Mar 27th - 2:44 pm
As if there was any more evidence needed that the state’s gun control law has had a galvanizing effect on the small but influential Conservative Party, National Rifle Association President David Keene will be fundraising with state Chairman Michael Long in Wayne County in May.
The email invitation — blasted out yesterday via email by 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino — touts Keene as the headliner for the event, being held at a golf club.
The Wayne County Conservative Party’s invitiation says it is the only fundraiser it plans to hold this year.
Keene has made several appearances in New York to blast the gun control law. At the pro-gun rally in Albany last month, Keene went as far as to suggest that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s presidential ambitious were sunk because he was strayed too far to the left with the measure, comparing the effort to being the flip side of the 20102 Republican primary process.
Still, it remains to be seen how much of a hot topic gun control at the Capitol will remain for Cuomo and lawmakers, who are putting the finishing touches on a $143 billion budget.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association is pressing forward with a federal lawsuit challenging the measure on a slew of constitutional grounds.
But Cuomo and lawmakers struck a deal in the budget to suspend the enforcement of a ban on magazines that can carry more than seven rounds — a ban that Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos thinks the governor has no desire to revisit.
Mar 6th - 2:19 pm
The state Conservative Party wants a full repeal of January’s gun control law, not chapter amendments that would alter some of the measure’s provisions.
The call for the full repeal comes after Sen. Kathy Marchione, a freshman Republican from Saratoga County, submitted a bill that would repeal the law’s broad parameters that govern assault weapons and the number of rounds in a high-capacity magazine. Sen. Phil Boyle, who backed the law, now says he would have voted against it.
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos indicated this week that his conference may consider backing a change to the bullet capacity provision.
But the Conservative Party — a small, but influential organization for Republicans in New York — says anything shrot of repeal isn’t enough.
From their legislative memo this morning:
The Conservative Party urges the Members of the Legislature to repeal the bill that creates confusion and costly mandates, requires magazines that are not available or manufactured, makes criminals of the men and women who protect us and essentially strips New Yorkers of their second Amendment rights.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s political ambitions caused him to react emotionally to the tragedy in Newtown, CT and in his zeal to prevent another mass murder he inadvertently ignored the rights of law-abiding citizens.
New Yorkers did not need more legislation to control guns. Criminals and crazed individuals are the ones that ignore laws; the NY SAFE Act is another law that will be ignored by those intent on killing. Unfortunately, the NY SAFE Act makes law-abiding citizens criminals and must be repealed. The amendments being reported by the news media will not allow New York’s citizens to avail themselves of the rights granted by the Second Amendment.
Polls show that most New Yorkers back the gun control, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the protestors and blowback from the measure represent a “vocal minority.”
Feb 15th - 12:07 pm
The state Conservative Party is opposed to increasing the state’s minimum wage to $8.75, and adding an extra 25 cents to that figure isn’t flying, either.
The influential third party in an email today reiterated its position on increasing the minimum wage, saying it was opposed to both what Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to do — raising it to $8.75 without trying it to inflation — and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s plan that mirrors President Obama’s push for a $9 wage, plus indexing.
From their legislative memo in opposition:
Government intervention to the Free Market system does more harm than good when it comes to eliminating poverty. Many of the businesses that hire people at the minimum wage – restaurants, fast food business, grocery stores, for example — only keep 2-3 cents profit from each sales dollar and cannot afford to absorb an approximate 24% increase. If the cost is passed on to consumers, sales fall off. Instead, a business is forced to provide the same product with less service (fewer employees) and fewer opportunities for entry level work.
According to voter surveys over the last 12 months, the party is in the firm minority on this one, with more than 80 percent of New Yorkers backing a hike in the state’s minimum wage which currently stands at $7.25.
But as Liz noted in the morning memo today, the fight over the minimum wage increase in New York just got a whole lot more complicated thanks to Obama.
