Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

This needs some explaining:

Democrats did relatively little to try to take the Senate. They put some of their star power behind their State Senate candidates -- Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Spitzer stumped for Ms. Stewart-Cousins -- but did little to share the wealth that poured into the campaign coffers at the top of the ticket. Republicans, by contrast, raised money at a furious clip for their Senate candidates.

The New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee raised more than $7 million this year, taking in more than $1 million in the past two weeks. The Democrats raised less than $2 million for their campaign committee this year, according to campaign finance reports filed with the State Board of Elections.

It looks like Stewart-Cousins will win this time, up by about two thousand votes, but NY's DSCC failed terrible to take advantage of the landscape. For instance, Albert Baldeo, a lawyer and community activist who lost a city council bid in 2005, ran against Serphin Maltese. Baldeo lost by a mere 783 votes and only spending about $60,000. WTF:It struck some Democrats as odd that in such a Democratic year, with top Dems like Eliot Spitzer cruising to victory with money to spare (In their final pre-primary reports, Spitzer/Paterson had about $8 million in the bank, Alan Hevesi $4 million), that more wasn't done to unseat the Republicans in the city.That's an understatement. I think all the '12 chatter about Spitzer just got flushed.

Tags: Eliot Spitzer (all tags)



Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Geez, you guys need to cut the crap with the "we've got long memories" stuff, the making snap decisions because Democrat so-and-so is less than up to snuff on some meta stuff. Yeah, this stuff from Spitzer falls somewhere between timid and craven--because of that you're going to declare some future campaign "flushed?" Get a grip.

by KevStar 2006-11-08 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I agree with this sentiment.  Yeah, Spitzer and the state party should have done more to fight for the Senate, and he's going to regret it when it comes time to push his program through the legislature.  But at the end of the day, yesterday was a great victory for Democrats, there's a million reasons to be excited about the future.  I just can't get into this mentality where we look to hurl over-the-top criticism at every person who "could have done more."

by Steve M 2006-11-08 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Moreover, we have no idea how much of Spitzer's money ended up going into GOTV for all Democratic candidates.  In PA, for example, I read somewhere today that Rendell told his GOTV crew to ignore Philadelphia (his base) and focus on Berks County, just to try to give Lois Murphy a boost.

by Adam B 2006-11-08 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

We think alike -- I've written several comments to this effect over on Kos today!  NYS politics are appalling -- a bunch of infantilized politicians who are more than happy with the "3 men in a room" system, as long as they get their perks; they get off a whole lot more on playing inside baseball games than actually governing!

I know of at least one other Senate candidate whom the "leadership" (including Spitzer's folks) rebuffed when he approached them for support -- but hey, Spitzer "endorsed" him, so wasn't that enough....? (That and $3 would get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.)

I really despair of a bunch of pols who represent a great argument for term limits.

Calling Dr Dean -- New Yorkers who actually care about our state care need you!!!


by silverleaf 2006-11-08 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

We didn't even have a Democratic candidate in the three Senate districts that carve into Tompkins County.  That said, Republican Jim Seward was running lots of commercials on the radio during the campaign.

by LionelEHutz 2006-11-08 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I think the main problem here was when Spitzer picked Senate Democratic Leader David Patterson as his candidate for Lt. Governor. Patterson had been focused on making inroads in the State Senate, but pretty much abandoned his efforts after joining the Spitzer team. It is pretty hard for a team to perform properly when they have no leader.

by Sy Gold 2006-11-08 10:34AM | 0 recs
I predicted that

and its very sad. There were good candidates for State Senate running all over New York and there was momentum this year. Its a real loss for the state.

by Our Gal in Brooklyn 2006-11-08 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I think all the '12 chatter about Spitzer just got flushed.

People can still chatter about Spitzer. It's the '08 chatter about Warner that got flushed.

by Kobi 2006-11-08 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Assume I'm an idiot and I know nothing about New York politics. Explain to me.

The "Spitzer should have shared money" thing makes sense on general principle, but why was it his responsibility specifically to win those races? Why blame him and not the candidates? Why not blame other New York Democrats who also had money to spare? Would more money have even been enough to win those races?

Is there any reason to blame Spitzer for state legislature races, or expect him to influence those races, except that as governor he'll need to work with the state legislature?

