Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Democratic Primary in the 29th

From The Fighting 29th comes today a fine analysis of David Nachbar's challenge to Eric Massa for the 2008 Democratic nomination for Congress in the 29th district, currently held by Randy Kuhl. The piece is especially strong on the background, specifically Louise Slaughter's support of Nachbar.


Rottenchester said...

Thanks for the mention. I hope we can agree, no matter what our politics, that having sitting representatives recruiting millionares as primary spoilers probably isn't best route to good government.

philbrick said...

Agreed, and you stated the reasons well in your post, especially the way this development benefits Kuhl.

Can the bragging rights of picking the candidate in an adjacent district be more important to Slaughter than backing the candidate likeliest to win?

The 29th is a district for a southern tier candidate in any event. Hailing from Pittsford only makes it worse for Nachbar's prospects against Kuhl, if Nachbar were nominated, and for the reasons you stated.

Massa may not "present" as well in person as, say, Dan Maffei, but he comes across well enough. Most importantly, he's from the right part of the district, has a more politically appealing background as a military man, has the name recognition won from an effective campaign last year and clearly generates tremendous enthusiasm among the Democratic activist base. He seems to fit Rahm Emmanuel's profile for successful Democratic candidates much more closely than Nachbar.

Money isn't going to be a problem for Massa, either, so the race against Kuhl isn't going to be one where you have to have a wealthy candidate to have any chance to win.

Also, the history of candidates who jump from successful business careers into political life is spotty. Some do well; others do spectacularly badly. Not just because they can be so out of touch with ordinary life, but because the kind of leadership that both politics and government demand for success involves motivating people voluntarily to do things and come together behind ideas. These abilities can be very valuable in corporate life, but they're not necessary to it. The boss says "do this" and employees have to do it or get fired. Which category Nachbar fits in is known only to those who know him.

Bottom line is that Massa is the strongest Democratic candidate and the one who can win votes from registered Republicans, as he has demonstrated. Nachbar handicaps his chances.

If Slaughter is indeed behind this, she's not thinking of her party's best interests in the 2008 election. At least not for district 29.