There is an increasingly nasty battle brewing in the Republican race for the nomination to run against Democrat incumbent Tim Bishop in the First Congressional District in New York. With jobs and the economy the number one issue across the nation, the petty personal attacks may result in potential Republican voters staying home in disgust.
In an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “New York’s GOP Never Learns,” Kim Strassel concludes her article by saying, “The effect has been to enrage and divide a New York party that should have bigger things on its mind. Say, winning this fall.”
Chris Cox is trying to play catch-up to the front runner Randy Altschuler who has been actively campaigning for more than a year. The difficulty for Mr. Cox is that his positions are not that different than those of Mr. Altschuler. So, while Mr. Altschuler has been taking on the Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop and Bishop’s lockstep voting with Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Cox has resorted to attacking Mr. Altschuler. Not to leave his flank unprotected, Mr. Altschuler has been forced to respond and now the race, with two weeks to go before the primary on September 14th, has degenerated into a mudslinging contest. There is a third candidate, George Demos, who is lobbing attacks from the rear with little effect.
Each candidate is calling themselves the “true conservative,” and Mr. Cox has garnered the support of the Suffolk County 9-12 Project the self-proclaimed “Largest Tea Party organization in Suffolk County.” Mr. Cox’s father, Ed Cox, is the head of the New York State GOP. Ms. Strassel reports that the senior Mr. Cox, backed Steve Levy over Rick Lazio for governor to curry favor with the Suffolk County GOP chairman to back his son. It is all the kind of backroom political dealing that have attracted a rush of newcomer candidates and put incumbents of both parties on the endangered species list.
The Tea Party Endorsement
What caught my eye was the endorsement of the Suffolk County 9-12 Project and the announcement by Bob Meyer, co-founder. He gave as one of his primary reasons that, Randy Altschuler was one of those people, “getting rich off the backs of hardworking Americans by outsourcing their jobs.” That sounds more like Jimmy Hoffa, Andy Stern, or Barack Obama’s class warfare than any Tea Partier I know. A commenter on the 9-12 Project’s site, Judyann Joyner added, “Randy is credited with the creation of ‘white collar sweatshops in India.’” Pretty strong stuff. I don’t know if Ms. Joyner or Mr. Meyer visited the company that Mr. Altschuler co-founded in India, but Business Week magazine did.
“The lights burn day and night in the gleaming glass-and-chrome building that towers over a leafy street in the southern Indian city of Madras. Here at OfficeTiger, 1,500 young men and women peer into computers 24 hours a day, analyzing and processing U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission reports and other documents drawn up by lawyers and bankers on Wall Street. Walking the floor, sometimes even at 3 a.m., is 34-year-old co-founder and co-Chief Executive Joseph Sigelman.”
Just because the office operates 24 hours per day, don’t be conned into thinking the same people are at their desks 24 hours a day. “Gleaming glass-and-chrome building that towers over a leafy street,” yup, sounds like a hellhole to me. Business Week added, “Indeed, OfficeTiger is the only successful startup in India’s $5 billion outsourcing industry that is owned and managed by a U.S. entrepreneur.” So we have an American company making money in India, in what seems to be a rather large and competitive field, and this is a bad thing? Since when did conservatives turn into protectionists? But what about the jobs they replaced? Okay, let’s examine that.
You have some Wall Street firms that are in a competitive business. A young entrepreneur comes up with an idea to reduce operating expenses by having an external company handle routine clerical tasks that are not one of the firm’s key competencies, that is, people don’t buy that firm’s services because of their typing skills. The company outsources and reduces costs. By reducing costs, they prosper and grow; by growing they create more high skill jobs like lawyers, accountants, financial analysts, IT people, etc. Perhaps even some of the former typists, because of their computer skills can move up the ladder to spreadsheets, and databases. Do some people lose their jobs, yes, just as buggy whip makers lost their jobs when the automobile came on the scene. Okay, let’s shift to India.
In India white collar jobs are created; their standard of living improves; they buy consumer goods like iPods and iPhones and their offices need sophisticated IT equipment from companies like Cisco Systems which grow companies like Apple and Cisco creating jobs in the U.S. We live in a global economy and if we want prosperity and peace, the best way to get there is through free markets. Even Mr. Cox in the policy section of his website blames government policies for companies outsourcing jobs overseas. If it is the government’s policies that make these jobs uncompetitive here and Mr. Cox knows it, why is Mr. Altschuler wrong for reacting to it and helping American companies that use these services remain competitive?
After selling Office Tiger to RR Donnelly, Mr. Altschuler started another company in the U.S., CloudBlue, that recycles old IT equipment. So we have an entrepreneur that has started a couple of companies that have created jobs around the world and that makes him a villain? Perhaps Mr. Meyer should go back and read some of the quotes on his own website:
“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.” – Dr. Adrian Rogers
“I have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
Mr. Meyer’s key criticism of Mr. Altschuler smacks of the government picking winners and losers. This business is okay, but not that one. If your business creates jobs overseas that is bad, but if it creates jobs here it is okay. Well, Mr. Altschuler has done both and he has firsthand experience doing so, which is what we sorely lack in Washington. If the strategy of Mr. Cox continues, including creating another party, the TaxPayer party, to run on and split the vote further, Mr. Cox might as well mail his strategy over to the Bishop campaign as I am sure they will find it very useful in the general election. Not my cup of tea.
The focus should be on defeating the out of control spenders in Congress who got us into this mess, not fighting each other to the death and let the incumbent waltz back into office. The time is now. Mr. Cox should focus on what he would do as a Congressman that is better than Tim Bishop and Mr. Altschuler. If he can’t articulate that, he should drop out. He is not going to win a lot of support by throwing mud at his fellow Republicans.
Note: In the spirit of full disclosure I have done some volunteer work for the Altschuler campaign