Domestic Partner looked over at the two shaggy creatures on the couch.
Both were overweight, gray haired, bearded and had a gloomy countenance. The little one proceeded to slap the big one across the face. The big one did not respond.
“Feed the hundt!” yelled DP. The smaller figure, Cerberus the Schnauzer, snapped to attention.
The larger one continued to give her a hangdog look.
“Gatemouth” she yelled, “please stop obsessing about the election.”
Nine year old Dybbuk also chimed in. “Dad, The Smartest Man In America gives Mitt only a 16.3% chance of victory.”
So why can't I sleep at night?
Well, in a game of Russian Roulette, one only has a 16.7% of blowing one’s brains out.
I will rest easier when the game is over.
But it is not merely the Presidential race that leaves me depressed. At least there, one can impact the national popular vote. And there is also the chance to impact upon the national tabulation of how many votes each party’s candidates get for Congress.
But that is pretty much it.
Otherwise Tuesday is almost counterproductive—an opportunity to give a rotten polity a false positive affirmation by one’s participation.
How does Gatemouth define “depression?”
“Depression” is when one starts thinking that maybe Larry Littlefield has a point.
But it could be worse.
One could be living in an area where one vote makes a difference, ether substantively or symbolically, but the choices are utterly depressing.
Here now are Gatemouth’s endorsements in races which are either competitive, or where one might want to send a message, but where the choices are somewhat less than palatable.
11th CD: Given the GOP’s near unanimous inability to ever break ranks for the good of the country, even on issues upon which they agree with the President, the time has come for the public to say “enough is enough.”
The failures of the Congressional Democrats, such as they are, have sometimes been of guts and courage, more so of strategy and tactics, more often than that of salesmanship, but in the end they amount to politics being the art of the possible, and the limits of possibility under the circumstances.
The failure of the Republicans sometimes stem from ideological fanaticism, but mostly owe to a belief that failure of our nation in the short run is for the greater good, if not for their country, then for themselves.
Henry Kissinger used to engage in plateau bargaining, the art of having someone agree to your terms and then asking for more; today’s Republicans abhor plateau bargaining--the last thing they want is agreement.
Obama put forth a health plan combining features originally proposed by Bob Dole and Mitt Romney; he put forth a carbon restriction bill based totally on market-oriented Republican principles; he cut taxes; he appointed a bi-partisan deficit reduction commission which put forth a plan less palatable to Democrats than Republicans, and reintroduced it in modified form during the debt ceiling imbroglio; he adopted George W. Bush‘s bank bailout, auto industry bailout and immigration reform plans. He did not precipitously withdraw troops anywhere we have them, and actually expanded some.
No president in decades reached out more than Barack Obama, and for his troubles he was branded as a foreign socialist Muslim.
My baseline rule for this election is that it is a reputable presumption not to support a Republican for either house of Congress, anywhere.
Even in this sorry context, 11th CD incumbent Michael Grimm is pretty ideologically rigid.
But I would not support Michael Grimm even if I were a conservative.
Grimm has been an ethical nightmare. He is also a thug, who publicly threatens those who dare to ask him legitimate questions.
Michael Grimm has become as toxic as the Fresh Kills landfill, but doesn't smell as good. So toxic, that other Republicans return his contributions. The DCCC did a poll in Grimm's district and found voters preferred "None of the Above"And “None of the Above” is essentially who the Democrat’s nominated.
Grimm’s Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy, has proven to be pretty much an empty suit, lacking in motivation. He would never threaten a hostile questioner, when it is far easier just to duck out on the debate.
When asked about the New York Times endorsement of his opponent, Grimm said:
“The New York Times would have endorsed a Democrat ham sandwich; in this instance they would have had more credibility by doing so.”
This is undoubtedly true, but the ham sandwich declined to run, so they were stuck with Murphy.
But as usual, Grimm didn't get it.
If Grimm had a primary, the Times would have endorsed a Republican ham sandwich against him.
And they would have had the moral high ground if they would have done so.
