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Collins vs. Hochul in NY-27? Bring It.

27 Jun

Kathy Hochul vs. Chris Collins? The 2011 County Executive race that wasn’t, resurrected? The popular Hochul gets to not only campaign in her former homebase of Hamburg, but throughout a district that she’s served eagerly and well? 

Bring. It. 

Bellavia did quite well in the GLOW counties, as was expected, but Collins obliterated him in Erie and Niagara Counties. 

And when I say “obliterated”, I mean that fewer than 8,000 people voted in Erie County, and 2,759 people voted in Niagara County.  The total vote count was about 19,000 throughout the district. 

If you subtract out Erie and Niagara Counties, Collins received about 2,960 votes, and Bellavia received about 4,500; Bellavia beat Collins in GLOW 61 – 39%.  It reveals a few ugly truths about the Buffalo media market. Firstly, the only thing that matters to the Republican Party in Erie and Niagara Counties is money. It’s why they’ve aggressively courted the Independence and Conservative Parties to act as their corrupt surrogates. It’s why they’ve turned over the reins of the party to people like Chris Collins and Carl Paladino – brash people who by all rights don’t belong anywhere near political office, yet get their way repeatedly.  Why? Because the party sees them, and their eyes turn into dollar signs like Scrooge McDuck, and they immediately fantasize about a future where they get middling electoral results, but get to dive into a basement-full of gold coins and overflowing treasure chests. 

Chris Collins is planning on regurgitating his “brighter future” catchphrase – a promise he sure as hell didn’t fulfill while acting as County Executive. In fact, he went out of his way during that time to give comfort to his conservative, suburban, well-off base, and to do harm to the urban poor on whom he didn’t rely, and about whom he gives no thought. The only thing missing now is his messianic Six Sigma nonsense. Perhaps he can learn lessons, after all. 

But I tend to doubt it. What his primary against Bellavia showed is that he’s going to run exactly the same race against Hochul that he ran against Poloncarz, and that Corwin ran against Hochul. It’s going to be an expensive race where the candidate avoids voters, doesn’t listen, parks in handicapped spots, runs to the front of parades, insults random people, and will do everything in his power to not debate his opponent

The astonishing thing is that the Collins/Corwin method of campaigning seems to work with WNY Republican voters. They seem  perfectly willing to vote the way Nick or Carl or Chris tell them to, and they sure as hell don’t need any “information” or “platform” – just an (R) after the name.

I look forward to hearing more about fiscal restraint from a guy who proudly describes how he started his business by maxing out his credit cards. You think Collins can score points against Hochul for being a tax ‘n spend liberal? What does that make Collins? He likes to say he’s looking out for the taxpayers, he’s raised taxes on us, and gone to court to prevent the legislature from keeping those hikes lower. Although he says he’s careful with our money, he’s spent millions on his friends and cronies, without regard to results or merit. Although Collins likes to seem as if he’s a good government type, he repeatedly and brazenly violated the county charter in terms of providing monthly budget monitoring reports. A brighter future? Why in four years did he maintain the tired, failed status-quo when it comes to attracting and keeping businesses in western New York; eschewing the notion of IDA consolidation, and hasn’t set up a one-stop-shop for businesses to use when considering a move to our region.

 Chris Collins found under 6,000 Republicans in Erie County to vote for him. 

Later today, Chris Smith and Brad Riter will post a podcast through Trending Buffalo (entire interview via the preceding link) which will contain the interview I did yesterday with David Bellavia. He was confident that he would win, but he got out-spent and he underperformed farther west. But as a moderate yet partisan Democrat, when I spoke with him about issues I found someone who is nothing like how he’s portrayed by Collins or his detractors on either side of the political spectrum. The tea party guy isn’t some frothing right-wing lunatic. He’s a thoughtful guy who isn’t about public-office-as-American-nobility, but instead about service. I disagree with him about social issues, but he doesn’t simply dismiss – or worse, denigrate – those who hold different views. I disagree with him about how Citizens United should be repaired, but he recognizes the problem and proposes a different solution, with perhaps fewer Constitutional problems.  He thinks the federal government wildly overspends, but opposes the Ryan budget while recognizing the need to maintain entitlement programs, and quickly pivots to a discussion of the myriad, expensive entitlement programs we grant to big business with nary a peep out of anyone. 


Within literally moments of the AP calling the race for Collins last night, Hochul released this: 

“Chris Collins has made it a hallmark of his campaign to avoid taking positions on key issues.  But one thing is clear, Mr. Collins supports Paul Ryan’s budget; a plan that turns Medicare into a voucher program and makes seniors pay $6,400 more for their Medicare benefits to fund tax cuts for multi-millionaires.  He has even has said that it does not go far enough.

“It is time that Chris Collins comes clean with voters about his plans to take the Ryan’s budget further.  What more could he do on top of decimating Medicare and protecting the super rich?  We hope that now that he is the nominee he willing to answer questions on the issues that matter most to the people of the 27th district.”

Yes, it’s exactly a re-litigation of an issue that heated up during the May 2011 special election Hochul won. It’s one that Hochul wins handily, because Medicare is ridiculously popular and efficient, and there’s no reason to destroy it and yank it away from anyone alive today – whether it be seniors already enjoying Medicare, or every American now living, and expecting them when they become seniors. 

Let’s talk about Obamacare, which the hyperpartisan conservative-activist Roberts court may repeal or effectively cripple. People like Collins will cheer that result, but offer absolutely no reasonable alternative. To people like Collins, our health care insurance system is just fantastic. The poor should lose their Medicaid, though. And the old should have to pay more for Medicare. That way, we can afford more tax cuts for multimillionaires in Spaulding Lake.  That way, we can maybe fight another war. Maybe in Iran. They’re bad. 

But a take-down of Obamacare opens us up to having a discussion about alternative ways for the United States to heal the sick. We should pivot off a SCOTUS loss and the Ryan budget’s idiocy and talk about expanding Medicare to all Americans. Make it voluntary, and let health insurers offer policies to supplement things Medicare doesn’t cover fully. Boom. All done problem, and we have universal care and can eliminate Medicaid as redundant, to boot. 

Let the fun begin.