Not long ago, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) felt comfortable enough in his re-election prospects to float nutty conspiracy theories about George Bush allowing Osama bin Laden to go free in order to justify the war in Iraq, accuse Karl Rove of planting the Rathergate memos, and to demand the nationalization of the American oil industry.  Suddenly, though, Hinchey has become quite shy less than six months after his Bush-Osama paranoia-fest.  Now when George Phillips, the only Republican running for the nomination to challenge Hinchey in NY-22’s midterm Congressional election, criticizes Hinchey for his positions on Iran, immigration, and health care, Hinchey is nowhere to be found:

Republican congressional candidate George Phillips today called Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear technology “a grave threat” to Israel and the international community, and criticized the incumbent Democrat, U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey of Hurley, for voting against a bill urging the president to press for sanctions.

The bill, H.R. 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 412 to 12 in December, with six not voting. …

George Phillips says, “When I was a congressional aide I’ll never forget someone saying at a congressional hearing that we need someone worrying about Iran constantly here, at the white house, talking with the president on a daily basis. What perplexes me is my opponent, Congressman Maurice Hinchey voting against sanctions on Iran twice at the end of last year. One time one of only six members of Congress to vote against sanctions. I’ve just been shocked.”

What does Hinchey have to say about that vote, as well as his vote on ObamaCare?  Basically that it’s none of your business:

A spokesman for Congressman Hinchey says this is not the time or place for politics and he will not respond specifically because it’s not known if Phillips will be the only Republican challenger or if someone else will also try to unseat Hinchey.

The Daily Freeman didn’t get any further with Hinchey’s office:

Mike Morosi, a spokesman for Hinchey, said “there is a time and place for politics.” He said he does not yet know if Phillips will be the Republican nominee for the 22nd Congressional District seat.

Morosi said he would not respond to inquiries about Hinchey’s reaction to Phillips’ criticisms. He also would not comment on Hinchey’s stance on Iran or immigration reform.

There’s a time and place for politics?  Yes, most people would consider that time as when Congress is in session, and the place being at the offices of the Congressman.  Is that how accountability works?  Constituents and media ask for answers, and the offices scold them for asking on a day ending in “y”?  And why is Maurice Hinchey so voluble when it comes to accusing other people of participation in grand conspiracies but silent on answering for his own performance in office?

Voters in NY-22 may have a different idea of accountability than Hinchey and his flack.  They have an opportunity in November to put it into effect.