nominee.
John Sullivan, who now works for NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had until recently been the Assistant AG in the Watertown field office.
Sullivan is a very bright guy on the issues and is politically saavy, although his candidacy would not represent the real chance to win that Aubertine represented.

Aubertine Not to Seek Seat in Congress

The political class had all expected Senator Darrel Aubertine to run for Congress in the soon to be vacant 23rd CD.....All but Ted Ford who two weeks ago said he thought Darrel would not run.
Turns out Ted
was right and the rest of us were wrong. Senator Aubertine announced today he is not running, setting off a wave of speculation on just who the Democrats will field in the 23rd.
Republicans this week nominated Diedre Scozzafava, a friend of Aubertine and some speculate that the prospect of trashing a friend just to win didn't sit well with the Darrel Aubertine who long has placed family and friends high on his list of priorities.
Whatever the reason, and whenever it was made, an awful lot of people thought he was running, leading to the conclusion his decision came very late.
Aubertine was widely thought to be the best prospect the Democrats had to win the seat which has been in Republican hands since 1871.

Maybe The Chattering Class is Wrong

Five O'Clock Has Come and Gone and No Word on Darrel Aubertine's intentions. This was the deadline set by county chairs for interested candidates to step forward.
The GOP had even started attack ads against him in anticipation. It could be we were all wrong.
There are many reasons for not running.
1. He didn't want to be a Congressman
2. He didn't want a third brutal race in 20 months.
3. He likes being a Senator
4. He didn't want to run against Scozzafava and do the trashing necessary to
beat her.
5. He is tired.

They are all valid reasons. My God, the New York Times reported Sarah Palin's hair is thinning due to stress and she made emergency visits to hairdressers.
Even if its true, is that the kind of world to live in, where the Gray Old Lady of Journalism runs spec pieces about your hair.
There is good reason to return to the Cape and mow your lawn before joining Margaret and the kids for dinner.
Who knows what happens at this point.

The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

Liz is the Best....Real Time updates on whats happening......
The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

TV 7: Conservatives Give GOP the Finger

Kenny Parks for Congress ! Will the Hotline's "Mr. Conservative" be the one. The Conservatives haven't been this rambunctuous since Bob Relph ran against Bob Nortz. I wouldn't rule out an Aubertine endorsement but a true third candidate would be interesting.
Conservatives to Seek Own Candidate for The 23rd WWNY TV 7 Watertown, NY Local News

Is Obama Becoming a Drag on Dems and Can DA Stay Fresh While in a 3rd Nasty Campaign ?

Usually it's the person people in the 23rd CD vote for, but in this year when government healthcare and energy plans like cap and trade are being debated, will North Country voters back away from their flirting with liberal democrats and seek someone more conventional and less big government. Will they vote party ?
That may not be the choice because Diedre Scozzafava is anything but a free market conservative. However, she will be caucusing with the GOP against the Obama-Pelosi agenda and that may be enough to attract voters now getting skittish with the new administration.
Plus for Watertown-area voters, could there be a case of Aubertine fatigue?
He has been in two raucous campaigns in less than two years and now here comes a third which will dwarf the other two.
How much appetite is there for the tractor imagery and "one of us" motif now that Darrel has been soiled by Albany's latest orgy of politics as usual.
Scozzafava is hardly a new face, but she has not had to do too much controversial in Albany and may be able to assume the mantle of the small town, one of us candidate.
How do you get to be the outsider when you have had to stand shoulder to shoulder with Pedro and company. That's the dilemma Aubertine has.
His meteoric career has left him looking very much the politician and not the farmer. Doesn't make him a bad person, but it does become tougher for him to sell the same imagery for a third time in 20 months.
And there is always the seemingly improbable chance that Darrel really is weighing whether he wants to jump into this briar patch, with all the angst and family disruption that goes with it. Could he not be the candidate ?
Now that the Dems say they are putting off their announcement I guess we all have to wait a while longer, while DeDe gets a jump on campaigning, but also gets to twist in the wind all alone for three weeks as opposition research teams pick at her.
I'd like to hang in D.C. for a couple of years. Its a great honor, but I sure wouldn't want to put up with whats on the docket for these two nice people in the next 3 months.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

