Smintheus provided and excellent diary which gave me the concept for this series. My sincere hope is that you will do a waterblog on your local GOP hack as well. A waterblog is a long diary entry that is from a local perspective and brings up all the dirt possible.
Using local terms and references will bring more impact to each story and we will begin linking to each waterblog when possible.
Mr. Sweeney is 13 years older than me and was born in my hometown. I know the schools he went to. I shop in the same places. I travel the same roads. That is where our similarities end.
Back when John first got into politics there was a strong political machine that the Democrats had put together in Albany. During this time, life in the area was very good for citizens and not so good for business. That is to say that business was not held in as high a regard as education. However as the influence of the Republicans including Sweeney and Bruno took hold more and more family farmers had to close their farms and sell to developers, large businesses like Home Depot and WalMart were courted and allowed to build on protected lands etc. One local Republican even bought up land from the farmers at a very low rate only to turn around and resell it for 5 times what he paid to developers.
What are we left with? Roads that can not handle the new volume of people, few places of valuable employment, dwindling educational resources, a rise in gun violence, crack houses and Mc Mansions.
John Sweeney has not done his part to represent his constituents, he sure as hell doesn't represent my views. As most people that have been following the race know he has voted with George Bush 100% of the time. Why would John Sweeney vote with a failed President that allowed 9-11 to happen, an incident where one of the planes flew directly over NY-20 before heading south and into the WTC? Why would John Sweeney not speak out on behalf of his constituents against the failed President? Party Politics? Yes.
In 2000 Mr. Sweeney was one of the "Brooks Brothers Riot" instigators which shut down the recount for Al Gore. Mr. Bush referred to him as "Congressman Kick-Ass". Why would a NY Republican be involved in shutting down a Presidential Recount Vote in Florida? Why was it so important to him that Al Gore not be elected? Was he guaranteed something in return? Enter Jack Abramoff:
In 2001, Sweeney travelled to the Northern Marianas Island to give a speech to its Chamber of Commerce. His trip was paid for by the Chamber of Congress, a client of Abramoff at the time, and he was accompanied by Tony Rudy, a former Tom DeLay aide tnen working for Abramoff. Federal law stipulates that members of Congress must disclose all trips funded by private sources, but Sweeney failed to do this. He claimed that he believed the trip to have been funded by the government of the islands.*
Spend some time on the above link to learn more about his ties with Abramoff if you'd like to learn more. But on to other aspects, Sweeney voted in favor of the National Farmers Union interests a dsimal 17% of the time, Planned Parenthood 25%, ACLU 5%, NEA 0%, League of Conservation Voters 16% *
Who did he get good ratings from? Well not surprisingly business associations of all types, as he is not one to worry about petty things like ethics. He also got good ratings from the front groups supposedly based on religion that were used as tools by the GOP to confuse many voters.
When it comes down to it every district has a choice to make just like every citizen has a choice to make. You can either look towards creating a worthwile future or selling out your past. I believe John Sweeney only offers the latter of the two choices. I hope you'll agree with me and vote for Kirsten Gillibrand on election day.