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Posted by on Mar 1, 2009 in Politics | 0 comments

NY20: Local Op-Eds on Tedisco and Murphy

When campaigning in a largely rural district such as New York’s 20th, candidates eventually have to deal with the reality of small-town newspapers and their coverage of the race. The Albany Times-Union has been providing quite a bit of coverage, though it’s difficult not to notice the decided slant in favor of the Democrat thus far. Smaller publications are also weighing in, though, and this weekend we’ll take a brief look at two offerings from the Schenectady Daily Gazette.

First up is the editorial board’s offering on the race.

Voters in the 20th Congressional District race are still waiting to hear where the Republican candidate, Assemblyman James Tedisco, stands on the biggest issue of the day — perhaps the biggest issue since the Iraq War started: the economic stimulus plan passed by Congress in February.

The article goes on for five more paragraphs hammering on the same single theme. The editors are correct in noting the need for Tedisco to take a firm stand on the issue. His continued insistence that this is a “hypothetical question” was a political miscalculation which should have been corrected before now. However, plenty of issues have arisen in the campaign, as previously noted here, and it would have been good to see the editors exploring more of them on both sides.

In the same issue, an op-ed is offered from Anthony Frank. The author burns up a fair amount of ink discussing Governor Paterson’s state budget cost-cutting proposals before getting down to an analysis of the Congressional race. In a section which the paper’s spell-checker mysteriously labels as “Congressional lection,” Mr. Frank extols the benefits of having your local politicians belong to the same party as the President and the Majority in Congress. This focuses mostly on the gains which can be had simply by being on the winning team.

Continuing with the theme of party politics, I am somewhat surprised that it hasn’t become an issue in the upcoming election for the vacant seat in the House of Representatives in the 20th Congressional District between Scott Murphy and Jim Tedisco. While party affiliation says nothing about the merits of the two candidates, it may be more valuable for the citizens of the 20th to send a member of the majority party to Congress than a minority-party candidate, especially one who has made a reputation of being a non-conciliatory minority gadfly in his own state Legislature. My guess is that Murphy will get a lot more favorable attention from Speaker Nancy Pelosi than would Tedisco.

Committee assignments alone can make a major difference to the district that a congressman represents. I’d rather be idealistic than Machiavellian, but sometimes practicality has its place. In any event, the simple truth lies in the fact that our fate is, to a large extent, in other people’s hands.

So, if I’m understanding this correctly, you’ve examined the two candidates and their stands on the various issues of the day. From this, you have concluded that the best reason to vote for Scott Murphy is that he’ll be able to pry more pork out of Nancy Pelosi than a Republican? Well, OK then. Two extra points for brutal honesty, I suppose.

Meanwhile, Jim Tedisco has launched his second television advertisement of the campaign. Staying with the previous theme, the Assemblyman eschews any attacks on his opponent and keeps hammering on core themes of the party, his record in the assembly and his own personal narrative as a way of introducing himself to the voters.

I’m not sure how much Jim should keep pushing the drivers’ license issue in New York, but both he and Murphy seem to be sticking to the high road in the battle thus far.

Previous NY20 Coverage:

Murphy avoids comment on ROTC on campus
Tedisco not answering policy questions?
Scott Murphy’s Anti-Military past?
First TV ads from both campaigns
Tedisco’s Car Trouble?
Scott Murphy’s Tax Troubles
Tedisco – Murphy Gun Control Debate
NY 20th: Meet the Candidates

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