Senate Republicans now say that perhaps New York should wait to see how the federal proposal goes before the state Legislature takes any action. Though Cuomo said this week he is hopeful the move is done on the federal level, he will still pursue a wage increase in Albany should Congress fail to act (I’m well aware that the prospect of Congress failing to do anything is shocking to the sensibilities of all the gentle readers of this blog).
And the five-member Independent Demoractic Conference, in a governing coalition, surely wants the wage increase this year to burnish the reputation of the coalition as being able to compromise on previously contentious legislation.
But as is the always the case these days, the focus will be on the Senate GOP, which in recent weeks has taken a more aggressive stance on other Cuomo-backed proposals such as the Reproductive Health Act, as well as his nominee for the state Court of Appeals ever since passing the sweeping gun control law of January.
Jan 27th - 3:11 pm
While Rep. Chris Collins is taking a run for governor in 2014 “off the table”, a political comeback is possible for former Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle, she told the Conservative Party here in Colonie this afternoon.
Buerkle was rated one of the most conservative members of the state’s Congressional delegation during her two-year term in office.
And that she remains a favorite of conservative advocates and leaders, the question was the first one to come up after she spoke.
“That’s certainly one of the options I’m considering … it’s on the table,” Buerkle said to applause.
Buerkle was defeated this fall by the Democrat she initially unseated in 2010, Rep. Dan Maffei.
The Syracuse-area seat, however, was redrawn with more Democratic voters in the most recent round of Congressional redistricting by a federal magistrate.
Buerkle lost the seat handily this time to Maffei.
In her speech to Conservative Party leaders at the organization’s annual convention, Buerkle faulted the press and Democratic advocates for her loss this fall.
She also knocked women’s rights groups that she say dismiss out of hand female candidates and politicians who are opposed to abortion.
Jan 24th - 1:58 pm
The founders of The Monday Meeting, an influential monthly gathering of conservatives that has become an institution since its founding about a decade ago, have had a falling out, with one of the duo departing to establish a rival – and similiarly named – get-together, The New York Meeting.
This past Tuesday, Monday Meeting attendees received an email from long-time GOP activist and fund-raiser Mallory Factor, (a South Carolina resident), and New York GOP consultant E. O’Brien Murray, who managed the event on Mallory’s behalf for several years before stepping back about a year ago to focus on races – including the surprise victory of now-former Rep. Bob Turner in the Democrat-dominated Brooklyn/Queens district that once belonged to Anthony Weiner.
Email recipients were invited to the inaugural New York Meeting, which will be held on Jan. 28 at the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station – which just so happens to be the same location as the Monday Meetings are held – and feature Mike Lee, a Republican US senator from Utah; Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert; Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro (best known for his recent dust-up with CNN’s Piers Morgan over gun control; and economist and one-time US Senate candidate David Malpass, among others.
“This new forum is a one-hour conversation with seasoned politicians and new thinkers followed by questions from a rotating panel,” the email explained. “You have been invited to join us based on the important perspective you bring to the conversation about the future of our country.”
As has long been standard for the Monday Meeting, the New York Meeting is not a fund-raiser and is free to attend – but only by invitation. Both meetings are closed to the press, although a select number of conservative-leaning reporters have been allowed at past Monday Meetings, as long as they promise not to write about anything they hear.
The Factor and O’Brien email was followed today by an email by James Higgins, an economic advisor who co-founded the Monday Meeting with Factor – and Andrew Boucher, a South Carolina political consultant who used to share an office with Factor and most recently served as the national political director for former Sen. Rick Santorum’s failed 2012 presidential bid.
“We don’t like to send a lot of e-mail between Monday Meetings,” Higgins and Boucher wrote.
“But we’ve gotten a number of inquiries so want to clarify: There is no Monday Meeting next Monday. The next Monday Meeting will be Monday February 11. We were surprised to learn through a number of you yesterday that Mallory Factor had sent an email to you announcing another similar sounding meeting in the same venue.”
“As you may know, Mallory departed (to our chagrin!) from the Monday Meeting last fall to do other things. The next Monday Meeting will be February 11 at the Grand Hyatt, as scheduled.”
