Gatemouth Calls Bullshit
I must call bullshit.
On Tuesday, Republican State Senate candidate David Storobin held a remarkably disingenuous press conference.
The theme was that Storobin had been dragged kicking and screaming into making his campaign about personal attack on his opponent instead of about issues:
“Three weeks ago, my opponent — career politician, City Councilman Lew Fidler — decided to make character THE issue in this campaign….
…While he still has yet to apologize for his deeply offensive behavior, the TRUTH is now known to everyone… that I am a proud zionist Jew, a strong supporter of Israel, with absolutely no ties whatsoever to extremist groups.
But there is another truth that must be known as a result of this sad episode. Another fundamental truth has risen out of this desperate and pathetic display of politics at its worst. And we are here today to acknowledge that truth.
“Mr. Fidler was right about only one thing. Character does matter in this race… but it is not my character that is at issue in this election; it is Mr. Fidler’s record of highly questionable, unethical behavior as a career politician, a City Councilman and a power broker whose the product of the corrupt Brooklyn Democrat political machine.
Today, we are here to say that character does count. And that Mr. Fidler’s character renders him unfit to serve in the State Senate.
“This is not a statement I make lightly. I realize the the implications of what I’m saying.
But this issue, the character issue, has become the central issue in this campaign.
And now that we know the kind of person Lew Fidler is — the kind of person who would say or do anything to get elected…
the kind of person who would sell out a member of his own faith, his own community, just so he can rise another rung on his career political ladder…
Now that we know the kind of person Lew Fidler is, we have an obligation to examine Mr. Fidler’s record and determine whether he merits our vote for state senate, and the answer is NO.”
He is lying.
Brooklyn Republicans this week tapped David Storobin to run in the special state Senate election to succeed Carl Kruger with—they claim—no knowledge that Storobin had founded and written for a website whose articles have been picked up by white-supremacist chat rooms.
Storobin, a Brighton Beach attorney and vice chairman of the Brooklyn GOP, served as editor-in-chief of the site, Global Politician, and published scores of articles over several years, blogger Gatemouth recently revealed on the Room Eight politics site. Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton said that was news to him.
“I've never heard of Global Politician,” Eaton said.
Storobin's postings on the site recently vanished. Storobin said he has no idea who took down the postings or why, but he stood by his work. “My views have evolved over the years, but there's nothing I've been ashamed of,” he said. “I'm very proud of the stuff I've written.”
A May 2005 Storobin piece that resurfaced on another website is an interview he conducted with an official from Freedom Front, a white-separatist group in South Africa. The group supports a whites-only colony there called Orania and accuses the South African government of using affirmative action to keep whites out of the job market.
Brooklyn Councilman Lew Fidler, the Democrat expected to square off against Storobin in the March 20 election, said the public deserves to know what else Storobin has written. He questioned that the author doesn't know who removed his postings. “I'm not a great believer in coincidences,” he said, adding that the vanished posts smacked of “Weinergate.”
“I have a record to run on that's not going to be expunged,” Fidler said. “I think it's relevant to ask David what he's ashamed of.”
This was Fidler’s first mention of Storobin’s writing, and it appeared only in response to a question from a reporter.
I note that, by then, I had been writing about this story for 17 days, without anyone, including Fidler, paying the slightest notice.
The day after the Crain’s story, City Hall News put Storobin on its weekly losers list.
David Storobin – Welcome to the big leagues, David! Days after announcing his candidacy for former Sen. Carl Kruger’s seat, the south Brooklyn Republican had his first scandal, in which he reportedly conducted interviews with white separatists from South Africa and had his articles picked up in white supremacist chat rooms. It’s unclear how that will play in Storobin’s district, but it certainly doesn’t look good to anyone else, making the kind of fodder that draws in opposition spending in what could otherwise be a quiet race.
CHN’s reader subsequently voted Storobin that week’s biggest loser.
On the morning of January 13, I woke up to find the CHN article and then sent a gloating email to a top member of the Brooklyn GOP ruling elite, which was followed by a phone conversation at his request.
He told me pointblank that the GOP thought it had no chance to beat Fidler with Storobin, but were going to spend a lot of money on the race to soften Fidler up for November, by which time the district lines would be redrawn to their advantage.
We want to tear Fidler down and hold him below 60%. It’s going to be a mudfest.
This was six days before Sheepshead Bites ran the video which sparked the Fidler/Storobin controversy. In the video, Fidler is seen giving a rah-rah speech to the faithful at a Young Dems' beer blast held at a local pub and says that Storobin has ties to white supremacist groups.
While Storobin has given an uncritical forum to white supremacists on repeated occasions, falsely accused elected officials of anti-Russian bigotry, compared people with Nazis and Communists, called upon local government to deny people the right to worship freely, called extremist immigrant bashing vigilantes “very reasonable,” denied the Bosnian and Kosovo genocides, gleefully given a forum to deniers of the Armenian Holocaust, affirmed the right of Vladimir Putin to invade countries, preemptively use nuclear weapons and poach American hockey stars, written sympathetically about Russian collaborators with the Nazis, cheered for America’s enemies, engaged in rampant queer-bashing, slurred the memory of a dead person for committing the crime of being an Italian-American, been repeatedly linked by hate sites and deleted everything he’s written from two different web sites he founded, it has never been proven that Storobin has ties to white supremacist groups, and Fidler should not have said it.
But the idea that Storobin would just be talking about issues were it not for the video is a falsehood.
The supposedly reluctant Storobin, who says he only wanted to talk about issues, is pursuing a narrative which was in place before the first insult was thrown. The only modification in the narrative was that it now had a new rationale.
Even following the Crain’s and CHN articles, the Fidler campaign did nothing with the Storobin blogposts story, except to bring it up in response to press inquiries about Storobin attacks, which had already begun in earnest.
Fidler had probably concluded (and probably wisely), that except in selected cases, attacks upon Storobin on this basis were not going to play in the 27th SD.
Between the Crain’s story and the Bites post, Fidler had never mentioned Storobin’s articles again (except for a few additional snide remarks about disappearing blog posts whenever he was attacked).
I should note that it was January 22nd before the first writer criticized Fidler on the matter; that was me.
It took almost two weeks of the GOP trying to make someone else notice before the story exploded on January 31.
During that time, Fidler never put out a piece of literature, press release, or any statement (except for an occasional quip about disappearing blog posts) on this matter. This was clearly not where his campaign was going.
Forced now to comment, Fidler’s campaign stupidly issued a press release trying to justify his remark. He subsequently and wisely decided to eat those words.
Storobin has now used Fidler’s semi-private tongue slip and clumsy follow-up as an excuse to conduct a campaign based upon dirt and lies.
Storobin has himself been caught on tape accusing Fidler of “absus[ing] the memory of murdered Jews.”
Lew Fidler has now been heard complaining that Storobin is doing exactly what Storobin accused Fidler of doing.
This is not quite accurate.
Fidler, at most, said two things he should not have said, in moments when he went off message.
By contrast, what Storobin’s doing is the message.
It is David Storobin who is blantantly "absuing the memory of dead Jews."
It is a truly sad individual who would abuse the memory of dead Jews as a means and excuse to talk about whether a political opponent parked illegally.
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