GOP Picks Gouverneur's DeDe to Run for Congress

Gouverneur's own is now the Republican nominee to succeed Rep. John M McHugh.
At a meeting in Potsdam, party leaders made Diedre Scozzafava the candidate only hours before an ad blitz begins against likely Democratic opponent, Senator Darrel Aubertine.
For the Greater Watertown area all this is good news because the winner will be from the western end of the district, just as was Mr. McHugh.
Ms. Scozzafava was not the initial choice of party bosses when she sought the state senate seat following Sen. Jim Wrights 2007 resignation.
The candidate of destiny was to be Assemblyman Will Barclay, son of GOP scion H. Douglas Barclay.
Ms. Scozzafava was twice rebuffed for the Senate nod and this time would not be denied as she bested political newcomer Matt Doheny, an Alex Bay native recently returned to the area after a successful career elsewhere. Mr Doheny conceded today.
A former mayor of the Village of Gouverneur, she is currently Member of Assembly for the sprawling, rural 122nd District.
As a liberal, old time Javits-style Republican she will have trouble with the party's base and with the Conservative Party. But they have no where to go as voting for Aubertine only increases the Obama-Pelosi majority in Washington.
Scozzafava may be the only type of Republican who can retain one of only three GOP seats in NYS. The 23rd CD voted for Barack Obama last year and has elected numerous Democratic state officials in recent years.
The seat is targeted by the Obama White House, which has already secured the Independence Party line for Mr. Aubertine.
If she wins, she will be heralded as the turning point in the declining fortunes of the GOP and the party's nearly defunct moderate wind will be refurbished.
If she loses, its curtains for the GOP in New York State.
The race is expected to be acrimonious, high dollar and will attract operatives from all over to the biggest race of the fall for the two national parties.
Hang on to your hats NNY residents. We are in for a battle for the ages !

Doheny Congratulates Dede Scozzafava On Being Selected As The Republican Nominee in the 23rd Congressional District

Its Over....Doheny Concedes....DeDe is the Republican Nominee for Congress to Succeed John M. McHugh
Doheny Congratulates Dede Scozzafava On Being Selected As The Republican Nominee in the 23rd Congressional District

Senate Passes Aubertine Bill to Create 1812 Commission

Good to See the Senate Back on the Job !
Senate Passes Aubertine Bill to Create 1812 Commission

YouTube - $$$$pecial Election

My Analysis on the Hotline Today....(link courtesy Newzjunky)
YouTube - $$$$pecial Election

Would the Sports Editor Not Report the Score ?

Whoahhh....I was reading Marc Hellers piece in the Watertown Daily Times, and Jefferson County GOP Chair Sandy Corey was quoted as not knowing the tally among her county committee in the endorsement race between Diedre Scozzafava and Matt Doheny.
Since when can't the public and party faithful know the results of balloting ?
It was 61 to 48 with a couple of votes for Bart Bonner. Those are the numbers I heard from a gaggle of county legislators chirping over their pizza and wings following their County Board meeting.
Secret ballot, OK I guess, but no transparency on the results. Not good. That's the stuff that leaves one faction angered and not very helpful in the fall election.
Maybe Marc should have called more people, but you really should be able to get the numbers from the chair. And the results of the most important vote of the year are not the subject of a memory lapse.
So what if 45% of Jefferson County delegates votes against Scozzafava.
A win is a win.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Doheny Supporters Somber Over Likely Loss

After talking to Republicans tonight at Pete's it was obvious even to the Doheny supporters on the County Leg that the gig is up and Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava will be the Republican nominee for Congress.
This may be brutal. I am told the push for Darrel comes not from State Senate Republicans looking to clear the way for retaking the seat.
The muscle to get behind Darrel comes directly from the West Wing, where there is a desire to destroy the remnants of Northeast Republicanism.
I wonder if Ms. Scozzafava knows what she will be up against.
After successfully executing the raid on Pearl Harbor, General Yamamoto quipped about awakening the sleeping giant......Or how about sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
The best hope for DeDe is that the Dems overplay their nastiness the way Republicans did against Darrel in his two elections for Senate.
I believe Aubertine goes into this the prohibitive favorite.....but there is a national movement away from President Obama.
While I don't think Aubertine even voted for Obama, I do think he will be drawn into supporting health care reform and cap 'n trade, especially if Rahm and company are in charge. Trouble is I worry DeDe supports the same liberal positions.
There are things Scozzafava can do to win, but it will be a difficult race ahead.......Fun times ahead for NNY political junkies !

