Monday, March 30, 2009

First Referendum on Obama, Tomorrow...

..when the good people of the 20th Congressional District, in the Hudson Valley region of upstate New York go to the polls to vote for a replacement for Congresswomen Kirsten Gillibrand, who is now Senator Gillibrand.

This is a district where Republicans enjoy a voter-registration edge of 75,000, and yet have elected Democratic representation in Congress for the last four years. New York Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R.) is trying to whip up the faithful in order to grind out a victory in this very in-play district, but opponent Scott Murphy has just taken the lead in polling.

Maybe because Tedisco is currently campaigning as simply Democrat-Lite:

We understand there’s a lot of waste going on in Washington,” says New York Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R.), addressing a group of 50 or 60 people who’d volunteered on a Saturday morning to help get out the vote in Tuesday’s special election. “They’ve taken our money and they’re going on a shopping spree.”
That’s the sort of thing you expect to hear from a Republican politician. But Tedisco goes on: “Wall Street has done the same. We’re not only going to stand up to Washington and its waste, we’re going to stand up to Wall Street and its greed!”

Hmmm - so he's a populist Conservative? I don't know, I see how the Tories in Britain seemingly have lost power forever, by saying that they'd be just like Labour, only a tiny - TINY - bit more to the right. In this kind of choice, the consumer - or voter - always buys the genuine article, and not the repackaged warmed-over version that's discounted just to get sold.

But maybe I'm wrong. With Tea Party activists storming the streets in cities nationwide, maybe it is the time for the Republicans to engage in some type of economic populism. But banging their heads against Wall Street doesn't strike me as the right note.

If Tedisco wins, RNC Chairman Michael Steele — who has made this race a personal priority — will have eased early fears about his competence. Republicans will have recovered a seat they lost in the blow-out of 2006. At a cost of more than $2.6 million from Republican donors, they will have earned a right to claim that their comeback is already underway — that Democrats in Washington have gone too far.

If Murphy prevails, Democrats will claim it as a ratification of President Obama’s entire agenda — deficit spending, energy taxes, and all. The GOP will return to the endless soul-searching, praying for a comeback that could still be several elections away.

Let's hope Steele and Tedisco knwo what they are doing. The future of America may rest upon this small district, nestled between the Hudson River and the foothills of the Catskill Mountains...

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