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Our future, our voices, and your vote

justice
There is nothing quite like political predictions. Whether it’s Sarah Palin talking about Russia in 2008, or numerous Republicans and pundits talking about the retreat from Iraq in 2011, or even the polling for former Congressman Eric Cantor political predictions are always a matter of intense debate and attention. With the Republican Primary for the New York 22nd congressional district less than a week away, it seemed a good time to review the predictions made in this race.

One of the first things that should be noted is money. The first barrier to the race, mentioned in every meeting and many public speaking engagements that I had from April 2013 until I voluntarily exited the race to support Claudia Tenney. As many have heard me say, my predictions were:

  • 1) Rep. Hanna will spend 10-1 for his effort to get re-elected
  • 2) The race can be won by a challenger (implying myself at the time, and no different now) with $150,000

    Given those predictions, the reality is amazing on target.

    Rep. Hanna’s campaign, with the major help of his self-funding and a pro-gay marriage PAC, is spending $1 million on his re-election effort compared to the $111,000 of Claudia Tenney. With these figures, some estimates are calling the race even.

    The reason why I made those predictions, and why we are seeing them come true, is because Rep. Hanna is not (and I believe cannot) running on his record. He is refusing to debate because of what his voting record proves. He is avoiding presenting his record in his commercials (you can see that in my response to the Hanna’s Diner commercial – http://youtu.be/HANFCkolj5E). The public, and Republican voters, are noticing.

    Thus we have a race where Rep. Hanna has taken to mocking opponents, flippant disparaging remarks on his lack of response to challenges, and a general disregard for the will of the people who signaled their intense desire for comparison and choice when petitions were signed.

    In addition, predictions were made that this race would get national attention. As news media are now reporting, that is exactly the case.

    This race, in 2013, was considered a given for the incumbent. It was not seen as eventful. The expectation was a simple win for the incumbent based on the mere fact that he held a title and is independently wealthy. Neither of these reasons are credible reasons for anyone to be elected, let alone re-elected.

    Since that time, Rep. Hanna has revealed via his avoidance of his record, his votes for funding Obamacare, his push for immigration reform at the cost of 160,000 American jobs a year, his votes for late-term abortion, his votes to increase taxes and unlimited debt ceiling increases until 2015, Rep. Hanna has proven his liberal leaning and justified his rating as the 3rd most liberal Republican in Congress.

    This has lead to the interest of conservative groups, like an assortment of Tea Party organizations and the New York Conservative Party, the Gun Owners of America, Oathkeepers, NY Revolution and 2nd Amendment organizations, ShePAC, Fox News and more.

    That say nothing of individual conservatives like Laura Ingraham, Betsy McCaughey, Wendy Long, Carl Paladino and may others (of course including myself).

    At the same time, unexpectedly, Eric Cantor – another proponent of immigration reform like HR 2131 – lost his re-election bid to a massively outspent far more conservative opponent.

    National attention is firmly focused on this race.

    Lastly I predicted that Rep. Hanna is weak, and can be beaten.

    As I mentioned before, the Hanna campaign won’t discuss the record of a 2-term congressman in public. They won’t allow a debate on the issues and the voting record. In politics there is no greater signal of weakness.
    Which brings me to defeating Rep. Hanna. It is a reality ready to happen, needing only the active participation of Republican voters.

    There are some 160,000 Republicans in the New York 22nd District. In the past a mere fraction, less than 8000 votes, decided who would represent us in Congress. Apathy, lack of choice, the absence of a true conservative, accountable to the will of the people kept many away from voting.

    But on June 24th it can be different. There is a true choice. We have the 3rd most Conservative Assemblymember in NY State running. We have a mother of a Marine Officer, a small businesswoman, and a dedicated servant of the people available and willing to champion our causes on the floor of Congress.

    We just need to go and vote to put her there.

    I ask you, and the Republicans you know, to take a stroll on June 24th to your polling locations and take 5 minutes to vote. Make your voice heard across New York State and on the floor of Congress. Let’s, together, make a statement that money cannot buy an election, debates on the issues matter, and that re-election is a gift given only to those that have earned the privilege.

