The post-Sullivan Buffalo News is releasing its endorsements for the upcoming election. Its endorsement of Stefan Mychajliw over incumbent David Shenk is almost begrudging (registration may be required), reading like an elementary school essay.
Mychajliw recognizes his strengths and shortcomings, and would continue the Poloncarz-era oversight of county government.
The editorial board believes Shenk has failed to exert any real independence during his short tenure, and Mychajliw’s education and background is totally inconsistent with accounting, auditing, or any other financial control whatsoever. Mychajliw comes across as the least-bad choice because he’s of the other party. But hasn’t he been campaigning on his independence, rather than his partisanship?
In the race for the 60th Senate District, it gives incumbent Republican Mark Grisanti the nod, thanks to his votes for marriage equality, a new tier for the state pension system, and his push for UB 2020. The paper’s editorial board gives Democrat Amodeo a one-line “whatever, dude”, and notes that the Conservative Party’s Swanick is a carrer opportunist who embodies homophobic anachronism. At least they got one of those right.
In the 62nd, incumbent Republican George Maziarz is preferred over Democrat Amy Hope Witryol, mostly because he has clout in Albany, or something.
There is no mention made, yet, of the 61st District where Newstead’s Justin Rooney is taking on 20-year career politician Mike Ranzenhofer.
In the congressional races, the Buffalo News wanted to see even a smidge of willingness by the candidates to cross the aisle and act bipartisanly for the good of the country and their districts. In the 23rd District, it picks Republican Tom Reed over Nate Shinagawa, because he said he’d work with Democrats to fix the deficit. The News prefers Democratic incumbent Brian Higgins because he’s a doer who doesn’t take no for an answer, over tea party activist Mike Madigan who had to eschew all of his tea-party ideas in favor of something that might actually sell in a Democratic district – school reform. The News noted that this is a local issue, so he should run for local office.
But the most striking language came in the News’ endorsement of incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul over Republican Chris Collins. Noting that Hochul has shown significant independent streaks during her short tenure, Collins is quite the opposite. In fact, the News writes that the choice of Hochul over Collins is “clear and obvious”.
More than that, her Republican opponent, former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, flat-out has no business in Congress, unless voters want to see more of the division and rancor that has already made this Congress the lowest-rated ever in an election year.
Collins has a chief executive mindset and lacks both the willingness to compromise and the people skills that effective lawmakers need. Many voters seem to recognize that, given that polling shows a dead-even race in the overwhelmingly Republican district.
What Congress desperately needs are representatives who are passionate about their districts and their country, but who recognize that their political adversaries may also have legitimate viewpoints that their constituents endorse. Hochul has already demonstrated her commitment to that kind of leadership. She is devoted to representing a largely conservative district well.
I can only imagine how that editorial board interview went. Other papers live-Tweet, videotape, or otherwise release those interviews. The Buffalo News should do the same. It continues,
Collins, meanwhile, lacks the ability to perceive shades of difference in issues. He says he would be willing to compromise with Democrats as long as they first agree to his vision. That, in fact, is a barely disguised pledge not to compromise. That destructive tactic, routinely practiced by House Republicans, nearly led the country to default on its debt last year and consequently led to this January’s looming – and economically disastrous – fiscal cliff.
Collins is a single-minded, intensely focused individual, a quality that has no doubt helped produce his notable success as a businessman. But it didn’t work well for him as county executive and it will work even worse in what should be the collaborative process of lawmaking.
The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a staunch Massachusetts liberal, was widely regarded by his peers – Democratic and Republican – as a top-notch legislator. Why? Because he was willing to form relationships across the aisle to achieve important national goals. He worked with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is at least as far to the right as Kennedy was to the left.
Hochul has the necessary combination of vision, pragmatism and friendliness to adopt that model. Collins does not.
Collins clearly has an interest in public affairs and we encourage him to continue that interest. But he is not cut out for legislative office. Sometimes leaders have to play different roles than the ones they imagine. Collins should find that role and Hochul should go back to Congress.
I can’t remember ever reading a more strongly worded editorial against a particular candidate’s bona fides from any paper, ever.