Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The Nov. 19, 2004, congressional floor speech of Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) left no doubt that he opposed a proposed Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The lengthy statement described, in detail, why CAFTA would harm most people in the affected nations. Yet nine months later, on July 27, Towns cast a decisive vote in favor of CAFTA that allowed the controversial trade pact to eke through the U.S. House of Representatives 217 to 215. Although the CAFTA text was unchanged between Towns’ 2004 speech and the congressional vote on the six-nation expansion of NAFTA, Towns provided one of the deciding votes in favor of the trade agreement.
Selling out is bad enough. Going back on his word? A look at campaign finance records makes one hesitates before saying priceless.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
STATEMENT FROM DAN CANTOR
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORKING FAMILIES PARTY
Reacting to news from the Census Bureau that the poverty rate in New York City rose significantly, from 19 to 20.3 percent, Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party said:
"It would be nice if the mayoral candidates talked less about tax cuts and rebates and more about realistic strategies for lifting the one out of five New Yorkers who live in poverty into the middle class."
The WFP has not yet endorsed a New York City mayoral candidate.
Locally in New York City, the news is especially bad: "The only city with a million or more residents that exhibited a significant change in poverty level last year was New York City, which saw the rate increase from 19 percent to 20.3 percent," the AP reports.
One system I've always been a huge fan of is New York's fusion voting... Why would anyone vote for a major party candidate on a third party line? Well, by supporting Eliot Spitzer as a Working Families Party candidate rather than as a Democrat, for example, voters send the message that the issues Working Families champions -- universal healthcare, a living wage, strong labor protection -- are very important to a significant segment of their base. It also gives independent voters an excuse to vote for major party candidates that they might not otherwise vote for... Fusion may not be a silver bullet. And it may not be a realistic proposal for every state. But it's an interesting alternative and one that I think reform-minded Democrats should give some thought to.And he rebuts the argument that fusion could help the right as much as the left:
I can understand the concern about the right using fusion to their advantage as well. But with the Republican Party already skewing so far to the right, it's hard to imagine that a conservative third party could pull the GOP much further and still win elections. And to the extent that progressive third parties can support progressive Democrats, I'd argue that the risk is worth it.Bravo to Scott for taking on this argument head-on. What else do folks think about this question?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Fusion is powerful. Voting in the Working Families column is no wasted
gesture--every ballot counts. It sidesteps the Nader Effect, since voters can
show their support for a progressive party agenda without spoiling the chances
of a candidate--usually a Democrat--who has a shot at winning. And if there's an
opportunity to take out a bad Democrat, like former Albany DA Paul Clyne,
Working Families can run its own candidate...
Working Families has become a fixture in local political races in the state's bigger cities and in the suburbs of New York City, delivering a get-out-the-vote apparatus and its progressive WF brand label in exchange for influence over candidates' policy agendas. Some of those relationships spawn legislative breakthroughs, including a 2002 living-wage law in Westchester.
Sorry - subscription required for the full text at The Nation site, but email the wfp at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in a reprint.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
King's response as reported today in Newsday?
"God forgive them for they know not what they do. I base my decision on facts, reason and informed social conscious and not left-wing pseudo-theology."
Time to get Congressman King a radio talk show and get him out office, no?
(Read more about the fight to hold New York's elected officials accountable to defend the promise of Social Security at www.inthistogethercampaign.org, the WFP's statewide action coalition)
Monday, August 22, 2005
But what's a little bit of thuggery to a sell-out, right?
Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY) is quickly becoming an important cautionary tale about what happens when Democrats sell out their working class base. After voting for things like the Central American Free Trade Agreement and the bankruptcy bill, Meeks has been the target of much local criticism in his home district. And he hasn't taken it too well.
First, New York's powerful Working Families Party and top unions held a public rally to demand the House Democratic Leadership remove Meeks from his committee assignments. Meeks responded by having a staffer claim that the criticism of his votes were somehow "racist." Ridiculous.
Now, Meeks' hometown paper hammered him for selling out. Meeks responded by trying to stop other papers from publishing critical stories about his votes (see
one of those stories here).
Here's a little advice to Meeks and other Democrats who are consistently undermining their party and America's middle class: if you don't want to be criticized for selling out, THEN DON'T SELL OUT. It's just that simple.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
For years and years, the Post has railed against the rapidly rising burden that Medicaid imposes on New York's taxpayers. How surprising then that the Post would oppose legislation that seeks to control these costs. Could it be that the only thing Rupert Murdoch dislikes more than a society in which we share the burden of caring for one another is an alliance between the labor movement and high-road employers?
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Even, Deadwood, that model of frontier public sector efficiency had a vigorous sheriff.
The cornerstones of government in Erie County are being demolished, in part, by the region's failure to move towards a fair and stable revenue mechanism and regional planning that doesn't undermine Buffalo's economy.
Look for pirates on Lake Erie soon.