    Join me on June 24th, as we vote to elect Claudia Tenney and fulfill my final prediction.

    Sincerely

    Michael Vasquez
    Former NY 22nd Congressional District candidate
    Supporter of Claudia Tenney

  • Rep. Hanna asked NY-22 to look at his record, here is what I found…

    On May 2, 2014, Rep. Richard Hanna asked Republican voters listening to WIBX to review his record and decide who to vote for in the June 24th NY Primary, which without a Democrat running is effectively the congressional election.

    Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

    Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

    I took his advice, and this is what I found:

    1. Since 2010, Rep. Hanna has passed 2 commemorative coin Bills, and named a post office (from 2011 to present).

    2. Every other Bill that Rep. Hanna has created since 2011 is dead in the water with no significant support from Dems or Republicans – including the non-partisan Bill to give reservist who died serving our nation at war gravestones.

    Going no further, that raises the question of just how effective Rep. Hanna is in Congress. But moving on… Rep. Hanna is also ambivalent, and flip-flops, on a lot of major issues.

    According to the record, he has taken both sides on restricting the NSA. He has said he opposes abortion, but voted to support late-term abortions. He supports STEM jobs for Americans but is pushing to give 160,000 STEM jobs to foreign students instead of American students.

    But what does Rep. Hanna do when it really matters?

  • With the debate over the 1st Amendment on the line in 2012, via the Stop Online Piracy Act, Rep. Hanna had no opinion beyond listening to the debate.
  • With Syria, as President Obama sought to grab greater power and push America into a unilateral war, Rep. Hanna had no opinion until the issue was over.
  • After 40 votes on Obamacare – that Rep. Hanna has called “ceremonial” (as seen on Youtube) – when it mattered in 2013, he voted with Democrats to fund Obamacare without condition.
      He has also attacked the alternatives provided by Republicans since 2011.
  • While claiming to be fiscally responsible, Rep. Hanna voted to cut military pensions and provide Democrats with unlimited debt ceiling increases in spending, January 2014.
  • With the revelation of the White House lying to the public on Benghazi, as proven by a recent email disclosed this week, Rep. Hanna – according to his statements live on-air on May 2nd – either has no idea what is going on, or just agrees with former Secretary Hillary Clinton.

    So with just a cursory view of Rep. Hanna’s record, I conclude:

    1. Rep. Hanna has justified his rating as the 3rd most Liberal Republican in Congress (he calls himself a moderate).

    2. His talk of the benefit to constituents from his support for Democrats and their issues does not exist.
    3. He actively supports issues that his constituents oppose.
    4. Rep. Hanna supports a “bandwagoning” approach to his work in Congress – he says and does almost nothing until he can safely jump on the winning side of an issue, regardless of constituent opinion.

    When I look at the record, I see a New York City Democrat on the Upstate NY Republican ballot. I see someone who is either ineffective in the job, or otherwise inconsiderate of representing the voters that elected him.

    Thus I support Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. Because she is the only consistent, accountable, voice of voters in the NY 22nd Congressional race.

    But don’t take my word for it.

    Follow the request of Rep. Hanna and actually look at his record yourself. Then ask yourself, are these votes and public comments reflecting the core values of the Republican Party? Is this action, and inaction, representing your values in Congress?

    Then go vote in the NY 22nd congressional district primary for Congress on June 24th.

  • Pres. Obama talks NSA, Rep. Hanna visits Southern Tier, and the net result is?

    For the week August 5 – August 10, there has been no end of talk from the Executive and Legislative Branches. President Obama held a press conference on 8/4, and Rep. Richard Hanna of the NY-22 was in the Southern Tier for part of the week. But what does that all mean? What is the real result of all the bluster?

