Roy McDonald said he shelved his campaign for the state Senate on Thursday because he believed it was the best thing for the Republican Party, and with that, he took a step backward.

Last year, when McDonald provided one of the key votes to legalize gay marriage in New York, he said it was because he wanted to do the right thing. He voted against the beliefs of many of his constituents, went against his party and voted his conscience.

I respected that, and you should, too.

How many of us have ever stood alone among our peers to utter a contrary viewpoint that led to an argument? How many of us took a stand our closest friends would rebuke? How many of us ever drew a line in the sand knowing it might cost us our jobs? All because it was the right thing to do.

That’s what Roy McDonald did.

Most of us are great at sharing our opinions in front of the television, but few of us stand up at a town hall meeting when it really matters.

Roy McDonald stood up against his party on one of the most contentious issues of our time. Brave politicians are a scarce commodity, a commodity that is increasingly rare, almost extinct.

McDonald’s stand for gay marriage last year and his stand for the Republican Party this week are total contradictions, and leave me scratching my head.

I thought we had finally found a politician who not only had found his own voice, but one determined to do what was right no matter what the cost, the party be damned.

In one interview I did with McDonald, he pulled no punches about his contempt for the corruption of some of his fellow senators in Albany and the hypocrisy he was seeing on a daily basis. And he said it on the record.

I loved the idea someone like McDonald was going to stand up for those ideals and take on the corruption in Albany, whether they were in his party or not.

On Thursday, he gave up that fight and for the worst possible reason: the party. Just like any run-of-the-mill political hack, he caved to party pressure.

When is it going to be about us citizens? For once.

McDonald issued this statement: “I believe maintaining the Republican majority in the New York State Senate will continue to positively change state government. It is important to recognize the need for checks and balances in our democracy, which can only be assured by a multi-party system.”

But exactly the opposite happened.

With McDonald still in the race, voters had a real choice between two strong candidates. That’s what voters need. They need choices, they need debate and candidates to be challenged. But Albany will never clean up its act until we have devoted men and women willing to put the people first and the party second.

The possibility McDonald and Kathy Marchione would split the Republican vote and open the door for a Democratic victory was something the Republican Party would not tolerate.

When politicians are looking for votes, they talk a lot about what they will do for the people, but in the end, they almost always do the party’s bidding.

Roy McDonald was the one guy I thought wouldn’t do that.

Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached at tingley@poststar.com. You can read his blog “The Front Page” at poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at twitter.com/kentingley.

(18) comments

observer11
observer11

Roy voted his opinion and not the opinion of the majority of his constituents. This issue has been put on the ballot for voters to decide in several states, overwhelmingly voted down EVERY time. I assume you agree that the majority must be right on this issue? So that makes you and Roy wrong? Bye, bye Roy.

Don Donofrio
Don Donofrio

When it's Roy McDonald and gay marriage, the liberal press thinks he should stand and fight because debate is good for us all?

When it's Ron Paul and foreign policy or the Federal Reserve, the liberal press doesn't even mention that fight. Why?

Regardless of my personal opinion, President Obama has proven himself to be an ineffective leader. Yet not a single Democrat stepped forward to challenge him in a primary. Where were the calls from the liberal media for a primary challenge? You know, for the good of the people?

The press has a role to play in bringing information to the public and in modern times it is failing miserably. It reinforces misinformation, as long as it serves the liberal agenda, and it constantly portrays conservatives as big bad mean boogiemen. Is that any better than towing the party line?

Just for the record, constitutionally, the federal government has been granted no authority over marriage.

walterp
walterp

Wrong,as usual. If I vote for an Independent, I expect them to vote as they seem fit. If I vote for a Republican, I expect them to vote for Republican princibles and beliefs. One of these is that marriage is between a man and a woman. McDonald violated this trust and deserved what he got. If he wants to be independent,let him run as one.

Sceptical Mass
Sceptical Mass

I find it far more likely that this man of integrity, who rolled the dice with the voters in this district, and LOST, fully understands that another Democrat in Albany is the very last thing this State needs, and I believe that he once again did what he considered the correct thing to help avoid aiding and abetting the further destruction of New York.

He believed that he would be forgiven his vote on Gay marriage. He wasn't. Mr. McDonald knew that as a third-party candidate he would be betraying the very people who weighed his vote and punished him for it, and came to grips with the simple fact that there WAS a price to be paid, and many of the people who exacted their power at the ballot box were the same people who elected him in the first place years ago. These are the people he owed his political career to, and he lost their confidence, plain and simple, and therefore decided to bow to the WILL OF THE PEOPLE....HIS PEOPLE.

What's not principled about that decision?

Bingo
Bingo

Why does everyone at this paper continue to put this guy on a pedestal? You've taken him off now, but who really cares.
I keep saying this, why was it courageous of him to have hated gays so much his whole life that he wanted to bar them from marriage? Then when the pendulum had clearly swung in favor of gay marriage nationally, this is when he goes against his small constituency on one issue.

This is like giving credit to Mormons for accepting black people in their church fourteen years after the civil rights act. The Post Star would have written an article saying 'We have to give all the credit in the world to the Mormon church, who has finally recognized black people are human. There are a lot of Mormons that still do not believe this, and the decision makers could lose their job. We strongly support the Mormon church's courage. We need more of it out there.'

patcher
patcher

When he voted against the beliefs of many of his constituants, you might have respected that but "the many" sure didn't and that's why he's looking for another job.

Right Ken,

Not atypical; it's party loyalty, tradition dismissive of REASON & FREEDOM TO CHOOSE.

Many believe in let's go back to time when things were better. Bring back/keep the old FAMILIAR rules; ignore reality. Lean on religion; "traditional values" are CORRECT... gun rights, traditional marriage & the sacred Const, e.g.

GAY MARRIAGE? ABORTION? HALT! THAT'S ANTI-GOD. NO WAY!

IN SHORT, LET'S GO BACKWARD. Preserve the status quo, defeat those who'd suggest a diff course or change this greatest-ever nation.

We're more comfortable w/ inches, & ounces - w/ IGNORING that metrics is a VASTLY SUPERIOR WAY TO MEASURE. It's also expedient to cave to an oft crippling STATUS QUO.

BAD ECON? Believe in old capitalist meds. The wealthy EARNED it; the poor use the system. Gov't IS the real prob... SPENDS TOO MUCH. Free mkt, pvt sector solutions are best. Many suffer for their $ status quo tradition served & sewed (nat GOP vote); very few reap magnificently.


IWILLNOTCOMPLY
IWILLNOTCOMPLY

Just a though if we change one word do you still think McDonald is right. (When politicians are looking for votes, they talk a lot about what they will do for the people, but in the end, they almost always do the people’s bidding.

Roy McDonald was the one guy I thought wouldn’t do that.
Still think it sounds good? The problem with McDonald is he followed his own belief not the people he represented and that's why he needed to be fired.
(When is it going to be about us citizens? For once.) We will remember that when you give your indorsement for Obama again. Who has done nothing for the citizens and yet when Romney tell the truth about the 47% the media jumps all over him, as usualy the double standart in the media.Why not talk about the other truth Romney spoke about on that tape and what he said about the FED and how he pleaded with them not to do QE3.

brian
brian

What people don't understand is that an elected official's job is to do what he (or she) thinks is the right thing for his constituents/region, not necessarily to be weather vane shifting in the wind. I'm not sure the majority of his constituents are against civil rights for gay people (only Republicans got a say on him), but if the biases of the majority were the only factor an elected official had to take into account, then it wouldn't matter who served us because they'd just stick their finger in the wind and give us what we want whether it was right or not. In fact, if the whim of the majority were the only thing that counted, we wouldn't need representative democracy at all. We'd just have referenda on everything and save a lot of money. Criticize his vote but don't say elected officials should be mindless weather vanes.

brian
brian

It's unfortunate. On one hand, I understand why a man who had such an overall conservative voting record didn't like the vitriol that the neo-Taliban far right was bombarding him with over a single issue.

brian
brian

It's unfortunate that Sen. McDonald did not contest the general election. After all, his job was to represent ALL the constituents of his district, not just his own party. It should be ALL the people who pass judgment on him, not just a tiny fringe. And yes, it was a tiny fringe who ousted him.

There are about 310,000 people who live in each NYS senate district. About 7300 people voted against McDonald in the primary. So he was unseated because less than 2.4% of his constituents thought he was doing a bad job. Anti-civil rights activists should be wary about claiming too big a victory.

billybobskiff
billybobskiff

when does the push start to legalize plural marriage.

albe71
albe71

A lot of interesting and thoughtful comments on this subject. All, in some aspects, correct. But,I think the question should be, WHY did the Senator change his mind on this subject? Personally, I support the right of anyone, politician or not, to change their opinion if there is compelling reason. But what was that compelling reason with Senator Roy? Do I remember correctly he changed it after a visit from New York City Mayor Bloomberg? If so, what was said by Mayor Bloomberg to change Senator Roys mind? No doubt Mayor Bloomberg swings a big bat in this ball game. Probably their conversation was about who will win this years World Series, but, whatever they talked about it must have been compelling.

Doolittool
Doolittool

Gay marriage is disgusting and Roy is paying for his betrayal plain and simple.

Generally, those who opposed McDonald are those fine & traditional Am. values, (GOP?) folks out to save the country & its children - from exposure to the "UNNATURAL," e.g. They're folks who'd protect this great nation that's threatened... is losing (has lost?) it's way & needs to be "TAKEN BACK," by themselves - the Romneys/Dohenys/Marchiones - the patriotic conservatives.

Generally too, they love their God & his book; they know their Constitution protects gun rights, & Constitutional foundations of prized "freedom & liberty" that those (horrible?) liberals wanna' destroy.

Chances are they don't wanna' consider the Const. language that states VERY SPECIFICALLY, "... nor deny to any person... the equal protection of the laws." (14th Amendment, 1866.)

Even after reading that, they'd GENERALLY agree w/ Marchione, "reasoning" that the specific language doesn't apply to FULL gay marriage "freedom."

Can the Sup. Court be as hypocritical as "patriots?"

Doolittool
Doolittool

Gays ARE allowed to get married. There is no law in America that says poll people before they get married and if they say they are gay deny them a license. The LAW says you can't marry a man if you are a man or a woman if you are a woman. Nothing prevents a gay from marrying somebody of the opposite sex hence the equal protection clause is an asinine argument. As I can't marry my first cousin or two woman at one time or a minor or my horse or kitchen table etc... why should I have rules imposed on my marriage choices but a homosexual can claim that they are discriminated against under the equal protection clause? Oh wait I know, it's because liberals are hypocrites and liars.

Doolittool
Doolittool

Gays ARE allowed to get married. There is no law in America that says poll people before they get married and if they say they are gay deny them a license. The LAW says you can't marry a man if you are a man or a woman if you are a woman. Nothing prevents a gay from marrying somebody of the opposite sex hence the equal protection clause is an asinine argument. As I can't marry my first cousin or two woman at one time or a minor or my horse or kitchen table etc... why should I have rules imposed on my marriage choices but a homosexual can claim that they are discriminated against under the equal protection clause? Oh wait I know, it's because liberals are hypocrites and liars.

independentguy
independentguy

this was the straw that broke the camels back with McDonald. a powder keg was brewing with him anyways for a long time. he is arrogant and thinks he is better than everyone else and would not listen to any issues he did not agree with or had no knowledge of. he simply towed the line, stepping on alot of toes, especially the constitutients. the Repubs were just looking for the right issue to get him out and a popular opponent to do it. if this gay issue is so popular, then vote for the Democrat who is a married lesbian.

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