Let me put my cards on the table:
I’m a child of the 1960s and 1970s. My father and I argued bitterly about “longhairs,” about Archie Bunker, about the shootings at Kent State, about the Vietnam War. They say people grow more conservative once they have a family and pay property taxes. I haven’t. I’m the sort of voter Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) should be able to count on next month.
But I’m not.
In the May 28 issue of the Syracuse New Times, we called Maffei out. Today, we do it again.
“Maffei was invited to join (Republican congressional candidate John) Katko in a Campbell Conversation with Grant Reeher,” we wrote 4½ months ago. “Katko agreed; Maffei ducked it.”
Campbell Conversations are serious policy discussions with a professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. They’re broadcast on WRVO-FM, and a transcript appears weekly in the New Times. Maffei has agreed to share a microphone with Katko in a Campbell Converstation this month.
But on Sept. 29, the Syracuse New Times invited Maffei and Katko to come to our offices together to discuss the issues.
Within 24 hours, Katko’s campaign responded: “John would be happy to participate.” No questions, no conditions, no problem.
Eight days later, the reaction from the Maffei campaign: Gee, we’re doing something similar with Reeher … we have to bounce the idea off some people … who would be asking the questions?
If Maffei isn’t up to more than one joint interview, voters should know that. The Campbell Conversation or the New Times? This isn’t either/or. Or it shouldn’t be.
How is it that Katko can commit in a day, and Maffei is still mulling it over? I don’t believe this is about indecision. I believe this is about a political calculation that minimizing exposure to events with Katko makes Maffei’s re-election more likely.
Choosing to cling to office over helping inform the voters isn’t worthy of a congressman. C’mon, Dan. We’ll buy the coffee.