And what does "'12 chatter about Spitzer" mean?

by Silent sound 2006-11-08 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I agree.  The Dems should have fought harder to take the State Senate.  And Spitzer should have led them.

by Pogues Fan 2006-11-08 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

the NY democratic party is to blame for this, not spitzer.  There was no effort, no website to speak of, nothing to support dems running for state senate.  

I've criticized Spitzer on this very site (and had my comments deleted) but before any of you makes your first run for governor of NY I would recommend you hold off on the criticism.   He faced a republican funded dem in the primary that he had to deal with (Suozzi) and then he also had Hevesi's blunder to deal with the last few weeks.   The dems had a great day in NY.  and in 2008 we will take the state senate.   A bit of patience might be in order.  

So if Spitzer leads the dems to a big state senate victory in 2 years, is he still in the doghouse?   NY is a disaster.  Winning the senate in 2006 might've just added more chaos to the next 2 years.

that said, Denny Farrell and any other dems in charge should be ashamed for their weak performance in this election when it comes to the NY state senate.   There were no competitive statewide races.  What the fuck were they working on?  Planning victory parties?

Gillibrand, hall, Arcuri.   Overall, tt was a good night here in NY.   Look out for 2008.

by democracyinalbany 2006-11-08 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Yesterday watching an AARP-sponsored panel with Cook, Todd, Goeas, Lake, MacKinnon, McCurry, dissecting the midterms, Celinda Lake, I think, said the governors were crucial to Dems winning states in presidential years because they are the heads of the state parties.

It seems to me the NY state Dem party, because it had been out of power in Albany for so long, wasn't as robust as it had been. That was the case here in Pennsylvania, too, except our state Dems were in worse shape. That all started to change when Rendell was elected in 2002. He began rebuilding the party from the ground up and working to coordinate campaigns. It didn't pay off right away, but the first sign was we won the majority of statewide judicial elections for the first time in many years. Then we nearly swept all the state row office (Treas, Aud Gen, Att Gen) in 2004. This year it looks like we will pick up 7 of the 8 seats needed to win back control of the state house and might yet get it from either a recount or a party switcher.

I expect the same thing will happen in NY. Now that Spitzer has his hands on the levers of power, he can start to rebuild the state Dem party just as Rendell did and continues to do here.

by phillydem 2006-11-08 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

The Dems should have fought harder to take the State Senate.

Care to explain to this New Yorker why the Working People's Party endorsed the rightwing candidate for the assembly in my district as well as Spitzer and Clinton?

I voted for the Democrat who is a perennial candidate.

New York politics is byzantine.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-08 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

based on what I've been told, the working families apparently focues on things like raising the minimum wage, so if the right-wing candidate either voted for that or pledged to do that and the Democrat didn't then that would explain their endorsement

by LionelEHutz 2006-11-08 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Care to explain to this New Yorker why the Working People's Party endorsed the rightwing candidate for the assembly in my district as well as Spitzer and Clinton?

I don't understand the workings of the WFP.

by Pogues Fan 2006-11-08 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

The WFP sometimes ignores caucus politics and picks individual politicians. Big mistake, in my book - and it cost Andrea Stewart-Cousins a victory last time out. (She lost by 18 votes.) Hopefully she hangs on this year.

by DavidNYC 2006-11-08 06:41PM | 0 recs
Wait, are you throwing SPITZER

...under the bus?

by MNPundit 2006-11-08 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I pulled together a few strands on this here.  Short version: one-party control of New York government would have meant no-excuses accountability, and ultimately I don't think the NY Democrats were ready for that.  Yes, Spitzer should be held responsible to a certain extent, since he basically coasted to victory and did not campaign with NY Senate candidates very much.  So should Hillary Clinton, storing up money for her presidential run.  And so should the NY DSCC, which did not spend nearly half the money it raised.

by antidoto 2006-11-08 11:07AM | 0 recs
I read your post and liked it.

As you said, if NY Dems didn't win the State Senate, it's because they didn't want to.

I don't really understand the why.  I assume their donors in the business class don't really want them to, but I may overestimate the impact of donors in the process, I dunno.

But it's quite clear that the NY Dems weren't trying, and havent been trying for a long time.

This is when I realize that we all really are outsiders to this process.  I respect Chris Bowers immensely, for instance, but does he know the real reasons the NY Dems don't want to win this?  I doubt it.  And yet it's basic.

by texas dem 2006-11-08 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

On a great day almost everywhere, the failure of the NYDems to make a real attempt at taking the State Senate is the one thing that is still pissing me off.

