[I know I promised that my next piece in this series would be about erstwhile Congressional candidate and unlikely left-hero, Steve Harrison, but my “The Daily Gotham” (TDG) posting of Part One (wherein I excoriate Joe Bruno, and outline his modis operandi in unsparing detail, like practically no one has ever done before), was answered almost solely with accusations that the entire series was a contract on behalf of Harrison’s likely primary opponent, Dominick Recchia.
I will admit that the endless Recchia baiting on TDG did inspire me to frontload Harrison, rather than saving him for later. However, in my defense, I will note that Harrison’s name is the biggest (though not only) surprise in the series (although not to anyone who started following Harrison’s political career before he started running for Congress). Nonetheless, as a token of my sincerity, I have re-jiggered the season’s schedule, and will instead present today an easy target, far more in line with audience expectations.
Conveniently, and unlike the Harrison piece, it was already finished, being an adapted and expanded version of an article I was about to publish in December 2006, before being forced off the air.]
“...you need to move on from your Owens problem, Gate.” Posted by Bouldin on Room 8 (December 9, 2006)
I’ve been asked at least ten too many times what accounts for my obsession with, and hatred of, Chris Owens. In my defense, I will say I am not obsessed with Owens and do not hate him. In fact, on April 13, 2006, I publicly scolded EnWhySea Wonk for calling Owens unqualified to go to Congress, and stated “the only candidates deserving consideration are Yassky and Owens”. The reason Chris Owens encountered my criticism so often is that he kept saying and doing things which compelled response.
Most pols seeking office say and do as little as they can possibly get away with. By contrast, since Owens fancies himself a Public Intellectual [more like a Public Pseudo-Intellectual (PPI)], he has left a voluminous trail of paper and electronic commentary. Moreover, he is that rare American PPI who chooses to seek public office, attempting to be standard-bearer for a version of liberalism which, as a liberal, I find both ill-conceived, and destructive to achievement of ultimate victory in the causes which I hold dear. And, since the neighborhood where Owens has sought public office happens to be my own, he ended up becoming my straw man.
As Owens has usually upheld the standard he bears in a manner inviting ridicule, I’ve found it difficult to turn down his invitation. I love a good party, the good party I love is the Democrats, and I am only trying to protect my loved ones.
But, I am not obsessed. And I don’t hate Chris Owens; despite his lack of humor, I couldn’t hope for a bigger, more lovably cuddly and ridiculous goofball to embody the follies and foibles of stupid, politically correct left “progressives” (as they call themselves, somewhat inaccurately). In fact, if you read everything I’ve ever said about Owens on my blog, it’s clear that I’ve no obsession. See for yourself:
I rest my case.
By contrast, if an observer wanted to see what it would take to become a politician who’s earned my obsessive hatred, one would be hard-pressed to do better than State Senator Carl Kruger, or, as he’s been known for decades among his friends and associates, “Mengele”.
In fact, despite some assertions made to the contrary by the Boys at TDG, the opportunity to gather all my past observations about Kruger in one convenient and easy to access location was probably the single most important factor leading to my embarking upon this series.
It may have been despicable for Eliot Spitzer to have the Senate Dems try to sic the IRS on Joe Bruno, but Carl Kruger was the rat who squealed.
Given his own scrapes with the law (detailed next time), you’d think Carl’d understand the code of omerta. I’m not advocating that Kruger be put into a witness protection program (although he could use the makeover), but that fact that he doesn’t need such protection does not speak well for the Senate Dems’ field operation (compare, for example, the Assembly’s operation when Kruger ran it).
When Kruger’s not busy directly sabotaging his own party, he’s been doing it indirectly by being Joe Bruno’s loudest defender. Lyndon Johnson used to say of J. Edgar Hoover, “I’d rather having him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in." Kruger is different. Better he be outside the tent pissing in, than where he is now: inside the tent pissing in. At least if he were outside, his aim would be less accurate.
Anyway, Let’s look at Gatemouth’s Kruger paper trail:
In April 2006, I criticized Eric Adams for his lost weekend as a Gingrich Republican and had this exchange:
Robert Hornak [Are You Serious??]: Gate, are you seriously complaining that Adams once said he was republican because republicans and blacks had values in common? You can't really be oversimplifying it that much, can you? Are you really THAT threatened by black republicans? If so, I have friends you should meet.
Gatemouth [Serious as a freakin' heart attack,thank you]: I am not threatened by black Republicans who want to be Republicans. I am distressed by Republicans of any color (take that Carl Kruger and Dov Hikind) posing as Democrats in order to win elective office. You want Adams in the Senate? Give him a Wilson-Pakula and invite him back. I'd like the Democratic candidate to be a Democrat. Adams has some serious Q and A coming if he wants to convince me that he qualifies as such. (Room 8)
Soon thereafter came this report, and the exchange which followed:
Ben Smith: Brooklyn Democrats are buzzing today about a confronation Thursday night at a dinner for 41st Assembly District pols in south Brooklyn.