Scozzafava Nears Clinch With Stunning Victory in Jefferson County

Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava has gained the endorsement of Jefferson County Republicans in her bid to be GOP nominee for the soon to be vacated Congressional seat of Rep. John M McHugh, according to GOP leaker, Political IV.
The Jefferson vote was seen as crucial to both Scozzafava and rival Matt Doheny. Doheny had privately called Jefferson the key county.
Votes for the the nomination will take place Wednesday night at a meeting of the chairs from the 11 counties in the 23rd CD
The GOP is using a system of weighted voting with each of eleven counties granted a share of the vote commensurate with the results of the last election.
Four counties, Oswego (19.6%),Lewis (5.2%)*, Madison (9.6%) and Oneida (4.1%) are said to be behind Matt Doheny.
Essex County (4%) and St. Lawrence (16.3%) are firm behind Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava. She now has Jefferson (18.6%)
Franklin Country (6.1%) is supporting Paul Maroun as a favorite son in hopes of brokering the deal on later ballots.
Clinton County (10.9%) which was for DeDe is now said to be undecided, as is Hamilton (1.5%) and Fulton (3.9%).

* A commenter disputes the Lewis for Doheny. If true, she is over the top.
Doheny 38.5%
Scozzafava 38.9%
Maroun 6.1%
Unknown 17.5%

While Doheny could make it mathematically without Jefferson, practically speaking, the winner in Jefferson likely wins it all. Scozzafava played her card as hometown girl who had represented the county in the Assembly for many years. Doheny is a Jefferson County native, but has not lived here in years.
Doheny looks like he intends to win. He is said to have an office open in the Ag Building in downtown Watertown, but that may not have been enough.
Doheny must sweep the remaining counties and there is doubt he can take Clinton County, one he had written off a week ago but got back into play. - Candidates line up to replace McHugh

Capitol Hill Scribes Agree With This Humble Blogger...It's Darrel for Congress.
With Friendly's Flap Over, Will Local Media Begin Covering Race for Congress? - Candidates line up to replace McHugh

Friendly's-Fear Faceoff a Metaphor for Congressional Race

The more he tried the worse it got.
Businessman Kevin Fear came on strong in lobbying against the sale of a slivver of land to Friendly's Restaurant, but in the end it was perception and politics that ruled. Let's face it, in a contest between the words "Friendly" and "Fear", people opt for being happy.
That's why even with a full court media press, Fear couldn't muster the public outcry for his position.
Such is the case for many a political office, where strident is often eclipsed by folksy.
That's what Darrel Aubertine is hoping for in his expected run for Congress.....Darrel wants to be Friendly's against an opponent who can articulate a case and may in fact have some issues on his or her side.
This is an expecially good lesson for political newcomer Matt Doheny, who has a story to tell, but faces a daunting fight if he faces the Friendly's of local politics in the former dairy farmer from Cape Vincent.
Well, wasn't this a clever way to blend two stories with nothing in common. ?

Council Approves Friendly's After Fear Ad Produces Non-Intended Results

He intended to stir up opposition to the sale, but just the opposite seems to have occured as all five City Council members say virtually all the calls they received supported the sale of a small parcel of land to Friendly's Restaurant to facilitate the construction of a new, larger restaurant on Arsenal Street.
Council voted 5-0 to approve the sale despite a passionate appeal by rival businessman Kevin Fear to block the sale and determine the owner by auction.
For Fear, an avid self-promoter with local businesses selling mattresses and cell phones, it was a publicity bonanza in recent days as the Friendly's deal became the talk of the town. On Sunday, Fear bought a full page ad in the Watertown Daily Times urging reader to call Council members.
In my case, of a dozen calls, all but one favored Friendly's.

