Since being sworn in, Rep. Anthony Brindisi has had the benefit of a love affair with most local news media. 2 days of coverage for being sworn in. Major press coverage for co-sponsoring a Bill. Which happened to be introduced by the prior Congresswoman holding his seat. A ton of positive news for literally nothing. Masking more unsettling news in the background.
There is no question that news media leans to the Left in its coverage of news. According to researchers at Arizona State University and Texas A&M University, as reported by Investor’s Business Daily editorial on Nov. 11, 2018,
When you add it up, 58.47% admit to being left of center. Along with that, another 37.12% claim to be “moderate.”… That’s a whopping 4.4% of the total that lean right-of-center…
This is an enormous problem for the media — perhaps bigger than they realize. A Rasmussen Reports survey in late October found that 45% of all likely voters in the midterm elections believed “that when most reporters write about a congressional race, they are trying to help the Democratic candidate.”
So there is little surprise that Rep. Brindisi has gotten praise since his very narrow win in the 2018 election. But the impression given to the general public has been so positive on such unimpressive items, it should cause pause.
Serious questions are just below the surface jubilation for the Representative of the NY-22. One question would be in reference to the recent celebration in Puerto Rico. 30 members of the BOLD PAC, along with 109 lobbyists, gathered on the island for a 3 day retreat – though the nation continued under a Government shutdown. Exact names of who was in attendance is unknown, but Rep. Brindisi was a key endorsed candidate of BOLD PAC, listed first of all the candidates supported in 2018, and unclear if he attended.
While not illegal, it would seemingly conflict with the very public statements of Brindisi against PAC’s and corporate funding in elections (though Google did quietly contribute $14,841 without complaint). Thus far, no other news agency has publicly asked this question and Brindisi has not volunteered an answer. We did ask this question, via Twitter (correcting the typo in later tweet), to Rep. Brindisi and have not received a response.
@RepBrindisi just curious, were you part of the 130 Dem officials that were in Puerto Rico? Simple question, it's a yes or no.
— Michael Vass (@MVConsult) January 15, 2019
Committee rejection from the top
More concrete and consequential is the actions taken on Jan. 14, 2018. That was the day that Rep. Brindisi was blocked from joining the Armed Services Committee. It was a post he had desired, but Speaker Pelosi directly nixed him. As reported by Politico, and curiously unspoken in regional news and almost all talk radio,
“Brindisi being blocked from the Armed Services committee angered some of his fellow New Yorkers, according to Democratic sources, but not enough to force the issue since he was a freshmen.”
This is far more relevant than it may seem. This highlights a rebuke from the top of the Party, indicating that future Bills and efforts will be harder to gain support. But it also indicates that freshman Brindisi does not have strong enough support among fellow New York Democrats for his efforts. Essentially, Brindisi finds himself in a position similar to former Rep. Richard Hanna, who was abandoned by Republicans and Democrats alike and was ineffective in his last 2 terms in office.
Lack of influence
The contrast is not subtle. Freshman Rep. Brindisi has no friends in the White House. There is no influence he holds among Republicans in the House or Senate. He has already missed a vote since being sworn in (again with no fanfare from news media). Like fellow NY freshmen Representatives Delgado and Ocasio-Cortez, Brindisi has yet to sponsor a Bill (as opposed to Rep. Rose who sponsored HR 415 with the support of Republican Rep. King). But Ocasio-Cortez and Delgado are considered among the most extreme of the Progressives in the 116th freshman class.
Given that Speaker Pelosi was adamant that candidates in 2018 were welcomed to do whatever it took to win, as far back as the summer of 2018. That included renouncing her as Speaker. Pelosi even donated, directly or indirectly (House Majority PAC and DCCC), more than $4.7 million to get Brindisi elected. So it would be fair to say his vote for Joe Biden, seen as a wasted vote, was given and expected. Thus not a reason for his denial of Committee selection.
Too far Left?
If this is correct, it means that something else is happening behind closed doors in Congress. According to the NY Daily News it could be the divisiveness of the freshman Democrats.
“For starters, the freshman members of Congress showed up, got sworn in and immediately began behaving exactly like the unhinged megalomaniacal brat in the White House who they want to impeach. In doing so, they proved themselves as dumb as they are inexperienced…
Take the 15 Dems who wasted their votes for House speaker — most especially shameful grandstander Rep. Anthony Brindisi of upstate New York. Then there was F-bombing Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. These two aren’t concerned with the party or their constituents — but only with making headlines for themselves. And they did — as a pair of fools.”
The question that should be considered, and is being masked by the overflowing praise for nothing, is if Rep. Brindisi can be effective. If he cannot, then he could become either a yes-man of the Party, a supporter of the radical Left (which would satisfy his deepest core of supporters comprised of Citizen Action and Indivisible NY), or like Rep. Hanna abandoned.
It is not too late for this to change though. These are the first few weeks of the 116th Congress. Rep. Brindisi could assure constituents he did not partake in the partying in Puerto Rico. Brindisi could unveil a sponsored Bill that reflects the needs of the highly conservative and Right-leaning NY-22. Brindisi could make reality the campaign promise of biparisanship, reaching across the aisle to Republicans in Congress on a border wall, or maintaining the tax cuts that have helped the beleagured Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley of NY. Brindisi could embrace the “Blue dog” moderates of his own Party, rather than the Socialist Democrats of Ocasio-Cortez.
Will it happen? Former Rep. Hanna revealed his true colors slowly, and his effectiveness crash-dived as everyone came to understand what he stood for. It’s a lesson Brindisi should pay key attention to. Like in all things, the introduction and first few actions generally dictate the future. This is often more true in politics than anywhere else. That clock is quickly closing, and local media praise for just showing up holds no weight in Congress.