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Dear Joe, politics is scarier than scary movies

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The following is an open letter to Joseph M. Gilbert, who has declared his intent to run for New York’s 21st Congressional District as a Republican. Last week Mr. Gilbert announced that he has raised $3,000 for his campaign. His Republican opponent, Elise M. Stefanik, said she has raised $180,000.



Dear Joe,

You seem like a nice guy. I like you, even if you are a tea-partier. I was particularly impressed by your military background and I commend you for your service.

But $3,000? C’mon, man, are you serious?

I’m willing to bet that, if you have nightmares, they’re not induced by horror-movie villain Freddy Krueger but rather the rapidly filling campaign coffers of your Republican opponent Elise M. Stefanik.

Last week, the intrepid Ms. Stefanik announced she had raised $180,000 in the seven weeks since entering the race, dwarfing by a comical amount the $3,000 you said you raised.

It’s a sum that one-time California Republican governator Arnold Schwarzenegger might call “puny.”

And what was your response? “No problemo.”

We haven’t even started trying yet, you said.

That’s not going to cut it, brother. Not believing in Freddy Krueger may have worked in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series, but it’s going to take more than that to make Elise Stefanik, let alone thrice-victorious Democrat Bill Owens, disappear.

But you might still have a shot. There is precedent; check it out.

In 1990, Democrat Paul Wellstone defeated Republican Rudy Boschwitz for the right to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate despite being outspent 7-to-1.

Of course, that would mean you would have to emulate an example set by someone from the other side of the aisle. And a bleeding-heart liberal to boot. Oh, for shame!

On top of that, there’s no guarantee that strategy would even work.

I mean, Wellstone won his first election in 1990! Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was in kindergarten!

And these days, if you listen to the gospel according to everyone, social media will make or break you.

That’s where you are at a distinct disadvantage. You’re 46, Joe, and you’re not getting any younger.

Your opponent, Ms. Stefanik, is 29 years old. She’s the same age as Zuckerberg. They went to school together! At Harvard!

Ms. Stefanik said she is running “a new kind of campaign” that relies heavily on social media and online strategy. Well, nothing particularly novel there. Saying you’re using social media as a “new” strategy is like saying you’re using toothpaste as a “new” way to prevent gingivitis.

But her results are living up to the hype.

She has 4,833 likes on her Facebook page and claims to have raised $70,000 online.

You have only 1,610 likes and even if you hired an alchemist to magically multiply your $3,000, it would take at least 23 separate spells to get to 70 grand.

Owens and Matt Doheny spent a combined total of $3.8 million on their campaigns. That’s a lot of nuclear transmutation. A man could get radiation sickness with all that alchemy going on.

So here’s what I suggest instead. We can meet at the Tea Party Command Center, get into our cammies, put on some war paint, borrow the Jefferson County MRAP and knock over a couple of banks. That should work, don’t you think? Or maybe we could just start printing money. Oh wait, the Potsdam police are already onto that...

Either way, I’m sure we can figure something out. Be in touch.

All the best,

Dan

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