The Corner

Tedisco vs. Murphy

The Democrats’ chief accusation against New York State Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, the Republican nominee for the vacant 20th Congressional District, appears to be that he supposedly won’t take a position on the stimulus package (for example). I asked Tedisco his position on the stimulus the other day, and here was his answer:

“I’ve been clear from the very beginning — I’d vote for a stimulus package that has my amendment to clear out the waste. That’s not unlike anything I’ve done on the Assembly floor. I’ve been very successful in convincing my colleagues and bringing reality and rationality to votes like that. We’ve got to have someone in there who’s willing to say, Look, enough is enough — you can’t say yes to everybody.”

If you consider it a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposition, then that’s a “no.” But it’s very different from the “no in principle” that many Republicans would offer for this kind of spending bill. If he’d been in Congress, he would have worked toward a compromise that he could support. It sounds like a fiscally moderate position, and it’s not too surprising, given that he’s running as a fiscal moderate.

You don’t have to like the position he’s taken, but it is a position. And it’s only about as non-committal as the position taken by many Democrats who voted for the $787 billion package while expressing serious misgivings. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D, Ind.), an appropriations cardinal whose input could have actually made a difference, voted aye after arguing that “It’s better than nothing” and stating that he “would like to change it, but you have 535 people in Congress, plus those in the administration who have their own ideas.”