Those who read my blog and another site I write for, Tom Reynolds Watch, know that I've been trying to organize a protest of Tom Reynolds' office in Williamsville, NY for Reynolds' continued support of the Iraq War. It hasn't gone as planned.
I've received some invites to take part in protests at his Greece office (in Monroe County) which I will attend. However, I've received little or no interest in a protest of Reynolds' office in Williamsville. With the month-long recess from Congress, this is "prime-time" to protest any of the Republicans who continually support this war.
Thus, my question: Why not protest Tom Reynolds? On my blog this morning, I mentioned that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) faced protesters in Kentucky, Vice President Dick Cheney faced protests at home in Wyoming, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) also heard from the voices of the local anti-war movement. And of course, on a more local level, Rep. Randy Kuhl, who represents the 29th District in New York, also faced resistance for his stance on the war. Yet, when it comes to Reynolds, I haven't had the best of luck rounding up a group of people to head with me to Williamsville.
If you read my previous diary entries here at Daily Kos, you'll find that I have shown the netroots community what my home district (the 26th Congressional District in New York) is like. The two words to best describe it: conservative and Republican.
The best example of my troubles is when I started a thread on my local newspaper's community forum --- a message board. All I posted was a simple statement wondering if anyone was interested (a very daring thing for a progressive to do in Republican-dominated Orleans County, I might add) in protesting Reynolds. I immediately got the following response:
No thanks.... even though we have a mess over there, I would do nothing that would undermine our troops. This is what happened during the Vietnam War and the enemy used it as propaganda against our troops. How are our young men and women supposed to feel if they are fighting a war, whether right or wrong, and they see us protesting in the streets ?
Sounds familiar? This guy has debated with me in the past and claims that he's not a Republican, but rather, just a "conservative." Either way, he's still pushing certain talking points. "How are our young men and women supposed to feel if they are fighting a war, whether right or wrong, and they see us protesting in the streets?" Gee, I haven't heard THAT one before.
That's the kind of response I received from two individuals on my newspaper forum. Eventually, they changed the topic to something Republican: Rudy Giuliani and their disdain for him. The thread hasn't been commented on since.
I hate to try and spread a "mission" about why I write this diary, but the need for progressives and Democrats in the 26th District is glaring. Take a look at these enrollment figures for the 26th District as of April 1, 2007:
[NOTE: Scroll down to page 9 of the 10 page document]
There's a total of 440,711 registered voters in the 26th. 93,682 left their party affiliation blank. There's 70 Libertarians, 1,291 Green Party members, 1,466 on the Working Families Party, 9,366 Conservative Party members and 15,515 who registered with the Independence Party. Now, for the two-party numbers.
Republicans (180,360) have 41,399 more registered voters than the Democrats (138,961).
And that's not even the best part.
If you break the numbers down county by county, it becomes more apparent of the Republican grasp on this gerrymandered district:
Erie County: GOP - 57,669 Dems - 53,673
Niagara County: GOP - 27,954 Dems - 27,299
Orleans County: GOP - 9,372 Dems - 5,072
Genesee County: GOP - 16,598 Dems - 9,610
Livingston County: GOP - 18,278 Dems - 10,984
Wyoming County: GOP - 12,338 Dems - 6,675
Monroe County: GOP - 38,151 Dems - 25,648
Yes, you read that right: Not a single county in Reynolds' district has more registered Democrats than registered Republicans. Even with that significant lead, he still managed to lose Erie and Niagara counties in 2006.
Tom Reynolds made a remark after the '06 election which was really interesting, especially to me since I live in the district and followed the Reynolds-Jack Davis race closely. Reynolds was asked a question at a press conference about whether or not the election was about "local issues" instead of national issues, like President Bush (who Reynolds supports) and the Iraq War (which Reynolds also supports). Reynolds said the following:
Absolutely yes. Just take a look at my race. I said months ago, certainly long weeks ago, that my race would be a good example of what I felt had to be done in order to win. I come from a blue state and I localized my race and defined, and quite frankly, disqualified my opponent to win. And, first of all, I was in my district. I knew the issues. All you have to do is look at this website or mine or any of the ads and it was all about local politics. I want to cut taxes and help keep jobs. I want to strengthen Social Security -- and laid out the four principles.
I believe in my record of bringing federal investment back to my district. That was the issue.
Both sides had in record spending on the campaign trail. Second thing was have enough money to get your message out. Third, make sure you turn your vote out. We did one of the largest, most effective and aggressive voter turnout operations there.
It is important that we the people of the 26th District make the 2008 election about BOTH national and local issues. While health care, jobs and taxes are certainly important, the Iraq War is on the minds of many voters. Thus the reason for my plan to protest. I want to make this national with Reynolds. He's done nothing to help the people of the 26th District but plenty to help further the political agenda of the Republican Party. It's about time that changed. And it's about time we did something about it.