"Political Pornography"

Earlier this week Eric Massa wrote about an attack ad being run by his opponent that lied about his position on social security. (link)  At the time I hadn't seen the ad yet and I didn't quite understand why those who had were so angry about it.  Now that I have seen the ad I understand.  In addition to ugly lies, the ad actually shows senior citizens placed in the crosshairs of a gunsight.  You can see it here.

Eric is getting ready to hit back hard (among other good news he now has more cash on hand than Kuhl!) but I think Kuhl is going to experience a backlash because people will see the ad as tasteless.  Dr. Stephen Coleman, an independent political expert consulted by a local TV station (channel 18 in Elmira) actually called the ad political pornography. Here are some quotes:

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Eric Massa, NY-29, new to Red to Blue

Within the next 48 hours Eric Massa will officially be uploaded to the Red to Blue Website on the DCCC.org.  In case you are unaware, Massa is a dynamic candidate running against Shotgun Senator Randy "Rubberstamp" Kuhl, whose nicknames out number his accomplishments in Washington.

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Breaking: The DCCC finally expands Red2Blue list!

We have all been asking the DCCC to expand the playing field -- and finally it seems that they they finally did just that!

The DCCC's blog, The Stakeholder, reports that FOUR races in NY have become competitive enough for the DCCC to list them as the newest additions to the 'Red2Blue' list.

The NY-03, NY-19,NY-26, and NY-29 have been made into the new 'Red2Blue' races.

[More below]

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NY-29: What "Supporting the Troops" Really Means

If you really want to support the troops you have to do more than just put a magnetic sticker on your vehicle.  Among other things, it means that you stand up for both our troops in the field and for ongoing care for our Veterans at home.  And at a time when we have tens of thousands of new disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, that latter part is especially important.

This weekend has brought some disturbing news for veterans in the 29th District that directly relates to this issue. It appears that the Acute Psychiatric treatment ward at the Canandaigua VA Hospital, just down the road from Rochester, is slated for closure just after the election. (What interesting timing!) This hospital is already the only center of its kind in the area and, in recent years, has faced dramatic cuts in its other medical services. Now, with the impending loss of in-patient psychiatric treatment services, disabled veterans and their families will be forced to travel to as far away as Buffalo.

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NY-29: The Rochester Caucus

Last night, Mark and I drove out to Henrietta, a suburb of Rochester, to see Eric Massa speak to a group of local Democrats. Massa had just come from the final debate with Randy Kuhl, and he was clearly pumped up. The first thing he said when he shook my hand was that "we just won another debate." The excitement I saw for Massa during my time in Rochester was unlike anything I had ever seen for any candidate when I lived in the region, except perhaps for Marty Mack when he ran against James Walsh back in 1996. There is a growing sense among Democrats in the area that not only does Massa just look and feel like a winner, but that Kuhl has been acting lately as though he has already lost. Several times in the past week, Kuhl has referred to his time in Washington entirely in the past tense, as though it was a cherished memory that he won't be adding to from now on.

Massa did not have a long time to talk, but he did talk about something that connect to what I wrote on the Philadelphia suburbs below. He said that after these elections, Rochester would have enough Democratic congress people to form its own caucus. He mentioned how it was strange for a city with only 1.1 million in its metro area to have four congressional seats, but that together they could form a powerful combination: Louise Slaughter's leadership, the business knowledge of Jack Davis, Eric Massa's national security expertise and Dan Maffei's encyclopedic knowledge of seemingly everything. Rochester is a small city, only one-sixth the size of Philadelphia, but a regional realignment in the Flower City (there is some trivia for you) would have nearly as much impact on these and future elections as would a realignment in my adopted home. And damn, it was just so good to see a candidate so pumped and excited. It reminded me of seeing Howard Dean on the campaign trail.

Some of Massa's biggest supporters are the guys who write at the best area blog, Rochester Turning. The night before, Mark and I spent some time hanging out with them at Monty's Korner, which is also where the Rochester Drinking Liberally is held every Thursday at 8:30. These are smart guys. They have already managed to change local TV coverage, founded a popular Drinking Liberally, make excellent use of online video, and make strong connections to local Democratic campaigns and progressive organizations. It is all very impressive stuff for a blog that is only a few months old. It has all the makings of becoming a powerhouse regional blog, and serving as a hub for local netroots activity. And so the progressive movement continues to grow in another region of the country.

In the end, Mark and I did not have the time to make it up to the Utica area to visit Michael Arcuri's campaign in the NY-24. Still, it was fantastic to be back home for a couple of days, and see progressives on the rise in my home region. In addition to activism, traveling, and getting to see my family, we also got to drink some fine local beers. I will need a couple of days to recover, and I also have to attend to matters in my home precinct, but this weekend I will be back out on the campaign trail in the Philadelphia suburbs. Coupling an all-blue Rochester caucus with an all-blue Philadelphia caucus would be a powerful combination. I know that you are probably exhausted by fundraisers at this point, but I would love to see us reach twenty donors for every candidate on the Backyard Act Blue page. We only have three more weeks to make this happen. This is you last chance to make a difference in our biggest electoral opportunity in a generation. Get out there and do whatever you can: knock on doors, make phone calls from home, and chip in that spare $5 you might have sitting around. Find some way near you to get as involved as you possibly can. This is our big chance.


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