As I do now:
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES MARK MURPHY.
BTW, does anyone know the difference between Michael Grimm and a ham sandwich?
A ham sandwich gets indicted, even though it does not deserve to be.
17th SD: The incumbent, Republican David Storobin, is a strange young man with a quasi-authoritarian Crypto-Phalangist ideology, who thinks nothing of stirring up hatred to get votes, denies multiple genocides, and is at ease with making up lies out of whole cloth.
He must go.
Storobin's Democratic opponent, former Councilman Simcha Felder, is not a social liberal, and probably even qualifies as a conservative economically. Further, Felder seems ready to support Dean Skelos’ continued leadership of the State Senate.
But Felder has his upside.
Felder is bright, hardworking, and thoughtful. He is adept at the legislative process, and at bringing home the pastrami. Moreover, Felder inspires confidence. You would trust him to hold your wallet.
Felder is also one of the most funny and charming politicians in the city, for what it’s worth. And to me, it is worth something, maybe even a lot.
Felder is focused both globally and locally. Although a supporter of tuition tax credits, he genuinely appears to be concerned with improving the quality of education in our public schools, even if his family does not itself use them.
And he is not incapable of taking an unpopular position.
There's very little on which I agree with The Jewish Press, but these words about Simcha Felder are dead on:
"In a political world defined by self-aggrandizement, hyperbole, demonstrations and histrionics, he has been a model of self-effacement, understatement, hard work and competence"
Finally, though Simcha Felder is very socially conservative; he has also been a repository of decency, at least in the context of his area. Though Felder will surely speak out on social issues on the Senate floor, and to do so in a socially conservative manner, he is unlikely to stir up hatred about such issues to advance himself politically.
And because of that, in the currently poisonous atmosphere that pervades much of southern Brooklyn politics, Felder is being attacked as some sort of betrayer of his religious principles by Storobin, who sometimes pretends to be an Orthodox Jew, even though he is not.
Sadly, facing Storobin has caused Felder to descend to levels he’s never stooped to before, but Felder has refused to up the ante, despite what must be a strong temptation to do so.
Truth be told, though Felder may have exceeded decent limits as of late, in the context of Storobin, he still looks like Adlai Stevenson.
And, even at his worst, Simcha Felder has never denied anyone else’s genocide.
Gatemouth endorses a vote in favor of what in context looks like the southern Brooklyn version of civility and common decency. Though I agree with him on practically nothing, GATEMOUTH ENDORSES SIMCHA FELDER against the forces of L’shon Hora embodied by the likes of David Storobin.
21st SD: Kevin Parker is an embarrassment to his borough, his Party and to the NYS Senate. But Parker would really like to keep his disgraces private, if he could.
In contrast, some people will do anything for their 15 minutes of public exhibitionism. Parker’s clownish opponent Mindy Meyer may be the first Orthodox Jewish woman worthy of being displayed on "Public Disgrace" (Google it, but it's NSFW).
This sort of behavior should not be encouraged. Mindy Meyers deserves a public spanking.
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES KEVIN PARKER.
32nd SD: The only candidate against the buffoonish demagogic incumbent, Ruben Diaz, Sr., is the Independence Party’s David Johnson.
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES DAVID JOHNSON. I am Gatemouth and this is what you should know.
Assembly:45th AD: I’ve been harshly critical of incumbent Steve Cymbrowitz, not so much for his social conservatism, but because of the shameless and embarrassing pandering which sometimes has accompanied it.
But there are worse things in the world than pandering plodders who focus on constituent services while throwing the crazies an occasional piece of cheese.
Those worse things include Cymbrowitz’s opponents, Ben Akselrod and Russ Gallo.
Akselrod and Gallo are in a fierce competition to prove which of them can deny more minority religions a place to worship, or deny LGTB persons more rights.
When it comes to unconscionable, unspeakable demagoguery and bigotry, I think we can call it a draw. If someone held a gun to my testes and asked me to make a choice between them, I’d say “shoot me now.”