Having worked in NYC politics for five years, I can tell you there is plenty of blame to go around.

1. Top of the ticket. Spitzer, Hillary raised millions of dollars to run up the numbers in their own races but did little to nothing the help Dems take back the Senate. Hillary's spending was just her actingly largely out of self interest (eg: '08), which doesn't excuse her but my expectations are so low at this point that i barely get worked up. But Spitzer is going to be gov. of NY, and his agenda will be stalled by the Repub. State Senate. ALL New Yorkers who want to see progressive change in NY should be angry about it, and my sympathy for Spitzer will be minimal when it happens.

2. NY State Democratic Party. In 2004, largely under the guidance of a VERY able team put together by NY State Sen. Eric Schniederman, the Dems make real gains in the State Senate. One year later, due to a variety of factors - that team was no longer there; then minority leader David Patterson (soon to be Spitzer's Lt. Gov. running mate) did NOTHING in his role as minority leader to recruit candidates, raise money, etc....  Everyone knew with Spitzer and Hillary on the ticket there would be great coattails; the NY State Dems did NOTHING to take advantage of them.

3. NY State Interest Groups. I understand why they do what they do, but many progressive (or so-called progressive) interest groups, unions, etc... support State Senate Republicans because the system more or less works for these interest groups. Access and influence are what is important; the bigger picture is not really a factor. So many of the most powerful interests in the state that are natural Dem allies line up behind Joe Bruno and the rest of the Rep State Senate candidates each year, making it hard to beat them.

4. NY State Assembly. It is not in Dem Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver's interest for the State Senate to be run by Dems, because it would reduce his influence. He has long had a working agreement with the Rep. head of the State Sen. Joe Bruno to leave the other alone. Dems get the Assembly, Reps get the Senate - seats are gerrymandered as per the instructions of the leaders to make it as difficult as possible for the Reps to lose the Senate and for the Dems to loose a VETO PROOF MAJORITY in the assembly.

So, Spitzer deserves some blame here, but there is plenty to go around. He could fix things a lot by cleaning up the state party...

by mikrmoore 2006-11-08 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Correction - Eric Schnedierman ran the Dem campaigns in 2000 and 2002 and we lost seats.

Liz Krueger ran the campaigns in 2004 and 2006 and we won seats.

by John Mills 2006-11-08 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Actually, what I said was that it was the team Schneiderman put together that did so well in 2004. As for 2006... it was a disaster. But I like Liz a lot and am happy to give her some credit for '04. But the folks who made it happen were Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin.

by mikrmoore 2006-11-09 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I just wanted to comment on a Jerome thread that although I've read voraciously late last night and all through today, nowhere have I seen the beautiful words Gates Got Crashed. In any form or tense.

I know it wasn't complete even though the Reeps got thumped, thanks to the so called 'centrist' hearing-the-siren-song of K street weenies, but some gates got crashed didn't they?

by rodean 2006-11-08 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

As was attacking Spitzer the day after his win.

by Kobi 2006-11-08 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

This is silly. The grassroots orgs in NYC have been bellowing at the Senate leadership for going on two years now to put some muscle in the effort, and they have consistently said no.

There are infuriating reasons why the Senate Dems didn't do more - career reasons, jockeying for position, whatnot - and the responsibility lies very squarely on their shoulders. Eliot, not so much. Jerome should cool off a bit.

by MBNYC 2006-11-08 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership
The Net Roots candidate did very well.
Brian Keeler came in with how much?
by Underdog 2006-11-08 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

You're all out of your league on this. Allow me to explain.

1. Remember that each candidate is responsible for his/her campaign. Stewart-Cousins won THIS year, because she ran a fantastic campaign in 2004. The DSCC, Spitzer, & any other groups provide resources BEYOND the campaign's capabilities in competitive races. The whole 'blame game' is ridiculous, anyways.

2. Each candidate inherits a district. Each district has it's own composition, voter registration, and attitudes. Even well-funded, heavily resourced candidates can't always win in districts that are heavily Republican.

3. There are only a few races in play each year. There may have been 4-6 playable seats this year. That includes defending Valesky's seat.

4. In the past, the DSCC used the "everyone wins" formula where everyone got money and no one actually won. Since that changed, the Democrats have won 4 seats in 2 years. More will come.

