Diary

Does Greg Ball (R-NY) Have the Perfect Message for 2010?

New York State Assemblyman Greg Ball (R,C) announced over the weekend that he will challenge incumbent Democrat John Hall in New York’s 19th Congressional District. According to the local media who covered his announcement, Ball was unsparing in his criticism for both major parties:

“This is grassroots. This is America. This is the Hudson Valley,” Ball told more than 100 cheering supporters at Murphy’s Bar and Grill in Yorktown yesterday…

During the hourlong event, Ball said he welcomed anyone of any party because he wanted to represent “the people” of the district and “be someone who isn’t going to take orders from Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.”

He sought to talk about “an unprecedented expansion” of the U.S. government and blamed it on both President Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Ball is perhaps best known for his opposition to illegal immigration.

Serafina Mastro, 59, chairwoman of the Yorktown Republicans, said she supports Ball’s stance.

“He’s not saying that no one should come here. They should just do it legally,” said Mastro, who emigrated from Italy with her parents when she was a baby.

Ball, the son of a postal worker, also touted his pro-labor stance. In his speech he referred several times to his modest upbringing, hard-working parents and his Air Force Academy education.

“I’m as blue collar as they come,” Ball said.

Tony Grasso, 82, of Yorktown said he hopes Ball’s campaign is successful. High taxes and government spending are “foolish” and “wasteful” right now, he said.

“Maybe it’s time for a revolution,” Grasso said as he left the rally.

Others, like Peter Lewis, 41, of Monroe in Orange County, came to the event not knowing whether he would support Ball. He is looking to back a Republican candidate. By the end of the event, Lewis seemed somewhat convinced.

“He’s definitely moving in the right direction,” Lewis said. “We’ll watch where his campaign goes.”

Ball seems poised to run a campaign centered on ‘a pox on both houses.’ That sounds to me like a message that will appeal to most Tea Partiers, at the very least. While the media treats Tea Partiers as a bunch of professional Republicans, the reality is that the energy behind the movement comes from a lot of people dissatisfied with both major parties – most notably because of taxes and spending, but also because of other issues.

Beyond that, it presupposes that a majority of voters next year will be dissatisfied with Democrats, as well. That seems a good bet. The most recent economic data show the president’s porkulus failing to deliver on his administration’s promises. Unemployment is likely to remain high into next year, and growth is set to remain slow (at best). Combine that with the creeping nationalization of banking, automobiles, health care, and other sectors, there’s plenty for Republicans and conservatives to be angry about.

At the same time, there are factors we can’t discount: the President’s approval ratings remain quite high, and there’s clearly a significant portion of the electorate that won’t allow anyone to rain on their ‘Obama high.’ The press will serve as cheerleaders for him, and will portray every one of his legislative initiatives as a great step forward (much as they did the stimulus bill).

Is Ball’s outsider and anti-establishment message the tonic for what ails America (and the GOP), or is it likely to be a turnoff?