Monday, July 20, 2009

You Go First....No, YOU Go FIrst.....

I heard today the Dems have postponed their "deadline" for expressing interest in the nomination for Congress until Thursday, which coincidentally is a day after the Republicans are supposed to choose their standard bearer.
News reports say its because there is such intense interest in the nomination. Boy is the media gullable.
It's because they want to find out who the opponent is.
On the GOP side, Matt Doheny has assembled a staff for his campaign including some known operatives from the Jim Wright era. He is raising and spending money and trying to send the message to the party establishment that he has the energy, education, thick hide, and money to compete against what will be a withering assault from a Democratic party looking to finish off the GOP in the Northeast and further validate the Age of Obama in the eyes of an already compliant media elite.
I am not sure what the campaign of Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava is doing although her approach is different because she approaches the race from a different background.
Scozzafava is a well known, well-liked local politico who has interacted with the media and political establishment for years. She is using those relationships to become the candidate of destiny.....It's her turn...That's a big deal among Republicans...Just look at Bob Dole and John McCain.
Scozzafava's center left tilt is seen by some as the only path for a GOP win in a blueing North Country..
She is untested in a wild and wooly, go for the jugular campaign, but then again so is Doheny, who has no experience on the stump.
Doheny is not in government in a year of disdain for Albany, but then again Scozzafava has not been badly tarred by this years Capital debacle.
From a Dem perspective, make the GOP decide without knowing for sure the opponent. Their decision to let the Republicans go first makes a lot of sense, although I still feel it's Aubertine no matter what. And now Darrel can be coy until he knows the lay of the land. Those Republicans who continue to insist he is "dumber than a box of rocks" are again missing the political saavy he has shown in a quick rise to the top.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vitriol and Bile Bubbling Up in GOP

Read a couple of the comments to the story after this one. Nastiness is brewing. The notion of Kumbaya being sung in the GOP after Wednesday may be a bridge too far. And that doesn't even count the vile stuff being contemplated by Team Rahm.

Doheny Claims Lead on Money Hunt in Advance of Nasty Congressional Race

With Decision Time less than 100 hours away, GOP Congressional hopeful Matt Doheny is stepping up the pressure on Republican decision makers who are looking at not just who they like, but who can win in the expected special election to the fill the seat of Rep. John McHugh.
Doheny is sending out press releases touting his fundraising, claiming he has raised $300,000 in addition to the half million dollars he placed on the table himself.
"Campaigns are expensive, but Doheny for Congress will have the resources to win this special election," Doheny said. "The level of commitment shown from friends and supporters is truly humbling. I, in turn, am committed to winning this election."
Doheny's primary opponent for the party nod is Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava of Gouverneur.
Doheny is a 39 year old Alex Bay native who made his fortune elsewhere before returning home to run for Congress. He is registered to vote at a home on Paddock Street in Watertown.

Full Page Ad Seeks Calls to Council

As I told you yesterday, local businessman Kevin Fear has spent an estimated $2000 on a full page color ad in todays Watertown Daily Times. The ad urges city residents to call members of City Council to lobby against the sale of a sliver of land fronting on Haney Street to Friendly's Restaurant which plans to build a new and larger restaurant.
Retired media magnate David Mance estimates Mr. Fear likely paid about $2000 for the ad given he placed at least two other display ads in the same paper. Ironically, the "Call the Council" ad appeared opposite another display ad for one of Mr. Fear's cell phone competitors.
The ad features a satellite view of the parcel in question although it is not highlighted so viewers cannot tell exactly where it is in relation to the other buildings. I would be glad to explain the lay of the land in person to anyone.
Home phone numbers of the four council members are printed and my cell phone number is printed.
Like that's a big secret. I thought everyone had it.
There are several ways to contact me:
Cell: 486-0879
Office: 785-7720
Home- 788-5143
Business: 786-3333
Hotline (on air)- 755-1240
Also on Twitter and am available at numerous community events.