5. Eliot Spitzer & Hillary Clinton were committed to the State Senate Democrats. If you don't know or believe that, you're out of touch. Where do you think Spitzer's staff/resources were in the last week?

Syracuse, Westchester, Long Island, and all over the State.

6. The State Senate Democrats have great leadership and experienced talent. Let them do their job.

Lastly, consider:

A. The Democrats defeated a the third most powerful Republican, a twenty year incumbent.

B. The NYS Assembly was absent in these races. The huge coffers + staff + resources of the NYS Assembly could have helped swing an extra race.

C. Maltese's race could have been one. That's a good thing: It will get taken.

D. It's been almost a century since the Democrats
truly controlled the State Senate. How can we allocate blame to Spitzer & the DSCC?

It's ridiculous to believe that Democrats didn't want to win the State Senate. If you want to continue believing that the State Senate Democrats lost these seats for "career reasons" or "fear of accountability". If you believe these statements, I invite you to leave your keyboard and enter the real world.

by Underdog 2006-11-08 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Excellent analysis.  This is a multi-cycle process that is going to take some retirements to actually make the majority flip.  Good news is that there are a lot of R State Senators in their 70s and 80s.

Beyond the incredible gerrymandering of the NY State Senate, the other reason it is so hard to beat an incumbent legislator in NY is member items which is a pot of money each one gets to distribute largely as you please.  They go all over the place - the local cultural institution, the little league team, etc.  They may exist elsewhere but I am not aware of it.  They create tremendous good will and people remember it when they vote.

I haven't seen evidence that either Spitzer or Hillary had long coattails.  Gillibrand won largely b/c of Sweeney's problems and the Hall- Kelly race had the spector of Mark Foley since Kelly had been on the page board for part of the time of the scandal.  Spitzer and Clinton didn't hurt either but I am not sure they dragged either over the finish line.  If they did it, Hall benefited the most.  They couldn't help Massa, Maffei or Meijias and Congress is above State Senate on the ballot so I am not sure it is fair to blame Spitzer for this.  

No one in NY I spoke to over the last few weeks of the campaign thought the Dems were going to pick-up the Senate.  No one!  We were hoping for a couple of seat pick-up but the numbers didn't show the majority in reach.  The NY Rs spent all their money on keeping the Senate which is the reason Hevesi's opponent didn't have $$ to use the ethical problems against him.

by John Mills 2006-11-08 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I know, who could ever think that Baldeo needed more than a $60K to win a Senate seat in NY-- so silly to think otherwise!

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-08 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

That's your comeback? LOL.

by DavidNYC 2006-11-08 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Gmab, you can roll out all of those excuses (all well and fine to note the accomplishments) and ignore the one example of the shortcoming that I posted about?  I'm all ears.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-09 12:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Reading some of the posts today you'd have thought the Dems got killed.  

While I agree with Matt's sentiments about Rahm Emanuel (he botched the IL-6 race big time), I'm not so sure it does any good to start criticizing Democrats like Spitzer -- it begins to sound like what the religous right has done to the Republicans.

The bottom line is that, as a party, there are some rather high profile people who underperform, who are so self-concerned that little can be expected of them, party-wise.

But that's something we will all have to live with.  Now is not the time to line up the circular firing squad -- after all, we won.  Maybe the feeling is so strange that some people don't know how to react.  

Here is a suggestion: win with grace.  Win, but remember who brought you the victory, and who didn't -- but win with grace.

Likewise, we have all learned a lession from '04: lose with grace, but stay angry and get your revenge at the ballot box.  That happened yesterday.

by PageUp 2006-11-08 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

He would never have the opportunity in 2012 anyway, because we are going to take the White House in 08 and keep it in 12... 16 maybe, but the VP from this Dem president will of course be a front runner.

by yitbos96bb 2006-11-08 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Evidently some of you know very little about NYS politics.  

The Democrats had a great night.  We picked up 3 Congressional seats, 3 Assembly seats, and one State Senate seat.  The wins by Stewart-Cousins & Valesky in the State Senate were huge as the GOP pumped more than a million dollars into each race.  

All the State Senate seats are gerrymandered, so plus 4 in two cycles is great progress.

Spitzer & Clinton could have written big checks like Bloomberg did for the Republicans, but that would not necessarily have made the difference.  Until the unions stop bankrolling and backing the conservatives in charge of the State Senate, the Democrats will always be the underdogs in these contests.

