Massa vs. Kuhl: Massa’s Father Responds

Those of you who follow local politics closely have no doubt seen the controversy between Republican representative Randy Kuhl and Democratic challenger Eric Massa over Massa’s in-person challenge to a debate of last week.  To me, it all seems like pretty harmless stuff, until Kuhl decided to make parentage an issue for the campaign.

It seems Kuhl decided to make a passing reference to what he regarded as Massa’s rudeness and that it may have been as a result of “the luxury of having wonderful parents like I did who taught about parental respect.”

Well, it looks as though Eric Massa’s father has decided to personally respond to the attack on his parenting skills:

While you and Eric may not always see eye to eye, that doesn’t give you the right to attack my wife, myself, our faith and our values. While I was serving our Nation flying combat missions in Vietnam, my wife Mae had to raise our children by herself. I am proud of her, and I am proud of my children. We faced challenges and overcame adversity, but we held together as a family. I am saddened that you have decided to disrespect the sacrifices that Mae and I made for our family.

Try for a moment to block out the idea of what Randy Kuhl’s statement literally says: that Massa should show Kuhl “parental respect.”  Try to block out the idea of Kuhl as patrician.  What kind of politician makes an attack this personal over what was really just a small political stunt?  Based on what I know of Kuhl’s aversion to cameras, I’m guessing its a very insecure man for his position.

But perhaps Kuhl or his campaign has another opinion?  Full transcript after the fold:


Get a New Act

When it comes to trumpeting the failed policies and anaemic strategies of the national Republican Party, our local Republican Representatives never fail to live up to expectations.  Randy Kuhl and Tom Reynolds (who?) are both making public statements in favour of more drilling to solve our nation’s oil crisis.

Where is the pressure – from either party – on American auto makers to produce energy-efficient cars?  Where is the effort to bring manufacturers together around the idea of creating energy-efficient home appliances?

Debating the efficacy of drilling or bitching about coal isn’t getting us anywhere.


Massa Jettison’s Spitzer Money / Jon Power’s Spitzer Reaction

Rochester Turning has filed a report from the latest Eric Massa press call. They’re reporting that Mr. Massa has decided to give the money he got from Spitzer away to charity rather than keeping it. Below is the relevant text of the post, with some minor formatting: turning the tide upstate

Q, Jill Terreri, D&C: Why were you compelled to donate the money he gave to you?

A: I want to sever all ties with Eliot Spitzer and myself. I am not going to return the money to him so he can continue using it for whatever purpose he is using his money. We donated the money to battered women in Steuben County to put it to some good use.

Mr. Massa is definitely one of those guys who would make this sort of decision on his own, purely on integrity. But does it concern him at all that the NRCC has already made calls for Democratic candidates to release Spitzer’s “dirty money?” This action may come across to voters as a capitulation to Republican pressure, though his opponent Randy Kuhl has thus far not made the same demands. And what about other candidates, are they likely to follow suit?  Jared Smith at Massa for Congress was good enough to pass along my questions.

The Massa camp reiterated Eric Massa’s “disgust” for Eliot Spitzer’s actions, and said he shared those feelings with all New Yorkers.  They further responded responded that, indeed, their decision to donate the money to The Net Domestic Abuse Program in Steuben County was Mr. Massa’s own decision and not based on any outside pressure. They pointed out that Randy Kuhl is among those Republican politicians who have not returned the money taken from the indicted Tom DeLay, so NRCC pressure does not seem to concern them much.  As for pressure on Democratic candidates, the Massa campaign responded that they can only speak for and act on their own behalf.

I also spoke with Jon Powers‘ campaign manager, John Gerken. He indicated that Mr. Powers supported calls for Spitzer to resign as the best way to resolve the issue for voters in the state. When I asked about Eric Massa’s decision to donate Spitzer’s money, Mr. Gerken said that Jon Powers has not accepted any money from Eliot Spitzer.


. . . But Anyway, About that Digital TV Thing

While the local media and our intrepid blogging community take a closer look at Randy Kuhl’s Brazilian, Randy counters with an unusual mailer, depicting old people hugging. H/t to our loyal reader, Renyard Reynard D. Fox for scanning and sending this in.

Never mind that trip to Rio! Everybody, get your television boxes updated before it’s too late – in a year and a half – or you’ll miss Matlock and Murder She Wrote forever:

Old People, Hugging. Additional Confusing Details


The Massa/Kuhl SCHIP Showdown

Eric Massa has been needling incumbent Randy Kuhl over that representative’s support of the president against the SCHIP bill, which would have expanded support of children’s health care under the Congressional plan.  Because the president vetoed the recent bill, and because Congress has been unable to muster a override in part because of representatives like Kuhl, the SCHIP program not only did not get expanded, but was actually defunded.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been receiving mailers from the Massa campaign wherein he’s challenged Kuhl to a debate, which now according to the most recent mailer, looks to be possibly happening in March sometime.  If it actually happens (I have my doubts), it should be an interesting exchange.  It will change nobody’s mind on much of anything, I don’t think, but it would be great to see a nice pre-election debate on the issue.


Get Your Story Straight, Randy

Looks like 13WHAM has decided to get into the act of checking up on Randy’s excursion to Brazil. Exile commented on the story at, here. As for myself, I’ve stayed out of this one, since discussing Congressional trips tends to serve more as political hay than legitimate gripes. Sure, the trips cost money and that’s not good, but it’s a drop in the bucket. I’m more concerned if the trip starts to involve more back-scratching with unsavory elements a la Tom DeLay‘s junkets to the South Pacific.

But Randy, the least you could do is get the story straight. Other Congressmen that were on the same trip aren’t telling the same story:

13WHAM Investigates Congressman’s Trip to Brazil –

When questioned about the tourist destinations the group visited, Engel’s office said that the delegation did enjoy several excursions not related to official business–like a visit to Iguazu Falls–but that everyone who went had to pay for those excursions out of their own pockets.Still, Kuhl’s office said that the excursions were related to official business–such as their trip into the Amazon–implying that taxpayers will pay for that.

The bottom line is that Randy’s office appears to be very, very worried and falling back on the “official business” defense. As Exile points out on RT, they justify the trip on some extraordinarily weak grounds, including drug trafficking research and terrorism. Really? Terrorism?

Personally, I think this is one of those situations where politicians do themselves more harm than good.  Just tell us what happened, for chrissakes, and get it over with.