“Program to follow the week in advance of The Monday Meeting. We hope you will come and be as supportive as you always have been, something for which we are extremely grateful; we should have a great lineup.”
A source close to Factor said his decision to split from Higgins was based on a difference of opinion about the Monday Meeting’s future director. At one time, the event was a must-do for Republican candidates seeking to curry favor with deep-pocketed donors in New York (which is otherwise not exactly a conservative hotbed), and attracted speakers from across both New York and the nation.
But critics say the Monday Meeting has grown moribund of late, and attendance is down. Factor and O’Brien wanted to reinvigorate the organization, change the meeting’s format and also have it take a more active role in races – especially at the federal level. According to his source, Higgins disagreed with these proposed changes.
I reached out to O’Brien for comment, and found him on a Florida golf course. He sent the following statement in an email:
“The New York Meeting will be a great opportunity to expand the fiscal conservative base and allow for a frank discussion with national leaders on the issues facing our country. The new format and many future activities planned by Mallory and me will be great for all New York fiscal conservatives.”
The Higgins/Mallory split comes at a decisive time for the Republican and Conservative parties both nationally and here in New York, as they engage in some significant soul searching in the wake of big losses in this past election cycle.
The Monday Meeting was inspired by Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, who created a network of state-based conservative gatherings modeled after his weekly Wednesday meetings in Washington, D.C. that provided the impetus for the Republican takeover of the House in 1994.
Norquist has lost some clout with GOP elected officials, as evidenced by the number of senators and members of congress who abandoned their “no tax” pledges to him during the December fiscal cliff fight.
But he remains a seminal figure in conservative circles. To wit: He’s scheduled to speak at the NYS Conservative Party’s annual political action conference in Albany this Sunday.
Jan 22nd - 10:44 am
Disclosure, yes. Publicly financed campaigns, no.
That was the message from the Conservative Party this morning, which sent out something of a pre-emptive strike against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal, to be unveiled this afternoon at 2 p.m.
From the legislative memorandum:
The Conservative Party believes that full disclosure is the only viable campaign finance reform. Full disclosure serves the people of New York in the best possible manner. Forcing taxpayers to fund campaigns they do not support is not a wise use of taxpayer’s dollars, especially when New York taxpayers are already paying some of the highest taxes in the Nation. How candidates spend campaign funds is especially disappointing; throughout the years there have been many published reports of how candidates spend campaign money, reviews of campaign-finance records shows how even lawmakers who lost continued to dip into their campaign accounts for meals, expenses and even $10,000 for a car. Others spent money on tires, books and lunches for their staffs. While each reported expense is within the law, over taxed New Yorkers should not have to subsidize campaigns with their hard-earned money while they struggle with paying their own bills.
This may all be a moot complaint, however.
The book that accompanied Cuomo’s State of the State outlines, albeit vaguely, that publicly financed campaigns could come “from sources beyond general revenues from taxpayers.”
Senate Republicans have resisted publicly financed campaigns in the past.
Though he’s pushing again for a public financing system, Cuomo placed a lot of emphasis in his State of the State address on a disclosure measure that would require political or lobbying donations above $500 revealed within 48 hours.
Jan 21st - 12:11 pm
Newly elected Rep. Chris Collins, along with former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle will headline the state Conservative Party’s annual convention on Sunday at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Colonie.
Also slated to speak: E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, pollster John McLaughlin and Sen. Kathy Marchione.
Collins, the former Erie County executive unseated by Democrat Mark Poloncarz, defeated Rep. Kathy Hochul this past fall in a comeback election.
Buerkle was unseated by Rep. Dan Maffei, her foe from 2010.
Monday’s speakers include Karen Moreau, Executive Director of the NYS Petroleum Council and the conference’s featured luncheon speaker is David Bossie, the president of Citizens United.