Finally, the Albany Times Union reported that Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno called Spitzer two weeks ago and threatened to veto his entire reform agenda unless Eliot got out of Yonkers & Syracuse (read Stewart-Cousins & Valesky).  Spitzer told him to pound salt and campaigned with his fellow Democrats.  A tip of the hat would be more appropriate than most of the nonsense written in this line.

Also, I worked for the Senate Democrats for 10 long years struggling to make political gains, so I know something about this stuff.

by Francis Vecellio 2006-11-08 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Well said.  They have no understanding of how gerrymandered these seats are and what an accomplishment it has been to pick up the 4 seats we have won in the last 2 cycles.  

by John Mills 2006-11-08 01:36PM | 0 recs
The Albany Times Union item

is pretty interesting.  If Bruno is pissed at Spitzer, then we here shouldn't be.  If even the (apparently) little Spitzer did do was an overthrow of the expected system, then fine.

I mean, I sort of wonder if the reporter was spun or was spinning us, but assuming that Spitzer was doing the local equivalent of fighting hard, then that's all we ask around here.

by texas dem 2006-11-08 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

And we still have two cycles left before redistricting. With no statewide races in NY in 2008, I am sure that all eyes will be on the state senate.

by DavidNYC 2006-11-08 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Finally, the Albany Times Union reported that Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno called Spitzer two weeks ago and threatened to veto his entire reform agenda unless Eliot got out of Yonkers & Syracuse (read Stewart-Cousins & Valesky).  Spitzer told him to pound salt and campaigned with his fellow Democrats.

Thank you very much, Francis.

I don't know why politics in New York is so atrocious.  The year he was defeated, Mario Cuomo claimed as his major contribution replacing the gawdawful rest stops on the Thruway.  Not all that bad if you ever ate in one of those hellholes but hardly the mark of any kind of liberal.  Cuomo's principled stand against the death penalty was indeed remarkable but little else was.  Cuomo talked good and governed badly.

Be nice if Spitzer truly can make a difference but he has his work cut out for him.  New York is decaying for a reason.  I frankly don't believe the usual excuses.  Hidebound, unimaginative conservative governance is the main culprit in my opinion.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-09 01:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I would be interested in knowing what, if any, overlap there is between the Republican state senate districts and the Republican congressional districts.  I'm wondering if strong Dem state senate campaigns might have made a difference for the congressional races where Dems narrowly lost.  I'm a subscriber to the belief that a strong Dem ticket up and down a ballot pays off for all Dems on that ballot.  I rejoice in the Democratic victories that we had, but I know that so much more could have been achieved.  And even out here in San Diego, I know a lot about Joe Bruno and the Republicant-controlled NY state senate.

by Phonatic 2006-11-08 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

The State Legislature draws its own lines and the Assembly and Senate basically gerrymander their own district and sign off on each others.  The Gov does not sign off on redistricting in NY.

The House lines are much more evenly drawn b/c they are generally done by a court master since the Senate and Assembly can never agree on them.

This link will give you all the maps:

by John Mills 2006-11-08 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Thank goodness you gave us the third wrong.

by Kobi 2006-11-08 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Jesus Freakin' H Christ, it's not even 24 hours since we scored the biggest political victory in state and national history in at least 12 years, and you're ALREADY starting with the circular firing squad crap? Give it a rest, Jerome, please. You've done some really great things to help the party and country but this is NOT one of them. The SUREST path to our regaining the minority is if we're going to snipe at each other every time we don't get our way or waste our energy on complaining that this or that politician doesn't live up to our own personal purity test 100%. Instead of focusing on our MASSIVE gains, you choose to focus on something negative THE DAY AFTER. I have no idea why. There will be a time to do a proper post-mortem, and a proper way to do it. This is not that time or way.

And I think you know it.

With victory comes responsibility, among which is the need to be more careful about letting our emotions dominate our thoughts. We're not on the outside anymore. We ARE the inside now, so let's start acting like it.

by kovie 2006-11-08 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I don't know why you'd expect me not to call it as I see it. Some of the responses here are good rebuttals, but I think the lack of Spizter in putting out the resources to bring in a Majority to the NY Senate is evident.  Maybe he's got a bigger plan, I dunno.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-08 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I'm not disputing the details of your specific complaints. I'm originally from NYC and lived there for most of my life, and went to college upstate (back in the Matt McHugh and Mario Cuomo days--in fact he spoke at my school's graduation convocation where it was rumored that he'd announce his presidential run in '88, which of course he didn't), so I'm not exactly unfamiliar with the byzantine politics of NY state, in which there has long been a stark division between downstate and upstate politics.

