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Martha Robertson Tag

You probably have seen viral videos of the disruption of town halls held by Congressman Tom Reed. The media narrative is that there was an organic, grassroots uprising by concerned citizens. Don't believe it. As detailed below, there was a well-organized national and local campaign to get activists to Reed's town halls for the specific purpose of creating a protest environment. Instructions how to protest and what questions to ask were circulated. Though the town halls were in the western part of the district, liberal groups in Ithaca and Tompkins county organized protests and got their members there. Other liberal groups like Planned Parenthood also got their people out. The issue is not, as some have portrayed it, whether people were paid to protest. While most of the people at the town halls may have been there without prodding, it is clear that liberal activists groups made sure there were enough protesters, who had been schooled in tactics, in the crowds to create the viral video they hoped for. This was astroturf. The deliberate, well-planned creation of the appearance of grassroots opposition.

Single-payer healthcare is the Democrats' holy grail, because it put the government completely in charge of one-fifth of the economy and every single person's healthcare. It's total control, but at least as of 2008, it wasn't a platform on which Obama could run. But as this early video shows, single-payer was always the goal. Similarly, failed 2014 NY-23 Democratic challenger Martha Robertson was a big single-payer supporter. But in NY-23, a Republican +4 district that has a hardcore liberal Ithaca-area contingent from which Robertson hailed, single payer won't fly. So Robertson didn't run on single payer, she ran on Obamacare. But in moments of candor uncovered by Legal Insurrection, Robertson admitted that Obamacare was just the stepping stone to single payer.

There have been few electoral races in which Legal Insurrection played a more decisive role than in the congressional race in my home district NY-23 this cycle. Martha Robertson was challenging incumbent Republican Tom Reed, who won the district in 2012 by about 4 points. Reed was considered vulnerable. Robertson was the promising star in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee candidate roster slated to take Reed out. Robertson earned the coveted "Red-to-Blue" designation, meaning that she was one of a small number of Democratic prospects to flip a Republican seat. Robertson was an Emily's List favorite. Money poured in to support Robertson. But Robertson's campaign never really got off the ground as she geared up in the fall of 2013. Our accurate and in depth reporting was a part of that failure. We exposed a false campaign fundraising solicitation that claimed GOP operatives tried to take down Robertson's website during a key fundraising period. That report, which Robertson struggled to deal with, haunted the Robertson campaign for the rest of the campaign. We exposed Robertson's history of supporting single-payer and plan to use Obamacare as the stepping stone. That is not a popular view in this district.

The video of Martha Robertson, the Democratic challenger being laughed at when she lobbed a contrived "War Against Woman" accusation at incumbent Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23), has gone viral. It has been picked up far and wide, and as of this writing has over 92,000 views on YouTube, up from 15,000 when I wrote a post about it on Friday, Martha Robertson “not ready for prime time” after War Against Women debate attack:
The line was laughable not just for the contrived way in which it was delivered, but also because it made no sense to anyone with local knowledge of Tom Reed. He is the epitome of someone who does not wage a war against women. He is known to be respectful and thoughtful both in his demeanor and consideration of legislation. Robertson, once again, obviously was just reading from a playbook, but using it against the wrong person. The “War Against Women” attack was a major blunder according the post-debate this analysis on the TV station that ran the debate: ...
“That shows me that Martha Robertson is not ready for primetime.”
The crowd reaction is being held up as part of a broader national narrative of the Democrats "War on Women" being a laugh line that does not reflect the reality that more and more women are siding with Republicans:

We covered last night the debate between Democratic challenger Martha Robertson and incumbent Republican Tom Reed. The "highlight" of the debate was the crowd laughing loudly when Robertson claimed Reed was "part of the War Against Women." That line, and the crowd's reaction, has received a fair amount of mocking attention. As of this writing, the video has over 15,000 views. The line was laughable not just for the contrived way in which it was delivered, but also because it made no sense to anyone with local knowledge of Tom Reed. He is the epitome of someone who does not wage a war against women.  He is known to be respectful and thoughtful both in his demeanor and consideration of legislation. Robertson, once again, obviously was just reading from a playbook, but using it against the wrong person. The "War Against Women" attack was a major blunder according the post-debate this analysis on the TV station that ran the debate:

I can't remember the last time a non-partisan major national analyst gave Democrat Martha Robertson much chance of winning in my home NY-23 District against incumbent Republican Tom Reed. Maybe early this year, when Robertson was the fresh face of the Democratic Party, the darling of Emily's List, and a coveted Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) "Red-to-Blue" designee. The past few months, however, have not been kind to Robertson. Scandals that surfaced early in the campaign never went away and sapped her campaign of any momentum. Robertson's campaign seemed emotionally incapable of accepting responsibility for anything, and her hiding act from the media made her seem distant. Robertson's fat shaming attacks on Reed, which gained national attention, took a struggling campaign and turned it into something of a circus sideshow act. http://www.mytwintiers.com/story/d/story/republicans-claim-robertson-fat-shaming-reed-with/55514/gKeceoroN0aKL7Mek9eXJA#.U_UyYlwqEOA.twitter Robertson seemed not to know how to deal with Reed's "extreme Ithaca liberal" attack ads on Robertson other than to whine about it, which just repeated the message. It resonated. Then the DCCC pulled the plug on TV ad time reserved for the last two weeks of the campaign, in a devastating blow, not just financially, but in campaign credibility. When your strongest backers walk away, it sends a message to voters. Robertson had only about half the cash on hand as of September 30 as Reed, $498,529 to $919,391, so the loss of over $400,000 in DCCC spending hurts. The true Robertson believers are seeing conspiracy theories everywhere:

Martha Robertson, once one of the brightest lights in the Democratic theater, long ago lost her shine as a candidate challenging Republican Tom Reed. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had reserved $465,000 of airtime for the last two weeks of the election, in the hope that Robertson would be competitive. She's not competitive, having run one of the worst campaigns in the country, and the DCCC pulled the reservation. But not to worry, Robertson is getting help from the House Majority PAC, to the tune of $49,138, about 1/10th the planned DCCC ad buy. Actually, it's not even new money, just money not being pulled. Via New York State of Politics:
The DCCC may have abandoned Democratic Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson in her quest to unseat Republican Rep. Tom Reed next month, but she isn’t completely going it alone. The House Majority PAC just announced it is releasing new TV ads in 10 congressional districts across the country – including NY-23, where the House Democrats’ political arm, led by Long Island Rep. Steve Israel, recently cancelled two weeks worth of reserved air time so it could rededicate resources to protect incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is in a tight re-election battle with his 2012 opponent, former GOP Rep. Nan Hayworth, in NY-18. The ad, which appears below, is airing in the Elmira market only starting tomorrow. And the buy isn’t terribly large – $49,138 – although that goes a lot further in the Southern Tier than, say, the NYC media market....

It isn't over until the votes are counted, and miracles can happen, but it isn't looking good for Martha Robertson, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Tom Reed in my home NY-23 district. Once up a time, Robertson was a lead Democratic prospect to turn a seat from Red to Blue. But now Robertson is being written off by every non-partisan analyst following the race. We asked whether it was time for the DCCC to abandon Robertson, and pull its reserved television advertising. This NY Daily News analysis, showing Democrats struggling in upstate NY, cannot be good news for Robertson:
One year ago, Republicans had just shut down the government, and Democrats declared they might win back the House, in part by picking up Republican-held seats in New York. A year later, Democratic hopes of gaining up to three seats in New York are gone. They are more likely to lose three, and hope simply to break even. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. of Long Island calls New York a “microcosm” for the rest of the country. New York is proving Steve Israel right, as Democrats’ defensive posture in the Empire State mirrors a national political landscape where President Obama’s unpopularity leaves his party hoping to simply limit Republican gains. “If Democrats are ever going to win back the House, they need to pick up seats in upstate New York,” said David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the Cook Political Report. That isn’t happening this year.
As to NY-23, The Daily News says Robertson's chances have collapsed:

