Incumbent Democrat Maurice Hinchey met Republican challenger George Phillips in a NY-22 debate yesterday, and while Hinchey didn’t quite reach Baron Hill levels of arrogance and condescension, he came close in this exchange over deficit reduction. Hinchey spends his first 30 seconds pretending he doesn’t understand the concept of deficit reduction — which, as Phillips rebuts later, is exactly the problem:

Small wonder Hinchey gave such a high-handed initial response, because once he gets going on his answer, it’s clear that he has no idea what he’s talking about.  We have not had deficit spending every year for the past 100 years, an absurd statement that conflicted with his patron Bill Clinton’s argument on Hinchey’s behalf this week, when Clinton took credit for budget surpluses in the 1990s.  An improving economy does improve tax revenues, but the problem in this deficit has been less about tax receipts than the massive spending Democrats started four years ago.  In three budget cycles since taking control of Congress, Democrats grew annual spending over a trillion dollars, a 38% increase in just three years.

Instead of answering the question, Hinchey starts talking about how nice the roads are in the district — and how great it is to have 7.6% unemployment.  Not only are those non-sequiturs, they’re hardly winning campaign slogans.  Vote Hinchey — he got us 7.6% unemployment! Small wonder the Daily Caller reports today that Hinchey really is in serious trouble:

New York Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey has spent just under two decades proving himself to voters. Despite a long history in the upstate New York district, the liberal 71 year old, who has faced little real opposition since winning his seat in 1992, now finds himself vulnerable to defeat.

According to an internal poll by Hinchey’s Republican challenger, George Phillips, Hinchey is polling well under 50%. The poll also shows Phillips within striking distance of the sitting congressman, with 37% to Hinchey’s 44%.

That poll was from last month, before this display of condescension and obtuseness, whether deliberate or just a result of incompetence.  Phillips, on the other hand, actually answers the question with specifics on curtailing spending and reducing government waste, while Hinchey shakes his head.

The video stops before seeing much of the crowd reaction to Phillips, but it’s clear enough on the reaction to Hinchey’s arrogant dismissal of the question — they were shocked by it.  The constituents of NY-22 finally got a good look at Hinchey and the elitist attitude that despises accountability.

Update: Death tax?  Hinchey goes full class warrior on this, blaming tax cuts for the economic collapse:

Estate taxes usually apply to estates of more than a million dollars, but that’s actually beside the point. The actual point is that estates consist of acquired wealth that has already been taxed by the federal government.  Dispersing earned and previously-taxed wealth should not be seen as an opportunity to raid family funds just to promote class warfare.  Hinchey makes an explicit argument here that the government has a legitimate role in arbitrarily redistributing previously-taxed wealth just because its owner expires, which is frankly an absurd and ghoulish demand.  It’s akin to rifling through the pockets of a corpse, only with government power.