But having lived in Seattle for the past 4+ years I'm no longer as up to date on recent developments, other than the high-profile stuff that makes the national news. So I'm in no position to take a credible stance on the specific issues you brought up and complaints you made, which if true (and I'm not saying that they weren't) are certainly worth discussing.

My point, though, was that this is not the time to do this, or the way to do it. There will be a time and place to do these post-mortems, and this is not that time or place. We need to savor our victory, which, despite obvious losses and disappointments here and there, was on the whole indisputibly massive and impressive, and we need to build on this victory.

Part of this, I agree, will require critical self-examination of what went wrong and who screwed up, to avoid this in the future. But, again, not this way, and not at this time. Sniping is not the way to do it, and certainly not in the wake of such a massive victory for our side (which you have clearly played a HUGE role in and which I thank you for profusely), as it can only detract from it.

Sniping is for losers, and for those on the outside. Today the GOP has officially taken over that role, so let's save the sniping for them, while we get on with the business of resonsibly governing and building a progressive future--in which, like it or not, folks like Spitzer and Hillary will play a prominent role. When they err, we should absolutely be all over them. But, again, not now, and not this way.

by kovie 2006-11-08 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Timing to a blogger isn't in the vocabulary. It is what it is when it is... but anyway, I think you get the gist of my criticism and I get yours.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-08 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I do get the gist...I think. As I hope do you get the gist of mine. It's about timing and tone, not substance, as I've said. I'm certainly not a big fan of the Hillary wing of the party, and have commented and diaried to that effect pretty extensively here and elsewhere.

And my point was not so much based on a desire to be civil, but on political effectiveness. I think that it's in the overall long-term interests of the party to cut back a bit on the infighting (however justified and principled) for a brief period of time, until we have a clearer picture of how these new Dem majorities (at the local, state and national levels) will govern.

If they buy into the "let's reach out to the right" nonsense being peddled by unprincipled "centrists" like Lanny David and Joe Lieberman and continue to appease, then screw them. But if they genuinely try to govern progressively while perhaps throwing a few token olive branches at the right in order to be able to claim that they tried, then I'm ok with that.

And from what I've seen of both, Hillary seems a lot more likely to do the former than Spitzer. But we'll soon see for ourselves.

by kovie 2006-11-09 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

His point, I think, was to imply that Jerome was still upset over Warner's decision to not run in '08 and taking it out on Spitzer. I'm inclined to agree with this view.

We're not going to remain in the majority for long let alone extend it if we continue to think and act as individuals rather than as members of a larger movement and party, in which there will inevitably be positions we disagree with, people we don't like, and setbacks we are forced to accept. Compromise--of the principled kind--is the bedrock principle of effective politics.

Everyone should keep fighting for what they believe in, of course, but at the end of the day not everyone will get what they want, yet we still have to find a way to work together for the greater good.

And btw, I'm not and don't know Kobi, despite the similarity in names, so no sockpuppet accusations please.

by kovie 2006-11-08 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Don't make crap up. Look, there are some in the netroots that think Spitzer is the second coming. It's legit to point out that he failed the first task of a Governor, which is to bring in a legislature with coattails, and to ask why.  I see a lot of yelling back, but not a single post about why the top of the ticket decided to take a pass on helping Baldeo, wh lost by a mere 783 votes, while not having more than $60,000 to run his campaign on.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-09 12:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Speculation presented as such--which is what I did--is not making crap up. Although, I agree that I should not have ventured this far. But in the heat of debate one tends to sometimes say things one probably shouldn't have...which your comment about "timing" kind of implies.

Plus, I never said or implied that I "think Spitzer is the second coming", and by implying this you're actually making up crap yourself.

As I wrote before, not being up on the details of NY State politics anymore I'm not qualified to get into the details of whether Spitzer did this or that specific thing and whether any of it was "wrong". If what you say is true (and I'm not saying that it isn't), then Spitzer certainly has much to answer for.