    NSA internet surveillence program known as PRISM
    Looking at President Obama’s calls to make the NSA, and intelligence agencies in general, more transparent is a welcome sign. It has only taken 2 months of public outcry to get a response from the Obama Administration. During that time the public has become aware of the massive access that the Government has to private and personal information of virtually every American in the nation without cause. In this 2 month span, Congress discussed and voted to restrict the Patriot Act section 215 as well as programs like PRISM – the Amash Amendment (H Amend 413) was defeated in a bi-partisan vote [Rep. Hanna voted against Amash].

    So President Obama, late to the issue, is now concerned about the privacy issues that he defended as “transparent” on June 17, 2013, in an interview with Charlie Rose – that was rated by the independent fact-checking source Politifact as a Pant’s On Fire lie.

    Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, is quoted in that fact-check as stating
    “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s raison d’être is to prevent any information about surveillance from being made available – much less authoritative ones,” Harper said. “I don’t know of any plausible meaning of ‘transparent’ that encompasses the ‘oversight behind closed doors’ concept.”

    But the question remains, how transparent will this sudden change of heart be? In the press conference President Obama did not address what is to become of the records already collected and stored indefinitely by the NSA. President Obama did not comment on how those records are being used, or how abuse is being prevented. That is especially important as Sen. Ron Wyden stated on July 30th

    “We had a big development last Friday when Gen. [James] Clapper, the head of the intelligence agencies, admitted that the community had violated these court orders on phone record collection, and I’ll tell your viewers that those violations are significantly more troubling than the government has stated.”

    It seems apparent that the “transparency” promised will require more than just the eloquent words of a President that has a failed track record on transparency promises, like a determined effort by members of Congress to ensure legislation as well as oversight is enacted. But Congress is divided on that point.

    Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

    Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)


    Which brings up Rep. Richard Hanna. As previously noted above, and stated in a prior article I wrote on July 25th, Rep. Hanna has voted against restricting the NSA and other agencies from the blanket powers they currently have. That is at odds with his publicized statements that he is in favor of limiting that power. Rep. Hanna is also absent his support on other legislation to restrict the blanket power of the Government to spy on average citizens, as seen in his lack of support for H.R. 2399: LIBERT-E Act. Thus his stated position seems hollow compared to his actions in Congress.

    Yet such flip-flops do not seem to trouble Rep. Hanna as he visited the Southern Tier – finally. Though he has been the representative of a district that covers the Southern Tier and Central NY, he has largely avoided the area until the current recess of Congress.

    While this week Rep. Hanna has talked with firefighters and Binghamton University, stating a commitment to help small business and communities, there is no lack of question to his commitment on these issues. Since 2011, when he entered Congress, Rep Hanna has sponsored and/or co-sponsored 22 Bills. Of those he has succeeded in naming a Post Office, and getting 2 baseball commemorative coin legislation passed. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, and member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Joint Economic Committee, constituents might expect more but that is not what has been received.

    Still, the bigger question may be where has Rep. Hanna been before the current recess of Congress and the announcement of a potential Republican challenger (myself). One might even question if Rep. Hanna would have bothered to address the Southern Tier were it not for the potential of a challenger, as his efforts in the 2012 re-election campaign seemed to display.

    Like with President Obama, Rep. Hanna appears to be trailing the needs of constituents. In fact, based on his flip-flops of making statements to constituents and voting opposite on the floor of Congress, Rep. Hanna appears to be a mysterious force in Congress. He has attacked his Party, apparently abandoned his campaign positions, and sided against the Rights and best interests of his constituents (in my opinion) on multiple occasions. One would be hard pressed to define his positions on late-term abortion, immigration reform, drones and legislation restricting their abuse by Government, or several other issues.

    None of which adds any credibility or confidence in his ability or desire to actually follow up on everything discussed and presented this week in the Southern Tier.

    What has the political talk of August 5th – 10th provided the New York 22nd Congressional District and the nation? Not much when any deeper consideration of what has been said is looked at. While the soundbites sound great, this cursory attempt to maintain political power and placate the public ultimately provides no confidence that anything but the current status quo will be maintained.

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