Thursday, April 22, 2010

Washington Post: Arcuri Days Numbered?

In Upstate New York, Democrats feel betrayed by Rep. Arcuri . . .
And Rep. Michael Arcuri, the first Democrat to represent this area in the House since 1983, has become one of Congress's most vulnerable Democrats, unpopular not only with conservatives but with many of the activists who helped him get elected. . . .
Like Democrats elected recently in similar districts, Arcuri has tried to please both his base and his crossover supporters. Shortly after taking office, he joined the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition. He voted in favor of the stimulus but against a "cap and trade" bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Then last month, he reversed course on the health-care bill, voting against it along with 33 of his Democratic colleagues after supporting it for months.
Mr. Arcuri has been caught between a rock and a hard place. Had he voted upon his principles, he would have voted for the health-care bill . . . and against the wishes of most of his constituents.  That would have put his position in jeopardy.

Now he has voted with his constituents, but against his principles, upsetting the activists who got out the vote for him in the first place.  That puts his position in jeopardy.
"We certainly appreciate the hard work that activists do, but I represent a largely moderate district and voted the way the district and I thought was best," Arcuri said in an e-mail. On his Web site, he said he was concerned that insurance premiums would rise for families, seniors and small businesses.
Mr. Arcuri's assessment of his situation is correct, of course.  But being correct does not win elections.  Being representative of the electorate does. 

In this Internet age nothing goes unnoticed forever. People find out if their representative's views really match their own.

Why would anyone vote for a candidate who votes their way when watched, but who might act in a different way when not?

If Mr. Arcuri loses the next election, it will not be because he voted wrongly on any particular issue.  It will be because his viewpoint -- his belief system -- no longer represents that of the majority of voters in his district.

Members of Congress are called "representatives" for a reason. 


Anonymous said...

It would be helpful to learn what Arcuri's major opponent's, belief system" is. Throughout the last campaign and thus far in this one, Hanna seems to think his personal narrative and simply calling himself a moderate is enough. What is not enough for this voter is to only vote against; voting for is an essential component in the equation. Otherwise, one does not know who one really elected. If Hanna continues the same non-campaign he ran the last time, he runs the risk of encouraging a non vote in that race. He should remember that coming close once does not assure a win the second time.

Anonymous said...

Reading the article, I fail to see the problem for Arcuri. Arcuri gauged the views of his district. More people in it were against the bill than were for it. In the article, those Democrats might feel "betrayed," but they also said they'd be voting for Arcuri anyway---but with less enthusiasm. Well, do you think Arcuri really cares about their enthusiasm? He just wants their vote. If he'd voted yes on the bill, he'd have lost the Republican and moderate cross-over votes. He's got the Dem votes locked up no matter what. Arcuri played it smart.