(12/4) Catskill Mountain News Article

Original post can be found HERE on Catskill Mountain News

No Rap on Antonio

Recall during the congressional unpleasantness, that winning Democrat Antonio Delgado thrice (at the least) said that if elected, he would not vote for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Last week in Democratic caucus he voted for her.

Before any of our right-of-center readers and web visitors break out the pitchforks and torches, some perspective is in order.

There are always two sides to a story, just as there are two faces to most politicians. But there is a world of difference, as Jimmy Carter discovered to his dismay, between a successful campaign and actually governing.

Delgado, carried to victory by an 18,000-vote plurality in Ulster over Republican incumbent John Faso, had admitted even a passing fancy for Pelosi, he might now be cooling his heels in Rhinebeck instead of finalizing plans for his congressional inauguration in about three weeks.

For Republicans, Pelosi represents everything bad, even evil, about Democrats, liberals and the Washington establishment. Try as he might, Faso could not connect Delgado and Pelosi in the public mind, mostly because Delgado kept saying he would not vote for Pelosi as Speaker.

The last time I heard him deny Pelosi was at the congressional debate in Woodstock in late October. Asked by a moderator if he would vote for Pelosi as Speaker, Delgado simply said “no.” Standing ten feet away at the podium, Faso expressed bemusement that his opponent would deny somebody who was funneling (millions) via the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (which she heads as House minority leader) into his campaign.

And then Delgado voted for her, but I digress. The question is why. The answer is obvious. Pelosi will be the next Speaker of the House if she isn’t already by the time this hits the newsstands. She went to caucus with about 200 of the 218 votes necessary for election with only a few Democrats willing to stand up and ask for support.

No wonder. Over a long career in Congress Pelosi has established a reputation for take-no-prisoners bare-knuckled toughness. Mess with this Speaker – any Speaker for that matter – and you will pay. The pragmatic Delgado understood that and acted accordingly.

Being among the handful of freshmen members to jump on the departing Pelosi bandwagon was not only good timing on Delgado’s part, but smart politics. He is not yet in the Speaker’s inner circle but she will forgive him for all those unkind campaign remarks about “new leadership” in the House. And she may well shower him with choice committee assignments, priority on home-impact legislation, grants and access and maybe an office with a view. Voting the wrong way for Speaker could banish one to a Capitol broom closet.

So, let’s not rap Delgado for making campaign promises he probably had no intention of keeping. Instead, let’s give him some credit for giving his vote to the highest bidder, in the best interests of his constituents.

Ulster carries weight

Delgado’s 18,000-vote landslide in Ulster County should inform his choices for staffing. Put another way, if Delgado carried Ulster by 18K and the district by around 7,000, it means 11,000 more people voted for Republican John Faso in the rest of the district. Ulster being the largest county in the 11-county 19th CD, the new congressman will of course maintain a district office in Kingston. His district director should be a high-profile local who doesn’t mind working nights and weekends. Faso, by comparison, hired a district director from Saratoga, and it cost him.

Delgado’s choices for district director and staff, soon to be announced, will go a long way toward determining whether he, like Faso, will be a one-termer.

Speaking of one-termers…

Ranking #41

History may well treat the Bush presidents, father and son, 41 and 43, kinder than when they were in office, as has been evidenced by the passing last week of President George H.W. Bush.

I’m not sure Dubyuh, as he’s known in Texas, did much to further his father’s legacy in suggesting history would rank H.W. as the best among the nation’s one-term presidents.

Father and son were obviously close, but this was damned faint praise on the younger’s part. With the possible exception of the Adams family, the ten elected one-termers were a less than an impressive collection. Do names like Van Buren, Pierce, Buchanan, Hayes, Hoover and Carter ring a bell?

I thought the late president brought civility to the White House, something altogether lacking these days. His son should leave history to the historians.