I was only saying that now is not the time to do this. In the immediate aftermath of an election that was otherwise extremely successful for us, it just comes across as sour grapes sniping, because it accomplishes nothing but the venting of anger. And I still stand by that. If Spitzer screwed up, then there will be ample time and opportunity to hold him accountable for it in the not so distant future. But not now.

I think you're angry, Jerome, and understandably so. I'd be fuming if I were you too. Hell, I've expressed my anger at Hillary elsewhere on this blog today for not adequately supporting Lamont. But I'm just a nobody commenter, while you're now a respected blogger with considerable influence whom people listen to and cue their opinions from, and I think that the soapbox that you've justifiably earned calls for a certain amount of restraint and thoughtfulness that I felt that your post didn't reflect, which commenters aren't necessarily as subject to.

I'm sure that you'll disagree, which is fine. But please don't mischaracterize my or others' comments as "crap" or discount them as "yelling". You had a point, and so did I and others. Let's keep this civil.

by kovie 2006-11-09 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Jerome, as a followup, I'd just like to add that I can certainly understand your getting defensive when criticized for being critical of a leading member of the Democratic establishment (i.e. Spitzer)--especially on what appear to be quite valid grounds for criticizing him. I imagine that the word "sockpuppet" might come to mind when you are criticized thusly. I hope you'll believe me when I say that I'm not one, at all, which I think that my many, many, many comments (and some diaries) here and elsewhere indicate, in which I've hardly been approving of the likes of many (but certainly not all) of those who currently run our party--and most especially of its DLC wing.

I just came across an article by Matt Taibbi that appeared in Rolling Stone this summer, which you may have read and I'm sure reflects your justifiable anger at and mistrust of this wing of the party (which I knew Hillary was a part of but wasn't aware that Spitzer was as well), especially since it deals with the issue of bloggers and the threat they clearly pose to the DLC. If you haven't seen it, it might be worth a quick scan:

Off With Their Heads


by kovie 2006-11-09 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Hey, no problem. I'm not angry with you at all (and this post certainly has nothing to do with Lamont or Warner). I am frustrated, like a lot of New Yorkers who have emailed me to tell me this post is right on. We had the opportunity to send the Republican Party out completely, and missed it. I hope we get another chance.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-10 03:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

I can understand your frustration at not having been able to take the NY senate or at least win a few more seats. But if memory serves me well the GOP has had a lock on it for decades and Bruno is a very able leader (in a political sense), so this was always going to be a tough and long slog.

As a former longtime NYC resident and lifelong Democrat, I'm personally still upset that the NYC Democratic organization still hasn't been able to get its act together and mount an effective challenge to its GOP counterpart. So I can see your frustration at the state level.

All I can say is that, as you well know, change takes time, especially when you're dealing with entrenched interests and attitudes. The challenge that the party faces in NYS is nothing compared to what it still faces in the south (although I believe that it too will eventually come around). Some of our wins this year were, relatively speaking, "easier" than others (although of course none were truly easy). And the NYS senate was clearly harder than others.

And much of our success this year, of course, had to do more with disgust with Bush and the GOP than an open embrace of Democratic values and candidates. And this disgust was, I assume, simply less operative in NYS than some other places. Which is kind of strange given the economic problems plagueing upstate NY. Perhaps, like all those people who reelected Reynolds, a sense of loyalty to their old-time Repub politicians and to their party outweighed the reality that these Repubs and this party has let them down.

That too will eventually change. I look to '08 for huge pickups for us, at the local, state and national level. There are many gates yet to be crashed.

Keep up the good work.

by kovie 2006-11-10 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Okay, I am in NY (currently Albany actually) so I have explicit knowledge about the Senate seats in the state.  I don't believe that Spitzer was being attacked for anything unwarranted. (really it was only attacking Spitzer for his Presidential chances in '12

Dems picked up 3 seats in 04 despite Bush actually IMPROVING his totals here. Spano only won that year by 18 votes.We had EVERY REASON to take back at least as many  seats this year with 2 huge Dems top ticket in the middle of a national Dem rout.

There are a few reasons that we didnt, and make no mistake...the Democratic leadership in NY holds a great share of the fault for it.  

If the Senate goes Democrat, SPeaker Silver loses a great deal of his power.  The state is no longer necessarily a 3 men in a room strategy state.  

