The absurdity of the situation in this contest is obvious. There is no way that President Obama can credibly range himself against Carolyn Maloney. Carolyn Maloney would be a winner as a Senator. a winner in a statewide election and a winner in Washington.
I say these things because I am a card-carrying, contributing and serious supporter of our President.
2010 will not be so tight that a spirited primary among two women with differing qualities and records would not be something that a partisan of democracy with a small d would welcome. Those who think differently will be faced down by the independent-minded voters of New York State.
If there is any sustained effort to cold-shoulder Maloney, then President Obama and the machine led by the Senior Senator from New York will become the issue in the primary. And New Yorkers will have the chance to vote overwhelmingly for an outsider and, by so doing, to show the whole farce up.
I am not a partisan of Senator Schumer. I consider myself a good Democrat, but, in my view, the way he deals with and attacks his opponents. including witnesses I have seen him demolish in Senate hearings, is less than admirable. I have a problem with badgering. If he was the 2010 incumbent and Maloney the prospective opponent in a primary, I would go for Maloney hands down.
If I were consulting Carolyn Maloney, I would advise her to say exactly how she is a better Obama supporter than her opponent. And never to mention her opponent by name.
I would also advise her to challenge the Schumer camp on the basis of their lack of confidence ... in themselves ... in the people ... in the process. I would keep the President out of it to make it easier for him to do the right thing. This will not be a unique problem in 2010 I am certain. Beginning with New York and Pennsylvania.
If Democrats believe that a primary would be bad because they think 2010 will be close, they are not reading things that well.
We want to win in 2010 and our opponents will be anyone who messed with the Obama agenda. We are going to advance, not retreat. By 2010 we need to have health care reforming, the economy beginning to hum and green becoming a visible reality. These are things the people want and the President must separate himself from Congressional foot draggers and obstructionists, robbing them of their power to defeat reasonable reform and change.
Carolyn Maloney will win the primary the same way Barack Obama won Iowa, not as the faux sure thing. but as the outsider who stands for hope and change. These are not things the current Junior Senator has ever really embraced.
I think Maloney's is a challenge the President should accept. He is about to discover the limits of bipartisanship in today's less than admirable Congress. The discovery can only make him willing to support true allies and step back from those with Blue Dog leanings and the votes to prove it.
A slightly different version of this appeared in my blog http://stephencrose.wordpress.com