Here’s What I Learned When I was a Professional Political Pollster

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agreement-survey-scale-1-1236335-660x395Imagine being a physics and astronomy major at a school interested in politics and government where the most popular major is political science and economics. It’s tough. You can’t engage in discussions, you can only listen. You know nothing, unless the conversation turns towards nuclear energy policy (which it almost never does) or space exploration (which it doesn’t ever).

That was me heading into the 1980 presidential primary season. I was nothing more than a naïve cheerleader. I wanted to be more, but what? In an ocean of future neo-cons, think tank thinkers, and government policy makers, I was merely a small deserted isle that didn’t even merit a place on the map. I tried and tried to think of a way I could add value, to discover something in one of the classes I took that would generate at least interest, if not respect, among my more politically knowledgeable classmates. About the only unique differentiator I offered was that I had lived in Jack Kemp’s congressional district, but that was just a novelty of coincidence.

Then it struck me. While all these talking heads spent their class time debating the merits Continue Reading “Here’s What I Learned When I was a Professional Political Pollster”

In Praise of Honorable Men

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the May 24, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259The scrawny, recently-graduated Ivy Leaguer found life full of joy and happiness. With the magic of oratory, he astounded his elders who eagerly nominated and elected the young man as their state representative. Of course, he didn’t let this go to his head – he knew those in authority chose him in part because no one else wanted the thankless job. Still, he felt the position gave him the opportunity to show his true worth.

Then, at the tender age of 26, life as he knew it collapsed. The realities of the adult world consumed him. He lost his whiz kid innocence. Things seemed more difficult than they had been. He could no longer afford to think on his feet. Finally, with his life at a Continue Reading “In Praise of Honorable Men”

D&C Writer Disses Western New Yorkers

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Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. — Teddy Roosevelt

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A few weeks ago, a columnist from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote a piece titled “Winter as Metaphor for Community’s Woes.” If you’ve read the column and you’re a true-blue Western New Yorker, you’ll immediately see the column itself as a metaphor for our community’s woes.

The writer, while acknowledging the obvious diminution in our region’s stature, meekly states “The decline we’ve seen is not a character flaw; it’s the result of economic forces beyond our control.”

Actually, the statement reflects the major character flaw many die-hard residents of the western frontier of New York State see in our neighborhood – too many people, especially those floating merrily in the ether of high profile, fail by wallowing in self-pity rather than seizing the reins of self-improvement.

Continue Reading “D&C Writer Disses Western New Yorkers”