The Conservative Party is meeting as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat in his third year, begins to emphasize a decidedly liberal agenda of public spending for political campaigns, raising the state’s minimum wage and women’s equality legislation.
Cuomo has drawn the ire of conservative lawmakers early on this legislative session after pushing through a package of gun control measures.
Look for Marchione, who says she’s garnered more than 100,000 signatures on her online petition to overturn the law, to speak out against the new law.
“Conservatives have come to Albany every year and have presented the members of the legislature with sound fiscal policies designed to save taxpayers money and outlined in the 2013 Legislative Platform,” Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said. “If the Party’s fiscal policies are adopted, we would not continue to face deficits, and we could end unnecessary borrowing and eventually lower the tax rate. Government spending is beginning to slow, but not nearly enough for voters to be confident that their taxes will be reduced or just stay at the same level.”
Jan 11th - 12:08 pm
The state’s Conservative Party today released a legislative memo calling for stricter criminal laws in the wake of a spate of shootings, saying that placing blame on “the inanimate object” — in this case a gun — isn’t the way to go.
From the memo:
The best solution is two-pronged: strengthen the rights of law-abiding citizens and keep those who disregard the safeguards already in place to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and those who, like Spengler enjoy killing, in prison without any possibility of being released.
The Conservative Party of New York State staunchly supports the rights of law-abiding citizens and stresses that any solutions that the Legislative Body passes must incorporate putting the full culpability on the person committing the crime not the inanimate object that has become the symbol of finding solutions to indefensible terroristic acts.
The party notes that the Webster shooter who killed two firefighters after purposefully setting a blaze killed his first victim not with a gun, but with a hammer (this is a frequent argument for those opposed to gun control — the idea that anything could be deadly if put in the wrong hands).
The memo adds that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to update the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magainzes will do little to stem the incidents.
Still, the CP may be too late to mobilize a sustained effort against a broad agreement on gun control in Albany. A deal to update the assault weapons ban, limit magazines and strengthen sentences for gun crimes appears to be excuriatingly close. If reached, it would likely have the support of more than a few Republican senators.
The full statement is after the jump.
Nov 29th - 3:54 pm
We’ve been hearing a lot over the past week or so from Democrats and their allies – the Working Families Party, labor leaders, Citizen Action etc. – about the need for a Democrat-controlled state Senate.
These folks have staged rallies calling on senators elected as Democrats to sit with the Democrats in the Senate, and even staged a protest today outside the Syracuse office of one IDC member, Sen. Dave Valesky.
The Senate Republicans have been lettting their deputy majority leader, Sen. Tom Libous, do most of their talking for them since Election Day, especially since Sen. Jeff Klein started publicly discussing his power-sharing plan for the chamber.
Oddly, we haven’t heard much from the GOP’s traditional allies about Klein’s grand plan.
So, earlier today, I placed a call to state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, who was kind enough to chat for a few minutes even though he and his family are still dealing with the loss of his Breezy Point home to the fire that followed Sandy.
I asked Long’s opinion on the possibility of an IDC-Senate Republican coalition, and he replied:
“Talk about disastrous…I’m certainly not happy, and it will not be a good year for us. What’s going to happen is there’s going to be two agendas – the independent caucus agenda, which is Klein’s agenda, and the governor’s agenda. There will be no conservative agenda. I don’t think they’re doing themselves any good.”
“… Conservative principles will be shoved aside. I submit to you that if they ignore conservative principles, then what is the sense of us endorsing Republican senators if they’re going to take this other path and move leftward? Then we might as well start running our own candidates every two years.”
I noted that some people consider the results of the Nov. 6 elections – from the race for the White House on down – to have been a repudiation of conservative principles, particularly here in New York where two “Tea Party” Republican congresswomen (Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle) were defeated, while more moderate members survived, like Reps. Richard Hanna and Chris Gibson (I know there are some of you out there who are going to take issue with my characterization of Gibson as moderate, sorry).
