Gristly Adams (revised, with quibbles added)
Back in October, I published a pretty comprehensive piece outlining in detail the monumental stupidity, hypocrisy and irresponsibility of nearly every politician, writer and advocate who’d made a public comment about the Monserrate case.As I’ve documented at various times, this is a problem which has been present from the case’s inception and persisted throughout on all sides and even among those who’ve taken no side.
Since the sole reason for the existence of this Department is to make sport of such people, I am happy to report that the problem continues unabated.Writing a couple of weeks ago on The Albany Project, about a possible expulsion of Monserrate from the Senate, Michael Bouldin said, “Given the division of seats in the Senate - 32 Ds, 30 Rs - some R votes are required to make it happen. And it's hard to see Dean Skelos and his caucus doing the Democrats the political favor of getting rid of one of the guys who joined with them in their short-lived coup.”
Of course, the exact opposite is almost certainly true; if it comes to the floor, a majority of Senate Republican will almost surely vote to expel, probably by a higher percentage than the Dems (at the very least , Kruger, Diaz, Espada, Parker, Adams and Monserrate are voting no).
1) Some Republicans have boxed themselves in.
They hate him.
Did I also mention the possible opportunity to create legislative gridlock?
And, take this gem from The Daily Gotham:
MOLE333: Last night at the monthly meeting of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats there was a long discussion about what to do about the violent, nasty scum of a human being named Hiram Monserrate who currently is oozing around the State Senate.
State Senators Eric Adams and Velmanette Montgomery as well as Assemblywoman Joan Millman were there and focused mostly on the Monserrate dilemma.
Let me first be clear, that EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE ROOM seemed to agree that Monserrate is a miserable, disgusting human being whose only way to feel big is to beat up on women and betray his constituents. No one in the room defended Monserrate as a person.
DOES ERIC ADAMS REALLY AGREE THAT MONSERRATE IS A MISERABLE DISGUSTING HUMAN BEING:
Sen. Eric Adams, who, like Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate is a former NYPD officer, is the first Senate Democrat to release a formal statement expressing support for his soon-to-be legislative colleague and also raises questions about the "unusual handling" of Monserrate's assault case.
And, in his standard style, the Brooklyn senator pulls no punches, basically accusing the NYPD of wanting to get back at Monserrate because he has been an "outspoken advocate of police reform."
"As a former NYPD Captain, I have some serious concerns regarding the unusual handling of the case against Councilman Monserrate," Adams said. "The primary goal of investigating a complaint of domestic violence is to ensure the safety of the innocent victim."
"However, the police department and the DA appear to have ignored Ms. Giraldo’s repeated insistence that the injury she sustained was the result of an accident, a fact that has been publicly supported by Ms. Giraldo's family in interviews with the press."
"Second, the department departed from standard operating procedures by requiring a public ‘perp walk’ past TV cameras, rather than following the normal routine of taking someone out the back door through the precinct’s private lot. A 'perp walk' is used when the NYPD wants to expose a suspect to public view."
"These questions raise serious doubts regarding the motivating factor behind the arrest and charges against Councilman Monserrate. Specifically, these facts suggest that the Police Department’s priority is to publicly humiliate the accused rather than following the evidence."
"It is well known that Councilman Monserrate has been an outspoken advocate for police reform. I believe his role as an agent for change cause him to be denied his rights and a thorough investigation.”
When called on the fact that Adams had earlier been peddling lurid fantasies that Monserrate was a victim of a conspiracy by THE MAN, Mole back tracked only slightly
“It has been pointed out to me that this might be an evolution of Eric Adams' views…I would speculate that if it is an evolution in his views perhaps the video of Monserrate abusing his girlfriend, which Adams did refer to at CBID, might have been the inspiration for such an evolution.”
Hogwash and whitewash (although, perhaps that is an inelegant choice of words).As has been reported, Adams watched the trial together with Ruben Diaz, even after the video had been made public, and was even there to support Monserrate at the verdict, even after the video had been shown to the jury.
If Eric Adams is now going around to white liberals creating the impression that that he thinks Monserrate is a “miserable, disgusting human being ,” then Adams is purposefully distorting the truth; and bloggers like Mole333 who swallow this malarkey, even after being presented with evidence of its transparent falsehood, are willingly participating in that falsehood’s perpetuation.
