Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A few words on the Post Standard.

The Post Standard has by and large dutifully played it's role as chronicler, with "just the facts" stories by reporters like Fred Pierce, and Letters to the Editor supporting both sides.

But in coming days it's editors will make an endorsement. The paper will move from reporter to participant.

Their endorsement may begin with a paean to how nasty and strongly contested the campaign has been. Followed by an obligatory nod to how good a candidate Maffei has been, and how there exist certain aspects of Walsh's positions which the paper does not agree with.

But, after those formalities, we may arrive at the heart of establishment conventional wisdom.

Which is: Walsh has a track record of bringing home the pork. He has seniority. CNY needs those appropriations, and we cannot give that up in the heat of the moment.

They may choose to revive some nonsense about Democratic taxation threats, or the mythical humming Syracuse economy. But I doubt it. The Post is not ideologically conservative; it's editors won't lie. It is old fashioned "don't rock the boat" conservative. Their endorsement will be based on the tried and true safety of Walsh's pork.

I hope they consider the facts. Namely, is Dan such a risk? And, is pork so important it outweighs all else?

First consider Dan Maffei.

  • Dan Maffei is an experienced, intelligent, and decent man.
    • Dan has not run a negative campaign. He has run on the arguments.
    • Dan has friends in high places in Washington. There will likely be a Democratic majority in the House. Should he be elected, those facts would continue the flow of federal money to CNY.
    • Dan has articulated how he would allocate federal money more wisely, namely by the motto of "teaching a man to fish rather then giving him a fish".
    • Dan has made the fact that CNY has lost it's young people a central issue.
    • Dan has easily held his own in the debates, and arguably won them, without resorting to cheap shots.
    • Dan is an entrepreneur who returned to Syracuse and, starting from scratch, has built up his campaign to where it is today. This says volumes about his drive and energy, and how much he cares about the region.
    • National well-regarded politicians know and endorse Dan, as well as many local organizations.
    • And of course, like the majority of CNY, Dan does not support the policies of George Bush.

Now, consider Jim Walsh.

  • Today's House of Representatives is dysfunctional, and Walsh is part of the leadership.
    • Walsh has not strongly come out in holding the Republican leadership accountable, or recognized their problems.
    • Members of the House are working fewer days a week, and fewer days a year, then ever in it's history.
    • The historic democratic process has been erased in the House.
      • Only bills that "a majority of a majority" agree with are allowed to be voted on.
      • Democrats are not allowed in discussions between the Senate and the House.
      • Bills are not being put to the floor which allow anyone to offer an amendment, as in the past.
      • Speeches on the House floor are today merely show, as the Republican leadership makes all the decisions.
    • "Pork" and "earmarks" have been distributed in record amounts and this has increased deficits.
    • Much of the House's time has been wasted on superficial "wedge" issues, like flag burning and Terri Shivo.
    • If the Post's editors dislike the way business is done in Albany, it would be logically inconsistent for them to like the way business is done in the House.

  • Walsh supports Bush's measures in eroding basic civil liberties.
    • Our system of checks and balances has been weakened. Congress is not monitoring the executive branch.
    • Basic rights given to prisoners have been taken away, be they innocent or guilty.
    • Citizen's telephone calls are being wiretapped.
    • Our country now tortures prisoners.
    • Our country's ranking for a free press has slipped from 17th to 53rd.
    • Our country is less and less seen as a beacon of freedom. This is something we should all be ashamed of.

  • Walsh's support for the Iraq war has made us less safe.
    • Walsh has not questioned Bush's approach or criticized it.
    • Intelligence agencies agree that terrorists have been made stronger by the Iraq war.
    • Iran has greater clout in Shiite dominated Iraq.
    • Both North Korea and Iran are emboldened by the visibly stretched-thin US Army and it's inability to contain Iraqi violence.
    • Iraq has been used by the Republicans as a political football.

Summary. It is rare for someone of Dan Maffei's caliber to offer himself in a political campaign. We would be lucky to have him as our representative. In contrast, Walsh has had 18 years to make his mark. And during that time he has chosen to support some of the worst policies this country has ever advanced.

To me , there's no contest.

Lets hope the Post considers the arguments and reaches the right conclusion.


At 11:57 AM, Anonymous 1776 said...

First, it's paean, not peon. A peon is an underling.

Second, the Syracuse Post-Standard has already shown that it backs Walsh. What was with the front page over-the-fold rehash of an article published online in September (praising Walsh for his ability to deliver pork to CNY)? It is beyond ridiculous for a newpaper to present old news as the most important news of the day, especially when it was clearly a puff piece supporting a struggling incumbent. In addition, that article was pulled or not available at the online edition, though there are people watching this race around the country who can only access that paper via the web.

The Syracuse Post-Standard played favorites in a blatant and unethical way, and every citizen angered by this story should write to the editor and demand an apology. Without journalistic integrity, a newspaper is just a propaganda pushing rag.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger TLB said...


Thanks for the spelling correction.

As to the Post's objectivity. I don't read it enough to state as fact that it backs Walsh, although my hunch is you are probably right. When trying to convince someone to change their vote I try to make the best argument I can, put all the facts on the table, and hope they come around. In the Post's case I wouldn't give up on them yet, stranger things have happened, though I wouldn't count on it.

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous 1776 said...

You are welcome for the word correction--I hate it when I do that and no one tells me.

As to the other point, I am just adding another argument to the mix. I noticed too much suspect behavior by the Post-Standard to not remark upon it.


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