In 2006, the Iraq War was "pre-surge," still making daily newspaper headlines, and deeply unpopular. Massa's campaigned tried to seize on the unpopularity of the war and ran on a "I served in the military, and I'm against the war" platform. The race was within a couple points and it took a couple days after the election to figure out exactly who won.
My favorite moment of the entire campaign was getting a voicemail message on my cell from a Massa supporter who wanted me to vote for Massa because Kuhl voted in favor of "CAFTA: The Columbian Free Trade Agreement" which would "ship our jobs to Columbia".
Not being utterly ignorant, I knew the bill was the Central America Free Trade Agreement (or, actually - the Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement). And having a basic grasp of simple economics, such as the principle of comparative advantage, I'm also not ignorant enough to think free trade is a raw deal. For those and a number of other reasons, I voted Kuhl.
Kuhl is nothing to write home about. He resembles everything I hate about the Republican party. In a debate this past week on a local Rochester TV station, Kuhl basically refused to admit that all the pork he's brought back to the district is, in fact, pork. And, as of tonight, doing a Google search on "Kuhl" and "pork" turns up a post on my blog as the top hit (in which I take Kuhl to task for his porking).
And yet, somehow, Massa winds up being even worse than Kuhl in my book.
Let me see if I can explain using this handy diagram of Massa's campaign (click for a larger version):
At some point, Eric Massa got a hold of a picture of Randy Kuhl and President Bush smiling in the back seat of a limo together. Massa uses this image in several of his TV ads and apparently, has a giant wall sized poster of it that he takes around with him.
Apparently, he thinks the good people of NY-29 can be swayed over like a bunch of 4 year olds using the juvenile logic of "see! see! see! Bush is like soooo evil, and Kuhl is like Bush and so Kuhl is evil. Look, look! They were even in a limo together! And they're smiling!!!!!!"
Those of us that aren't 4 years old say "Wow. Two politicians of the same political party were in a car together. And, what's the big deal again?"
Massa also continues to be anti-war and anti-trade. Given our success in Iraq but the trouble in our economy, I find the anti-trade position to be the more concerning of the two. A few weeks ago I responded on YouTube to his anti-trade ad with the following that I'll quote here:
In 1930, in an attempt to help a troubled economy, the government followed the advice Eric Masssa is advocating in this ad: to move away from free trade towards protectionism.
The result was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, one of the central causes of the Great Depression.
By contrast, the United States saw great economic gains from NAFTA, a policy established under President Clinton!
Our current economic issues come from HUD, Freddie, and Fannie pushing subprime loans, NOT free trade.
I'll at least give Massa the benefit that he allows comments on his videos.
Perhaps the most concerning thing about Massa though, beyond his juvenile "Bush = Kuhl" rhetoric and stance on free trade, is that in his ads he promotes himself as an "independent voice" but he'd be nothing of the sort.
Massa's campaign is being supported by groups that are left-wing (like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and far-left-wing (like the Daily Kos). These groups aren't giving Massa massive amounts of campaign cash to be "an independent voice."
They want him to be their voice and give left-wing Democrats even further control over the Congress. Or, as Daily Kos founder, Markos Moulitsas, puts it:
We have an imperative to take advantage of a historic opportunity to break the conservative movement's backs and crush their spirits. In the White House, that means getting Obama a broad popular and geographic mandate for change. In the House, that means annihilating the Republican caucus and working toward a 100-seat Democratic majority. In the Senate it means getting to a 60-seat filibuster proof majority.
Any typically Republican voters considering "going Democrat" this cycle may want to think about if they really want to see a filibuster-proof majority of Democrats in Congress under the control of Nancy "you have to rip their face off" Pelosi and Harry "this war is lost, and the surge is not accomplishing anything" Reid.
Finally, I'll leave you with a YouTube video I put together of Massa flatly lying about the Bush record on taxes. I did feel a little out of place putting together something that's an awful lot like an attack ad, but I'm so sick of hearing liberal politicians slander the "Bush tax cuts" as tax cuts that were only for the "super rich" that I thought it important to call one of them out on this: