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ENDORSEMENT: Doheny deserves a chance

2012-10-27T23:45:00Z 2012-10-29T15:49:00Z ENDORSEMENT: Doheny deserves a chance Glens Falls Post-Star
October 27, 2012 11:45 pm

We’re not trying to be flip, but this almost came down to a coin toss.

Unfortunately, that is not a good thing. After interviewing Democratic incumbent Congressman Bill Owens and Republican challenger Matt Doheny for an hour each, our editorial board was left underwhelmed and uninspired about who to endorse for Congress in the new 21st District.

Perhaps it is the state of the country, but the candidates seemed to mirror what we are seeing on a national scale, with both repeating party talking points and little indication that either was prepared to step and be his own man.

Both are smart, successful professionals who seem to have a good handle on the complicated array of issues that confront the country and the district. But both lack solutions that stray far from their party’s talking points.

We are still disturbed by Owens’ inappropriate trip to Taiwan and Doheny’s late-night dalliance in Washington D.C. that was videotaped and played up in the New York City tabloids. Those episodes give us pause regarding both candidates.

Doheny is an outgoing people-person who talks a mile a minute, while Owens brings a contemplative pragmatic approach to the table.

In their respective meetings, both insisted they were willing to work with the other party and compromise to get things done.

Let’s start with the incumbent Owens, who has served in Congress for three years.

He candidly told us came to Congress confident that he was ready to serve and make a difference.

“Being a novice three years ago, I thought I had the answers to a lot of things,” Owens said. “These are very complicated issues. I’ve been educated by a lot of people on the left, center and right.”

It was good to hear that Congress had been a humbling experience. We are proponents of the idea we need smart people to solve the difficult problems the country faces.

We were encouraged by Owens’ moderate stances in a Republican-leaning district. It is politically pragmatic, but Owens insists he has always been a moderate and we do believe Congress needs more leaders who will work together and compromise.

Unfortunately, we did not find an impressive list of accomplishments from the incumbent.

He did vote for Obamacare (a vote guaranteed to make half the electorate angry), not because it was perfect, but because it was a good start. We agree with that stand.

But we were hoping for more vision for the future beyond importing jobs from Canada.

Candidate Doheny’s meeting was his second with our editorial board. We previously interviewed him before our endorsement in the Republican primary in September.

This time around, we found his opinions far more moderate than when he was trying to win over Tea Party Republicans before the primary. He characterizes his business and Wall Street experience as something to help small business in the district and bring in jobs.

We found him to be a bubbling enthusiast who has made his rallying cry that he will be the “Salesman in Chief” of the district if elected.

He appears to have a good grasp of the problems facing constituents, but tangible solutions and strategies for his first few months in office were elusive. Frankly, it was tough to pin him down on just about any course of action.

He did pledge to set up offices in all 12 counties he would represent and to have town hall meetings in each of the 194 communities during the two years he would be in office.

It is an ambitious commitment to stay connected to his district and we applaud its scope.

As our meeting was about to end, Mr. Doheny appealed directly to our editorial board that all he wanted was a chance.

“It’s only two years,” Doheny said. “I just want the opportunity.”

Considering the choice, this could have been the perfect opportunity to consider a third-party candidate such as Donald Hassig, who is running on the Green Party line. But seeing Hassig at the congressional debate at Queensbury High School, it was apparent he did not have the experience or expertise to tackle any of the difficult issues the country now faces.

It came as no surprise this week when the Green Party distanced itself from Hassig after he made several inflammatory statements about Mexican immigrants.

The conundrum then was choosing between the incumbent Owens, who is still trying to find his footing, and the challenger Doheny, who is begging for a chance to be put into the game.

In the end, we concluded Doheny’s business experience was better suited to the challenging economic environment that now faces the country and the district.

Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle and citizen representative Mark Bergman.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. Report Abuse
    - October 31, 2012 4:15 pm
    Doheny's a candidate of the wealthy. The wealthy haven't been suffering - they're still gettin' near-record profits AND Bush II/GOP tax cuts that FORCE the non-rich to pay higher overall taxes. Editors KNOW THAT; Joe 6-pk doesn't.

    Mitt & Doheny PROMISE to KEEP those all-for-the-rich GOP tax cuts that FORCE ALL others more on the tax/debt hook. Moreover, the NON-PARTISAN Tax Policy Cntr. concludes Mitt's "plan" INCREASES mid class taxes. Mitt discounts the findings. Which is BETTER QUALIFIED - MORE CORRECT - a politician - OF EITHER STRIPE - or a non-partisan & expert panel that specializes in tax policy? Joe 6-pk's ok w/ Mitt - probably doesn't even know what the experts conclude. If so, it's another example of how JOE dug/digs his & his fellow workers' financial hole.

    No wonder "TPS" editors make their Doheny endorsement less than a widely better choice.

    It's likely that the GOP will hold the House. Demo chances in holding the Senate are less solid.
  2. pontly
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    pontly - October 30, 2012 11:18 am
    I agree with many of the comments about neither gentlemen being any ball of fire or that exciting. However I think the last thing this region and country needs is another business man in office. The only thing that trickles down is ....poo.
  3. DCSmith
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    DCSmith - October 29, 2012 7:33 pm
    I think the Post Star now realizes they should have spent more than five minutes on this story and it would have been helpful if they had actually done some lets see what do they call it oh reporting! We will now be called the United States of the Camden Islands. After all if someone invests their money there, rather than in their own country, one would have to question their patriotism and commitment to that country.
  4. Dennis Maher
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    Dennis Maher - October 29, 2012 11:15 am
    Your endorsement shocks me. Bill Owens may be soft spoken but he has a good track record of thoughtful pursuit of problem solving. Doheny looks very risky. Instead of a track record he has a "past." A future with Doheny is an insult to women, those who have been hurt by the big banks, those who want medicare fixed rather than dismantled. The EB should go back to the conference table.
  5. Maries
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    Maries - October 29, 2012 6:43 am
    the EB reminds me of the panel of "experts" that testisfied before Congress about birth control. Problem is they didn't include any women on the panel.

    Sorry, EB, you totally neglected women's issues in your determination of which candidate to endorse.

    What's at stake for women? Taking back four decades of progress.
  6. jrambo
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    jrambo - October 28, 2012 9:03 pm
    Junkers, he moved more to the center because the NY republicans told him to stop being such a far right tea partyperson he truly is. Just like Mitt
  7. rowc
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    rowc - October 28, 2012 7:55 pm
    Lots of Owens staff, supporters and general leftists are here crying. The bottom line is the Post-Star actually got it right- Owens is a terrible Congressman who doesn't work hard in the least and has no real record to speak of. We can and will do better. Doheny will be a better Congressman than his opponent.
  8. Donald L Hassig
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    Donald L Hassig - October 28, 2012 6:12 pm
    I visited Glens Falls several times since starting my campaign in July 2011. Glens Falls is dominated by smokestack industries. The Post Star is showing itself to be dominated by these industries when its Editorial Board (EB) speaks falsely of me.

    What I said at the Queensbury candidate forum would convince anyone who can think that I am the only candidate who possesses the strength of character to make the changes that will save our country from the ruin that is being caused by greedy American business people. I presented a plan for creating millions of new jobs, ending the evil wars, protecting our environment; eliminating cancer and creating fairness in taxation, health care and education: withdraw from the WTO and FTAs; downsize to a defensive purposes only military; ban shale gas and shale oil extraction; enact a Cancer Elimination Act; establish a sales tax on Wall Street sales; and provide free health care and education through graduate school for all Americans. Revolt!!!
  9. Junkers
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    Junkers - October 28, 2012 5:56 pm

    That was hands down the most apprehensive and, at best, luke warm endorsement I have ever read. I completely understand your hesitation and dissatisfaction with the choices. The part about your assessment that worried me the most was the inability to pin Doheny down on any sort of plan. As you rightly point out, he seems so scripted by the republican party I fear he would just be an unyielding party line man in office and just contribute to the current gridlock. The other part that scared me was that his message during the primary was different (more conservative). Doheny always seems to play to whatever audience he needs to win over at the moment and the fact that he has already softened his positions from just a couple months ago because the conservative line is locked up now is unacceptable. I actually don't care for his initial hard line conservative views but his lack of conviction and consistency proves to me (again) that he is insincere and a liar, thus I just can't support him

  10. brian
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    brian - October 28, 2012 5:24 pm
    If the two were so similarly underwhelming, why did you bother to make an endorsement at all?
  11. dot2dot
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    dot2dot - October 28, 2012 3:07 pm
    I certainly understand the "coin toss" feeling. Both candidates have run so many negative ads I really feel I can not be confident in either. BUT Mr Owens' comment about there being a learning curve to being a good congressman is very likely accurate. Mr Owens has taken his baby steps and may be ready to step up and be effective. Mr Doheny's "It's only 2 years" comment stood out to me. I now honestly wonder how committed he is to the job? We do not need a 'revolving door' congressman... with a newbie representing us every two years. The comment suggests Mr Doheny is testing the waters and might abandon the position after 1 term (or sooner) if it isn't exciting enough for him. Public service may not high profile enough for a former wall streeter with a big bank account. As the Post Star pointed out... will he be tempted by the dark side of politics? Is he a scandal waiting to happen? Too many questions remain. I think a second term for Mr Owens will be the better choice
  12. Curioused
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    Curioused - October 28, 2012 1:49 pm
    Wow, you missed it! If Doheny's best shot is "I just want a chance", especially on the heels of his suggestion that, once elected, he will personally invest in an economic development entity he would form. His excuse that "he didn't know" this would be a conflict of interest just doesn't cut it. For him, the Congressional seat appears to be nothing more than a springboard to personal profit. Then, couple this with his demonstrated willingness to party hard in DC. We cannot allow ourselvs to be hoodwinked this easily.

    On the positive side Owens, who sits on the House Ag. Committee, has represented agriculture, the largest segment of the District's economy, very well. That kind of representation has real value. It's worth preserving. Oh, Doheny has said the he would sit on the Committee. But that just demonstrates his ignorance. Those seats are allocted by the party caucuses.They are not passed from one confrence to another unless the Majority Party changes.

    I'll vote for Owens.
  13. DCSmith
    Report Abuse
    DCSmith - October 28, 2012 10:18 am
    Hey, I am not a beggared and I don't think Doheny is either with his Camden Island accounts. Dohoney is in bed with American's for Tax Reform, listen to his ads. As checked by factcheck.org. The director of Factcheck.org, Brooks Jackson, wrote, :"ATR’s tax pledge does protect corporations in general – but only from an overall increase in taxes. It says nothing about jobs at all. More important, it does not rule out an overhaul of the tax code. Signers agree to oppose any "net" reduction of deductions or credits "unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." http://www.atr.org/taxpayer-protection-pledge-a2882
    And by the way, can I have a chance? Just one? Please? Pretty Please?
  14. jrambo
    Report Abuse
    jrambo - October 28, 2012 8:55 am
    For the past three years, Republicians have been complaining about President Obama bailing out Wall St. ( Bush did ) now they want to elect Doheny a hand picked guy from Wall St. Do republicians/tea party think that Doheny will stand up to his Wall St. buddies if bailing out Wall St. ever comes up again? Or do you think he will want to put everyone's social security and all union pensions in the hands of big banks to play with your money? That is why this republician is voting against Wall St. and is supporting Bill Owens!
  15. jrambo
    Report Abuse
    jrambo - October 28, 2012 8:46 am
    It amazes me that for the past three years republicans have been complaining about President Obama bailing out Wall st. ( Bush did) And NOW they want to put in a hand picked Wall st guy in Doheny. Do republicans think if it ever came up again to bail out Wall st that Doheney will stand up to his buddies on Wall st. Or do you think he will want to put social security and evry union members pension in the big banks so they can play with our future. Stop being hypocrites that's why this republican is voting against Wall st and voting for Owens
  16. Maries
    Report Abuse
    Maries - October 28, 2012 7:22 am
    Does the EB suffer from short term memory loss?

    Recall our former embarrassment named John Sweeney. Send another Sweeney to the anything goes culture in Washington?

    You state both candidates " repeating party talking points".

    That's scary enough for me, defund PP, repeal ACA, repubs vote en bloc against Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay act, appoint SC justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade., with Doheny's help the neo-con foreign policy team (Bush third administration) will have us in Iran in no time.

    Those issues matter to me. I will vote for Owens.

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