Monday, December 17, 2007

Jim Tedisco For Congress

"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent." - Lorenzo, A Bronx Tale.

In 1991 Democrats controlled the California State Assembly by a 49-31 majority. Then-Governor Pete Wilson had a two-word term he used to describe his fellow Republicans in the minority. F---ing Irrelevants, or FI's.

It was a harsh term for a harsh reality. Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco should think about its meaning in the aftermath of his decision to forgo a race to fill the seat of retiring Rep. Michael McNulty, The Invisible Congressman.

With Democrats holding a 108-42 majority Jim Tedisco is not going to be the Speaker of the New York State Assembly. Ever. He's been in the Assembly for 25 years. What's the long-term goal? To be in the minority for another 25 years, effectively achieving nothing beyond annoying and embarrassing the majority?

Assemblyman Tedisco should run for Rep. McNulty's seat, and there is only one reason why. It's the best reason. He can win.

Despite the significant Democratic registration advantage, Tedisco will bring strong qualities to a race. He's personable, positive and conservative. Those are Reagan qualities. He can raise money, has solid name identification and his star play on the basketball court at Union College is a great personal story.

Assemblyman Tedisco's "Illegal Eliot" effort, where he debunked and ridiculed Governor Spitzer's scheme to hand out driver's licenses to illegal aliens, was very impressive. Moreover, as the recipient of the Governor's "f---ing steamroller" meltdown he can motivate the Republican base and continue to use it as an endless source of humor.

There is a down side. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee it will hamper all Republican candidates in competitive districts across New York, including Tedisco. So what. I've heard that whining from Republicans, and I'm tired of it. Believe in ideas, get aggressive, don't apologize and take risks. The alternative is being an FI in good standing for life.

Only 10,000 men and women in the history of the United States have been elected to Congress. It's a tremendous personal honor to serve in the House of Representatives or Senate. Everyone who has a strong chance to win a seat should run.

So run, Mr. Leader. What do you have to lose?