Democrat Tim Bishop entered this race with a bullseye on his back. He has been targeted by national Republicans as one of the incumbents they're out to knock off. The result has been a brutal battle with wealthy businessman Randy Altschuler, who has poured millions of dollars into the fight. But that's the only edge the challenger brings to the contest.
Bishop, 60, of Southampton, who is seeking his fifth term, is a hardworking, commonsense representative who has grown in his command of national issues and savvy about the ways of Congress in each successive term. The former college provost is now a seasoned veteran who has become a leader on the issue of college affordability. He played a key role in crafting and passing legislation that redirected $40 billion in financial aid from private banks to middle class students.
He supported the controversial, but necessary, Troubled Asset Relief Program and his judgment has been rewarded. TARP rescued tottering banks, averted even greater economic turmoil and much of the public money invested has been repaid. He supported the economic stimulus that arrested massive job losses and drove billions of dollars to New York and millions to his district for such things as the Brookhaven National Laboratory and Greenport's sewage treatment plant.
And he has demonstrated political courage, standing toe-to-toe with opponents of health care reform in a raucous town hall meeting, making the case for reform with facts, logic and compassion.
He wants to create a more hospitable business environment by cutting corporate taxes, slashing both regulation and government spending. But lax regulation facilitated the recklessness on Wall Street that led to the financial meltdown. And faced with that carnage, Altschuler said he would have rejected TARP and the stimulus.
Altschuler's faith in tax cuts for the wealthy to create jobs is classic trickle-down economics. His is a prescription for either mounting federal deficits or retrenching on Social Security and Medicare and making too little public investment to compete in the economy of the future. His desire to repeal health care reform without first waiting to see what works is not the pragmatic approach needed in Washington.
Bishop has been willing to take tough positions and has energetically represented this district where his family roots go back 12 generations. Newsday endorses Bishop.