Eastside RINO Women

Rachel Barnhart has an interesting quote from a GOP strategist on how Maggie Brooks’ social conservatism will play in the NY-25 race:

Brooks’ position on social issues could factor big into the race. One GOP insider told me “east side Monroe County Republican women” are very moderate and may not go for a pro-lifer. This person thought the abortion issue could bring a lot of outside campaign money into the race on both sides.

As Rachel points out, there’s no real polling to back up that conjecture, but the history of recent Congressional races in this area has shown that the abortion issue isn’t used much by Republicans. For example, the current NY-29, which includes the southeast suburbs of Rochester, had a couple of recent contested races where abortion was mentioned but didn’t become a major issue. In those races, Randy Kuhl was able to squeak by using the strategy that Brooks is using, namely, to say that he is pro-life but not mention any details about what that means in terms of voting or policy. Kuhl was helped by Eric Massa’s reluctance to engage on that issue in a district that’s a lot more conservative than even the new NY-25.

The difference in this race is that Slaughter, who is a co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, is already fully engaged, and the Republican Party has become more stridently anti-abortion in the last few years. I still don’t think we’ll see a full-on proxy battle between pro-life and pro-choice groups since Brooks is clearly signaling that she won’t lead the pro-life charge, but we may see more independent spending than in other recent races because of Slaughter’s position as a full-throated pro-choice advocate.

Complicated Shadows

One of the jobs of a Member of Congress, after raising money for the next campaign and appearing on television as frequently as possible, is to vote on legislation. Judging from her latest interview with the D&C, it appears that Maggie Brooks does not understand this:

Asked if she would vote in favor of a budget proposal put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Brooks, a Republican, said the plan wasn’t perfect but that it starts a conversation “about creating a government that lives within its means.”

Pressed on whether she would have voted for it, Brooks said: “I don’t think you can say yes or no on a vote. It’s a complicated issue. There’s one proposal on the table. There were two, the president had a budget proposal that didn’t receive any support, the Ryan plan is a proposal at this point. It’s a conversation starter. It’s not a yes or no answer on would you vote for it.”

The Ryan budget came up for a vote two weeks ago. The question of how Brooks would have voted is one of the most important questions of this campaign, and, more importantly, if she’s elected, saying “yes or no on a vote” is exactly what Brooks will be expected to do. If she can’t do it now, why should voters assume she’ll ever be able to do it?

Down the Memory Hole

This morning, one of the D&C’s Rochester bloggers, Andreas Rau, wrote a post about Louise Slaughter’s broken leg that included the tags “Alzheimer’s Disease”, “infirmity”, and “black eye”. The post included the rumor that Slaughter had gotten a black eye last month (which is not in evidence in floor speeches from the last month on C-SPAN, some of which are posted on her YouTube page). It also contains a veiled accusation that Slaughter is losing her edge, again without evidence:

Advanced age might bring wisdom with it, but it also brings physical (and in some cases, mental) frailty, something we have seen all too often in elected officials of both parties. Louise is well past retirement age, and there should be term limits for any elected office, Washington’s seniority system be damned!

I’d like to post a link to Rau’s piece, but it, and some negative reader comments, were deleted without explanation or even acknowledgement sometime this afternoon, probably after Christine Carrie-Fein at City posted a “shame on you” item. Of course, Google does not forget, and if the D&C somehow gets the story purged from their cache, I’ve saved an image for all to see.

Apparently this is another difference between online and print at the D&C: when an online piece is wrong, it just disappears. At least a mistake in print gets a tiny correction in the next day’s edition.

Some Animals are More Equal than Others

Roger DeMott, who’s “a member of the Democrat and Chronicle’s Sounding Board”, whatever that means, has an opinion piece in today’s D&C about the race in NY-25. His basic point is that Rochester hasn’t seen a competitive Congressional race in a long time, and that will be a new experience for Rochesterians. That’s right as far as it goes, though the Rochester media market has seen contested races in the current NY-29 (which includes the southeast suburbs) in 2006 and 2008, a competitive race in the current NY-25 (northeast suburbs) in 2010, and a special election in the current NY-26 (western suburbs) last year, which means a good number of the residents of the new NY-25 know exactly what it feels like to experience a competitive election.

Setting aside the content of Roger’s piece, here’s my question for the D&C, which just laid off another 18 reporters, including some long-time columnists. Why doesn’t this contribution merit the gigantic disclaimer attached to all of you local blogs:

Is DeMott an employee of the D&C? Or are you just wanting to maintain some kind of artificial distinction between community-contributed content that only appears online and the same type of content that appears in print? We already know that you consider online a dumping ground for “inappropriate” content. Yet, in May, you’re going to ask us to pay to sort through the trash in your dump. Perhaps you can enlighten us with seven commandments, or three, or even one, that explains the difference between online, print, blogs and opinion.

Louise Breaks Her Leg

Louise Slaughter broke her leg today while visiting New York City. She’ll miss the STOCK act signing ceremony tomorrow, but her office says she’ll be back to work when Congress re-convenes on April 16.

The implications for this and the issue of Slaughter’s health are obvious. According to Dr. Google, broken legs take about two months to heal. Presumably in an 82 year-old, that’s the minimum amount of time it will take before she’s back to normal.

Morning News

The New York Times has a House race overview out. Nothing new, other than a terrible picture of Kathy Hochul and the news-to-me view that Dan Maffei is an “aggressive campaigner”.

Speaking of Hochul, it looks like there’s going to be a real fight in the Republican primary in her district. State Senator George Maziarz just endorsed David Bellavia, the opponent of establishment Republican and former Erie County Exec Chris Collins. I’ve explained earlier why Bellavia’s presence in a neighboring race that bleeds into the Rochester media market is bad news for Maggie Brooks.