Long rejected that analysis, noting that not every Republican who lost ran on a strict conservative platform. He also said that “an agenda of the left” – including a minimum wage increase and perhaps the legalization of marijuana for medical use (the bill is carried by IDC member Diane Savino) – would be “disastrous” for New Yorkers.
On the endorsement front, I asked Long if he regrets his party’s decision to yank their support from the four Republican senators who crossed the aisle to vote “yes” on same-sex marriage last summer.
Of those four, only one – Sen. Mark Grisanti - is certain to return to Albany come January. Sen. Jim Alesi opted not to seek re-election, and his seat was won by a Democrat, Senator-elect Ted O’Brien; Sen. Roy McDonald lost a primary to a more conservative GOP challenger, Senator-elect Kathy Marchione; and Sen. Steve Saland is all but certain to lose his seat in the yet-undecided 41st SD race to Democrat Terry Gipson, thanks in large part to the siphoning of GOP and conservative votes by Neil Di Carlo (who, for the record, was not formally endorsed by the Conservative Party).
If Saland were to have been easily re-elected, the Senate Republicans would now have 32 members (including Democratic Senator-elect Simcha Felder), and this whole coalition government discussion would arguably be moot.
blockquote>”They came to us for their endorsements and then they betrayed our endorsements by doing what they did,” Long said of the gay marriage “yes” voters. “They left me no choice.”
“…I also believe the Senate majority made a mistake when they voted to increase taxes, and paid a price for that. And I think Andrew Cuomo, while he’s not paying the price for breaking his word and raising taxes, that eventually will catch up to him.”
“We’re on a train-wreck course. My job is trying to turn that agenda in a different direction, a positive direction. Our princples are correct and our principles are right and I don’t intend to change the tenets, the philosophy of the party because of one election.”
Nov 7th - 2:29 pm
Chris Matthews, the bullhorned-voiced MSNBC commentator, was so overjoyed that President Obama won a second term that he credited Superstorm Sandy for making it happen.
“I’m go glad we had that storm,” Matthews said, not because of the damage, but because it allowed for “good politics.”
The point, ostensibly, is that the storm a week before the election allowed Obama to appear “presidential” by touring the damage with New Jersey Gov. Christie, showing that govenrmne can respond to emergencies and smothered what media exposure Mitt Romney might have gained at the end.
Of course, everyone at that point was focused on the horrendous devastation from the storm, along with the houses and lives lost.
Among those houses destoryed were Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, who wasn’t amused with Matthews being so glib. The homes of Long, Rep. Bob Turner and nearly 80 others in Breezy Point in Queens were destroyed when a storm-releated fire ripped through the neighborhood.
In letter to officials at MSNBC, Long invites Matthews to area in Breezy Point “where my house once stood” and called on them to fire him.
Chris Matthews has crossed the line and must be fired for his callous disregard for the plight of the thousands of residents in Breezy Point, Gerritsen Beach (and all affected areas of Brooklyn and Queens) Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Orange Counties and New Jersey who felt the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.
Chris Matthews said last night on the Rachael Maddow Show, “I’m so glad we had that storm last week because I think the storm was one of those things. No, politically I should say. Not in terms of hurting people. The storm brought in possibilities for good politics.”
His callous disregard, his complete lack of understanding of the devastation, his inability to relate to how much everyone has lost; over 100 deaths, thousands of homes and all the contents, businesses wiped out, cars and boats completely destroyed, lives that will never be the same.
I personally invite Mr. Matthews to the spot where my house once stood in Breezy Point. Let him see the devastation, let him smell the remnants of the fire, let him help clean the area, let him face the people who have lost everything to the ravages of Sandy.
I urge him to accept my invitation, but I believe Chris Matthews would rather sit in the safety of a warm television station than tell the residents of Breezy, in person, face to face, “I’m so glad we had that storm.”
It is a breach of ethics to have a man who makes such a callous statement after such devastation continue to have a platform and be able to spew such indifference with so many people still suffering without heat, electricity, and the simple comforts of an everyday life.
Fire Chris Matthews immediately.