Democrat Martha Robertson, whose struggling campaign to unseat incumbent Tom Reed has struggled (and then some), didn't need any more problems than she already had. But the Sierra Club, which has endorsed Robertson, just created more problems by suing to prevent conversion of a coal fired power plant in western New York to gas. That would result in the power plant shutting down, killing jobs. Tom Reed wasted no time in asserting that this reflected Robertson's "extreme liberal agenda": Reed Robertson NRG Sierra Club lawsuit
Tom Reed today vowed to stand firm against Martha Robertson's extreme liberal agenda and the devastating actions of Robertson’s liberal supporters and campaign donors who have filed suit against the Dunkirk NRG conversion in Chautauqua County. The Sierra Club has joined with Ratepayers and Community Interveners to file suit with the State Supreme Court to derail the $140 million dollar project to convert the NRG power plant to natural gas. The suit threatens the bipartisan solution supported by Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer – likewise, Robertson’s supporters also threaten local jobs with a potential devastating effect on Chautauqua County.

The campaign of Martha Robertson, the Democratic challenger in my home district of NY-23, really should have been on the list of the Worst Campaigns of 2014. While Robertson started out with strong support from Emily's List and was a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee "Red-to-Blue" designee, literally nothing has gone right with the campaign, and a lot has gone wrong including:

Remember my post a week ago about Martha Robertson's visit to Cornell and the accompanying media lockdown enforced by the Cornell Democrats? Video and audio recording were not permitted, according to an announcement just before Robertson started her speech. I attended but did not record because of those rules and how watchful Cornell Democrats were to ensure compliance. A videographer for Cornell's main student newspaper, the Daily Sun, managed to take video, a nearly two-minute long clip of which was published on the Daily Sun's website two days later. But the Daily Sun's video was not just by chance. After learning of the existence of the video, I immediately contacted the Sun videographer, asking if she obtained prior permission. She said she did from both the Cornell Democrats club and the Martha Robertson Campaign. She went on to tell me that she worked for the Robertson campaign as an intern. Then it all clicked. Those video and audio recording rules were a ruse meant to avoid embarrassing video clips, like the one Professor Jacobson videotaped at a Robertson appearance at Cornell last spring.  If only a campaign intern could record, then any embarrassing clips would never see the light of day. Both the videographer and the Cornell Democrats president are in this image of interns tweeted by Robertson earlier this month:

It just never stops with the Martha Robertson campaign and its TV ads in NY-23, my home district. Robertson's "fat shaming" ads mocking incumbent Tom Reed gained national attention, for all the wrong reasons. http://www.mytwintiers.com/story/d/story/republicans-claim-robertson-fat-shaming-reed-with/55514/gKeceoroN0aKL7Mek9eXJA#.U_UyYlwqEOA.twitter Her ads also suffered bad truthfulness ratings. Now AARP is calling out Robertson for improperly using AARP's name in her ads, violating AARPs non-partisan status and falsely implying that AARP has taken sides in the race. The Elmira Star Gazette Reports:
AARP in New York issued an objection Wednesday to congressional candidate Martha Robertson’s use of the association’s name and logo in a campaign ad. Beth Finkel, state director for AARP in New York, issued a statement after learning of its name and logo appearing in the Ithaca Democrat’s campaign ads in the race for the 23rd Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning. “AARP does not endorse candidates or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates,” Finkel said. “AARP did not authorize the use of its name or logo in currently running Martha Robertson campaign ads.” Contacted for comment, Seth Stein, Robertson’s communications director, issued the following statement: “The campaign’s ad in no way says that Martha has received the endorsement of the AARP, but simply cites them when discussing Congressman Tom Reed’s policies ....” The AARP logo appears in one segment of the 30-second ad.
Here is the offending ad:

The Democratic challenger for New York’s 23rd district, Martha Robertson, spoke briefly about her election campaign against incumbent Republican Tom Reed at a Cornell Democrats event Wednesday evening.

Speaking for 30 minutes to a crowd of about 40 students, Robertson, Cornell Class of 1975, mainly stuck to her autobiography and her major talking points.

We have full coverage at the Cornell Review, of which I am the Editor-in-Chief.

Legal Insurrection has covered extensively the race in NY23. Some more recent examples include: Democrat's fat shaming ads backfire in key House race (#NY23) and Martha Robertson  raising money, but still in hiding (#NY23).

Also, does everyone remember the last time Robertson visited Cornell campus? Read more here: Martha dodges my questions about fundraising.

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