The combatants were Rep. Anthony Weiner and State Senator Carl Kruger, and witnesses saw the Congressman get right up in Kruger's formidable grill. Apparently impolite language was used.
And...not to beg and plead but ... anybody got a picture?
Gatemouth: Don't know why Weiner yelled at Kruger and don't really care; my only objection is that he didn't slug him. Kruger should be buried up to his neck in horse dung, and beaten senseless with a baseball bat three times a day until he comes out of the closet and admits he's a Republican.
If the Democrats ever gain control of the Senate, they'd better do it by more than one vote or Kruger will conference with the Republicans, but he won't ever have the cojones to actually change his party enrollment.
Carl Kruger: when ugly, nasty, reactionary and completely lacking in charm aren't enough.Rock Hackshaw: Please let Chuck Barron know that if he is willing and able to enact my Kruger fantasy described above into reality (for mental health reasons, of course), I'll back him for Congress. (Daily Politics)
(A shot so cheap, even I felt bad about taking it, has been deleted)
Nichole Brydson: In the morning, Eliot Spitzer will receive an endorsement from state Sen. Carl Kruger in Brooklyn.
Gate: Just like Carl not to wait til his party's nomination is settled before jumping ship and endorsing the other side.
Anon: Gate you're an idiot; Kruger's a Democrat
Gate: you think Kruger's a Democrat, and you're calling me the idiot? (Politicker)
Almost proving my point is this exchange which followed a piece about (who would have guessed?) Chris Owens
BLogger: Well I guess Owens can count on your vote for BP in 2009.
Gatemouth: Given the quality of some of the prospective candidates, he just might get my vote (better Owens than Carl Kruger), but he still won't win. (Room 8)
Even after my retirement from blogging the posts continued:
Paul Curtis: I've got nothing against Carl Kreuger, really. I know he means well here. But surely there's better legislation he could be spending his time on.
Having rescued the populace from dancing, trans-fats, and the Mr. Softee jingle (actually, credit for that last one), the lawmakers of New York now propose to save us from our ipods…
Gatemouth (anonymously): Nothing against Mengele?
Carl Kruger is a right wing DINO who endorsed dumber than a fencepost Republican Marty Golden for State Senate in 2002 against one of his own Democratic colleagues. He endorsed Rudy against Hillary for Senate as well. Even if the Senate Dems win over Bonacic and Robach, they'll still need to make sure Kruger doesn't double cross them again.
This bill is one of the least offensive things Kruger has done. (Daily Gotham)
And, as I’d predicted:
Joshing Politics: Senator Carl Kruger of Brooklyn was recently appointed to head the Social Service Committee. The position pays Kruger an additional $12,500 a year and affords him the power that a chairman naturally acquires. The question is, why would Joe Bruno appoint a Democrat while the Republicans still hold the majority (albeit a slim one) in the Senate? Let's take a look, shall we?
“Bruno's move made it clear he was reaching out to potentially sympathetic Democrats who might prove valuable if a fight develops soon over the leadership of the Senate. Spitzer and Smith have indicated they are looking for Republican senators who might like to switch parties or take jobs in the new administration, thus creating more open seats Democrats could go after.
Despite Bruno's plea that this isn't about politics, everything is about politics in Albany and it is safe to say that Kruger is not immune to the game as well. Carl Kruger is certainly sympathetic to the causes that Joe Bruno holds close to his heart. Important issues such as self-enrichment, political power playing and avoiding the scrutiny of the law have been at the forefront of Bruno's agenda.
Kruger has apparently been quite the friend of Joe Bruno, even going so far as to vouch for the decency of the good Senator and the values that Carl claims Bruno stands for.”
From the New York Observer's Politicker:
“Kruger, as you may recall, released a statement in support of Bruno after the majority leader revealed late last year that his outside business interests are the subject of an FBI probe. Kruger said questions about Bruno's integrity were "appalling and ironic," given his commitment to "openness and fairness."
Kruger also has local ties to Bruno: Tom Connolly, vice chairman of the state Independence Party and chair of the Indy Party in Rensselaer County - Bruno's home base - is on Kruger's payroll. Connolly is a Bruno ally from way, way back.”
Gatemouth (anonymously): Political cross-dressing has been all the rage for years when it comes to Brooklyn Dems endorsing Republicans, but Kruger doesn't restrict himself to just endorsing Rudy against Hillary, and the like; he actually transgressed the taboo of pissing on his own conference, endorsing a Republican (Marty Golden) against a sitting Democratic State Senator (Vinnie Gentile), and then helping to run Golden's campaign.
The wife (Doris Greenwood) of a member of Kruger's staff (Joel Garson--yes, those Garsons) works for Golden. It's all big one happy family. Plus he helps enable the Independence Party, which cost the Dems one seat (Maltese) this year, and more in the past. He came this close to being kicked out of the party conference, but cut a deal with David Paterson to save his skin.
If not for Kruger, the Dems would be at least two seats closer to the Senate majority. Actually, we should make that at least three seats. If the Dems take the majority by own one seat, Kruger will be the Joe Leiberman of the State Senate, except it won't only be ideological perfidy that Kruger pulls; give Joe credit; he's a neo-con; Kruger's just a whore, who'll sell the Senate to the highest bidder.
Carl Kruger: The Ru Paul of NY Politics. (Daily Gotham)
Gate (anonymously): Malcolm Smith has been working for weeks to get two Republican to vote with the Democrats to reorganize. He needs two at once, because no one wants to do it alone. The more credible it is that the majority will changes hands, the more likely Republicans are to jump.
Now, by accepting this position, Kruger has allowed Bruno to send his conference a message: Don't bother jumping ship; I have Democratic votes, and you'll end up in the minority. Kruger has taken the wind out of Smith's sails, and he got a prize for it.
Malcolm, the question is WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS?!?
Smith's answer is not reassuring. (Daily Gotham)
The next one felt so nice, I said it thrice:
Gate (anonymously): The Senate Republican majority is doomed in the long-term unless they find a way to corral some non-Republicans into voting with them to organize. This has now been their long-range strategy for many years. They find "Democrats In Name Only" and run them in prohibitively Democratic districts, so they can hold them in reserve in case the Dems ever take the majority…..
Example #4: Carl Kruger; already bought and paid for (Politicker)
Gate (pseudonymously): Example #4 : Carl Kruger; already bought and paid for. (Daily Politics)
Gate (pseudonymously): Example #7: Carl Kruger; already bought and paid for. (Daily Politics)
Sometimes I even dragged Carl into discussions about other topics:
Gate (pseudonymously): For years the debate in Albany has been between those who want to perpetuate "Three Men in a Room", those in the Assembly Minority, who want to expand the playing field to "Five Men in a Room", and those in the Senate Minority who prefer to keep the system the same, but (except for Carl Kruger) want to change one of the men. By contrast, Spitzer’s preferred model appears to be "One Man in a Room". (Room 8)
And once out of retirement, I continued at my usual pace:
Gatemouth: Next year, there will be a hotly contested race for State Senate between Kevin Parker (the male Ada Smith) and Kendall Stewart. Given the district's make-up, if Dear enters the race, he has a good shot of winning. If he wins, he will join Carl Kruger as one more State Senate Democrat who is in the pocket of Joe Bruno, preventing Democratic control, even should Dems actually win a majority. This is of major importance. Dear must not be allowed to go to the Senate!!!! (Daily Gotham)
Of course, the pressures of returning to regular posting meant not only the usual pace, but the usual jokes:
Gatemouth: Hiram Montserate has been playing footsie with Joe Bruno for months now. He is being wooed for the new Bruno strategy; run 'em as Dems, keep em as Dems, but have their votes to organize the Senate if the Dems ever take the majority. It's called "the Kruger Plan", and Sabini has been a target, and is now a bigger one!
The Senate Republican majority is doomed in the long-term unless…. Example #10: Carl Kruger; already bought and paid for. (Room 8)
Even new points get delivered in duplicate:
Gatemouth:…..the machine got a pretty good deal for themselves. Dear will now not run for the State Senate, where he was likely to have joined Carl Kruger as another not so hidden Democratic vote for Joe Bruno. I disapprove of the deal, but even I can admit its upside. (Daily Gotham)
Gatemouth: Some Dear supporters even had better motives, Senator Diane Savino insists she did so for the laudable goals of keeping Dear out of the State Senate, where he was almost certain to join Carl Kruger as another member of the Democratic conference actually controlled by Joe Bruno (although, one cannot help but notice the significant piece of Orthodox Borough Park she represents). (Room 8 & TDG)
And back to an old reliable:
Gatemouth: Bruno’s known this for years, but he’s had a strategy for the new century he’s gradually evolved over the last decade….It's called "the Kruger Plan".
The Senate Republican majority is doomed in the long-term unless….
Example #11: Carl Kruger; already bought and paid for, many times over, but like a case of the clap, or Nancy Larraine Hoffman, Kruger is the gift that keeps on giving. Worth an article all his own; will get one soon. (Room 8 & TDG)
That, my friends, is obsession and hatred.
In the end, Chris Owens was the subject of so many of my pieces, because he engaged ideas far more than almost any candidate for office in 2006. A far more pernicious figure like Charles Barron, who endlessly engaged the same tired idea in different guises, just wasn’t worth as much effort.
Kruger, though arguably not as repugnant as Barron on a political level (and it’s an argument I might lose after you read the next part), even though clearly far more nasty in his demeanor, had no primary, so he escaped 2006 with only a few isolated mentions; although they may be among my most vitriolic. Fortunately (or unfortunately--a primary would have been nice), he was never newsworthy enough in 2006 to earn a piece on his own.
Had I been posting through most of 2007, Kruger would already have gotten his just deserts.
Actually, he just has.
But, I’ve just barely scratched the surface.
Stay tuned next time as I satisfy that itch.