I’ve always been puzzled by the adulation shown to Adams by white “progressives.”
As I reported years ago, back in 1995, at the height of the Gingrich revolution, Adams felt compelled to re-register as a Republican and start giving money to reactionaries like Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts and Brooklyn State Senator Bobby DiCarlo.
At the time, Adams explained his change of enrollment by saying "Believe it or not, it's a continuation of 'no justice, no peace…I believe that there are a large number of closet black Republicans in the city, and if you take a close look at some of the concepts of the Republican Party, you'll see that many of them are our values."
Adams later switched back to the Democrats without offering any explanation of his rapid, extreme and unfathomable political mood swings.Sometime after Adams’ election, I described the spectacle of his trying to simulate populist outrage at the City‘s Council‘s postponement of term limits, when Adams had once mounted the floor of the State Senate to imitate Cuba Gooding screaming “show me the money,” in an unsuccessful effort to convince his colleagues to resist just such populist outrage and vote themselves a pay raise.
It should be noted that while some legislators might have been credible in crying poverty and complaining about a raise long overdue, Adams collects a Police Captain’s pension and was newly elected.Then there was the time Adams defended Sergeant Crowley’s cuffing of Henry Louis Gates, objecting only to Crowley’s having taken too long to do so. While I myself had defended Crowley against accusations of racism, I’d also recognized Crowley’s cuffing of Gates as an inappropriate reaction to wounded machismo. Not so Adams
In fact, what Adams’ responses to both the actions of Crowley and Monserrate bear in common is perhaps too high a degree of tolerance concerning inappropriate responses to wounded machismo, especially when committed by present or former members of the constabulary.
Let me be clear, I am not saying that all those who oppose throwing Hiram Monserrate out of the Senate are guilty of insensitivity to what transpired, or that they are delusional. In fact, as my October article made clear, I’m not so sure myself that Monserrate should be expelled.
But if Eric Adams had changed his mind and really thinks Monserrate is a “miserable, disgusting human being ,” then let him say so--and if this is indeed the case, let him also explain the evolution in his thinking (he might also use the opportunity to finally elucidate upon the 360 degree evolution in his politics, but I’d settle for one mea culpa at a sitting).
In fairness, I should note that Mole’s article does a pretty good job in summing up the arguments made by Adams and others opposing expulsion.
However, the quality of those arguments varies wildly.
ARGUMENT: :Expelling Sleaze Monserrate would return the State Senate to the paralysis that it saw earlier where Republicans could prevent the legislature from doing anything.:
This is certainly true, though keeping him there would not necessarily prevent the same from occurring anyway. Imagine what Monserrate would be like after a significant group of his colleagues tried to expel him.
Remember, he caused the last statewide leadership crisis out of personal pique over being denied his lulu.
Besides, would things really get any worse if the parties were forced to share power?
I’m no fan of bi-partisanship (the coup attempt was an example of bi-partisanship) but any event which might cut the power of Pedro Espada, Ruben Diaz and Carl Kruger would be worth considering on its own merits.
In any event, such a disaster (if that is indeed what it is) may never even come to pass. When John Sampson proffered Committee Chairmanships to cooperative Senate Republicans, and two of them (George Maziarz and Tom Morahan) accepted the offer, is not likely that he did so with exactly such an eventuality in mind?
But frankly, none of the foregoing is even relevant.
If Monserrate’s expulsion is both legally permissible and substantively merited, he should be expelled.
If the both those needles cannot be threaded, then the expulsion should not take place.
For anyone to consider this matter from any other perspective is unconscionable.
ARGUMENT: The voters should decide:
This is a serious argument, for the technical reason that it is a very serious thing for the Senate to substitute its will for that of the voters in Monserrate’s district.
In most cases, it might also be moral argument.
But not in this case.
When I watch the likes of Eric Adams or Errol Louis go into high gear moral outrage about the will of the voters being trampled upon, I have to ask if they are smoking crack.
For, except in the technical sense, the voters never decided.
Except in the technical sense, there was never even an election.As I’ve noted before, Monserrate, despite his open flirtations with Joe Bruno (whose trial Adams also attended) and Dean Skelos, and the cries of bloggers who warned about it,
was nominated by the Democrats after both the Queens Democratic Organization and the Working Families Party took the incumbent, John Sabini and cut him with the political equivalent of a piece of broken glass (David Paterson then performed the political equivalent of driving Sabini to the hospital, finishing the job on Sabini by giving him a new one).
There was no primary. Nor was there ever a general election.
When I say there was never a general election, I am not merely saying that the November election was a mere farce where the Republicans nominated a placeholder who did no campaigning.
The Republican did not nominate anyone, either living or dead. Why should they have done so? With an assist from the Governor, the Queens Democratic Organization and the WFP, the Democrats had already nominated the candidate the Republicans wanted.
In November, 2008, the voters of the 13th Senatorial District had four choices.
They could vote for Hiram Monserrate on the Democratic line. Or they could vote for Hiram Monserrate on the Working Families line. Or they could have written in a name of their own choice. Or they could have forgone entirely the chance to vote for their State Senator.
40,404 voters chose Monserrate the Democrat. 1,444 chose Monserrate the “progressive.” Five voters wrote in other names (two for John Sabini; two for Peter Koo, who was the Republican candidate in an adjoining district; and one for someone named Robert M. Anderson), and 21,382 voted for no one at all.
Please note that high as the last number was, it was of no legal significance. In fact, if instead, Monserrate had gotten only 21,382 on the Democratic line, and 40,404 voters had skipped the race entirely, Monserrate would still have been certified as the victor.
Expelling Monserrate would not take away from the voters of the 13th SD their sacred right to a State Senator of their own choice.
Provided the Governor did the right thing and actually called an election--one in which Monserrate would be free to compete--expelling Monserrate would not be taking away the right of these voters to choose their own Senator -- it would be restoring to those voters that right.
ARGUMENT: It is unclear whether the State Senate has the legal right under the state constitution to expel Monserrate.
This is the best argument made by Adams and company, as reported by Mole; it is an argument I’ve made myself.
However, there is now a long report by a Special Senate Committee arguing that the Senate has that right. The Committee may be right, or they may be not. A lot of smart people have been arguing the legalities.
The only thing that seems clear is that the legalities are not an open and shut case. That means the Senators are going to have to read the report and decide for themselves. The Courts then may or may not choose to second guess them.
But even if the Senate does have that right, that does not necessarily mean they should avail themselves of that right in the case of Monserrate.
My guess is that Eric Adams believes that even if the Senate is legally within its rights, the case has not been made. Or perhaps he believes that regardless of whether the case has been made, Monserrate should not be expelled.
I’m not really sure Eric Adams is really all that concerned about anyone’s rights under either the Federal or State Constitution.
After all, he thought little of the right of Henry Louis Gates to be free from the threat of any unreasonable seizure.
Tell you the truth, I’m not sure about the substantive case for expulsion myself.
What I do think is that the Senate should stop making excuses. The Senators should read the report, listen to the contrary arguments and decide whether they have the power to expel a member, and then they should decide whether the use of such a right would be merited in this instance.
And, they should stop using stupid excuses to avoid having to answer those questions.
And once they decide those questions, they should not let any consideration, be it party politics, personal relationships (either hatred or friendship), advocacy groups, or even what the voters will think, get in the way of their remembering that this is a quasi-judicial proceeding, and it is their solemn duty to determine what the law requires and then to vote to require it.
SPECIAL BONUS QUIBBLING SECTION (2/1/10)
1) While the Report of the Senate Special Committee said that Monserrate would be able to run in a special election following removal, election law expert Marty Connor believes that it is not so clear he would be able to do so.
2) While it is indisputable that Senator Adams said that Sergeant Crowley's only failing in cuffing Professor Gates in his own home was not doing it soon enough, it turns out that it is also indisputable that Adams said almost exactly the opposite at around the same time; to wit:
“If it’s their house, they’re allowed to call you all sorts of names,…A man’s house is his castle. If they’re in the street, and they don’t listen to the officer’s warning, ‘Sir, you’re being disorderly,’ you can lock them up at this time….Let’s say I do a stop,…I question, and it’s nothing. ‘Sir, I’m sorry, I apologize.’ What’s the reason for staying, if the anger’s directed at me? If it’s directed at a third party, a storekeeper, I stay.”
Of course, as this article amply demonstrates, it is nothing new for Adams to publicly take irreconcilable positions, depending upon what audience he is trying to please at the moment.
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