I just got into London moments ago, so this piece may not go through the multi-layered editorial process we normally use here….
So you’ve probably heard that Michael Steele will get fired if Republicans don’t win the special election in NY-20. Steele’s an idiot and I wouldn’t blame them for firing him, but why is this his fault and not Eric Cantor’s?
A little background here. The race should be a gimme for Republicans: it’s a +3-4 Cook PVI for Republicans (too jet-lagged to look this up) and Republicans have a massive registration advantage, something like 18 points. The only reason Gillibrand ever won it is because she ran a perfect campaign and her opponent was caught beating his wife a few weeks before the election. In this race, Republicans have local legend Jim Tedisco (minority leader of the State Assembly) and the Democrats have someone with low name recognition, Scott Murphy (any Democrat will have low name recognition since all the local offices are held by Republicans). It should be a 10-15 point win for Republicans.
But it may not be. And the reason isn’t Michael Steele’s avant-garde theatrics, it’s Eric Cantor’s decision to make all Republicans vote against the stim bill. Tedisco won’t say he which way he would have voted on it, because voters in the district like it, but he can’t buck Cantor et al. Here’s the Times on this:
All the makings of a Republican rout.
Yet now when layoffs, foreclosures and anxiety are freezing the Catskills, Adirondacks and Hudson Valley like an economic ice storm, a single issue — the $787 billion federal stimulus package — appears to be providing the Democratic newcomer, Scott Murphy, with some traction in the campaign to succeed Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in the House of Representatives.
His Republican opponent, James N. Tedisco, the minority leader in the State Assembly, refuses to say how he would have voted on the stimulus bill. To endorse it, Republican operatives acknowledge, would put him at odds with every House Republican and endanger his support from Washington.
There’s too many local editorials attacking Tedisco over this to count — here’s one from the main paper in the area, the Albany Times-Union. Here he is getting hammered by local tv about it. Of course, it doesn’t help that he demanded to know where Caroline Kennedy stood on the stimulus package (a perfectly reasonable demand, I might add).
If Tedisco loses, Cantor certainly won’t lose his job, but I do wonder if he’ll still feel like he’s back in the saddle again.
And wouldn’t you know it? The first black RNC Chair will take the fall for everything. I guess some things never change.