Spitzer should have stepped up as should have Hillary. Patterson let us down as well. Dont misunderstand what I am saying, I have high hopes  for Spitzer and Patterson, 2 individuals that have proven themselves greatly policywise in New York State. Its just that when you want the support of grasroots NY Democrats some of us expect you to step up for the state party and end the ridiculous  "protect eachother's incumbents" strategy perpetrated by each party's leadership since 1964

by jbrowne1976 2006-11-08 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Your comment fills out the post well. I'm thrilled that Spizter won, and think he'll be a great Governor. That said, he is going to be on a national stage now (or there are people who want him there), and I want to know why he didn't go to the mat for a Democratic senate in NY-- fair enough, right?

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-08 03:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

2 of the 3 seats in 2004 were low hanging fruit.  One seat was NY-34 which was won by Jeff Klein.  It was a Dem seat that Guy Valella had kept largely by many of the activities that caused him to go to jail.

The second seat was NY-26, Olga Mendez seat in East Harlem/So Bronx.  She switched parties in 2002 when she got mad at David Patterson and we bounced her with Jose Serrano Jr.

The only "tough seat" seat we won in 2004 was Valesky in the Syracuse area.

This is going to be a picking away for the next two cycles for it to happen.  There are no more easy seats to win.

by John Mills 2006-11-08 05:33PM | 0 recs
Forget Spitzer!! Deval Patrick in 2012 or 2016!

That's because Governor Patrick, when he's done fixing Massachusetts, will be a perfect fit for leadership at the national level.

OK, I'm dreaming here, but I'm just so excited by our decisive grassroots victory. I don't even know if he's interested in moving upwards from governor of our great state. (There's absolutely no indication that he is, actually. He is really keen on being governor.)

I squealed when I saw a local TV interview with Deval Patrick with "Governor-elect" at the bottom of the scream.

Seriously, if you haven't met Patrick (online), go listen to him at www.devalpatrick.tv. Listen to the full speech on the Boston Common in the speech section.

I really do hope he has it in him to run for further office after 8 or 12 years.

by lynne 2006-11-08 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Forget Spitzer!! Deval Patrick in 2012 or 2016

Er, screen.

Wow, am I out of it...I think I need a vacation.

by lynne 2006-11-08 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Kovie said it right, we just had the biggest day in America in years and you're already playing the blame game.

If your State Senate candidate lost, I'm sorry. But some people are actually enjoying a Statewide sweep plus huge wins in Valesky & Stewart-Cousins.

And you're still wrong:

Spitzer and Hillary were very helpful in the competitive races. They raised money, made campaign appearances, and provided staff.

Also, two points:

1) Money has diminishing returns. Eventually, each candidate has to face the realities of their district: voter registration, past voting trends, and the ability to move against the incumbent.

2) Spitzer & Clinton had polling numbers on these races, just like the DSCC. They weren't picking races blindly. If the numbers weren't there, it's counterproductive to step in. When we stretch ourselves thin, we lose. When we focus our resources, we win. Fact.

by Underdog 2006-11-08 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Also, as a follow up.

There's no doubt that the Assembly didn't step in to protect their delicate relationships with the State Senate.

And perhaps the Democrats should have foreseen Maltese's race. Once again, now that seats in play.

After last night, there are probably already 3 seats we can identify as takeable.

by Underdog 2006-11-08 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

Hillary contributed and raised $550,000 for the New York State Democratic Party in this cycle, and HILLPAC-NY contributed $96,000 directly to New York candidates. She headlined events that raised more than $600,000 for New York Democratic candidates; made more than 45 appearances with New York Democratic candidates, recorded robo-calls, and sent e-mails and letters of support. President Bill Clinton went on the campaign trail in New York in the last days of the campaign, including for all 3 successful congressional candidates.

by Underdog 2006-11-08 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Spitzer comes up short in campaign leadership

The trashing of Spitzer doesn't reflect what was going on in Ulster County with the State Senate Race Zimmet(D) v Boniac(R).  I couldn't watch an hour of cable TV without seeing an ad with Zimmet and Spitzer talking about how he need her help in Albany. I must have seen at least 100 ads in the three weeks before election day.  I won't tell you how many calls I got urging me to vote including a personal call from the  Democratic coordinated GOTV.

How she lost both that is more a reflection of the effort the State Republicans threw into the race.  I'm going to heat my house this winter with all of the mailings I got from them.

by rsmscsi 2006-11-09 06:32AM | 0 recs


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