Gallo is one of the slugs behind the egregious and repugnant Brooklyn GOP Radio and a member in good standing of the Brooklyn GOP’s pro-Craig Eaton/Marty Golden “Jig Is Up” wing.
Akselrod, who lost a closely contested primary to Cymbrowitz, started out his campaign by attacking gays and Muslims and went downhill from there; by the end of the primary campaign, he was sending out mail with racially suggestive typos and attacking the incumbent’s wife for being a Latina.
Last month, I described the choice in the race as between stale ginger ale (Cymbrowitz), pish (Akselrod) and Drano (Gallo).
I know which I’d rather drink.
An article from the Times illustrate why this matters.
The article describes how Allowey Ahmed, a Yemeni immigrant, loved Sheepshead Bay for its tolerance, until he tried to avail himself of his First Amendment rights as an American and build a house of worship. Now, he is shocked by his neighbor's fury:
“I wish we could do something to make them like us...but thank God our rights aren’t subject to people whether they like us or not. We have guaranteed rights, and that’s what makes this country wonderful.”
One can almost shed tears of pride about Ahmed’s patriotic embrace of our American values.
Thankfully, owing mostly to the First Amendment, efforts to stop the house of worship became futile, and the protests and open intolerance have now died down to a level verging upon insignificance.
But leave it to cynical and unscrupulous politicians running in districts that don't even include the area where the mosque is being built, to keep raising a ruckus, telling lies and stirring up hatred in order to keep the issue alive so that it can inure to their political benefit.
The politicians I speak of are State Senator David Storobin and both of Cymbrowitz’s opponents.
I would call then “human garbage,” but the first part of that phrase might be giving them too much credit.
Steve Cymbrowitz has every reason not to take a position on a zoning matter outside his district, although some moral outrage might be nice.
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES STEVE CYMBROWITZ. Scum like Akselrod and Gallo need to figuratively have their brains bashed in at the ballot box, so others will eschew their example.
48th AD: AD 48: Having gotten his clock cleaned in the Democratic Primary, Mitchell “Mo” Tischler, an ally of Tea Partier Joe Hayon, again challenges incumbent Dov Hikind, this time on the School Choice line.
Though both are social conservatives, issue by issue, Hikind is probably a bit superior.
However, Hikind, who also serves as a Democratic State Committeeman, is a national nuisance, who regularly wields his kosher stamp against Democrats, raising money for dozens of Republican Congressional candidates around the country, and campaigning for Mitt Romney in Florida.
Hikind’s holding public office as an ostensible Democrat only amplifies the value of his microphone against us.
It would take years for Tischler to be able to grow into such a nuisance.
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES MO TISCHLER.
53rd AD: Earlier this fall, GOP placeholder Richy Garcia practically issued an endorsement to incumbent Vito Lopez, who really does not seem to get how elated everyone is that he is gone in all but name.
If re-elected, Lopez will likely be treated in Albany like a leper with running sores, while his colleagues try to figure out how to get rid of him. Given the damage the legislature is sometimes capable of causing, this may arguably be a preferable way of keeping them occupied.
Meanwhile, Lopez is hinting he may run for City Council.
A Garcia victory would mean this seat will be de facto vacant for two years, allowing the real successor to Lopez to be chosen in a primary, rather than by the 53rd AD Democratic County Committee, which Lopez controls.
It will also prevent Lopez from using his government staff and mail to advance his Council race.
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES RICHY GARCIA.
55th AD: This seat is currently unoccupied by Junior Boyland, the Prince of Whales of the Royal Family of Brownsville.
Recently acquitted of accepting a no-show job as a payoff, Boyland has proven his real no-show job is his seat in the legislature. Boyland currently awaits another trial, which means that he will have a better excuse for his Albany absences than he does during those rare intervals in which he is not under arrest.
The more serious of Boyland’s two rival is Independence Party candidate Bilal Malik, a former School Board member, who, unlike the Republican, actually seems to want to win.
Other than the video linked above and an article which mentions his opposition to “stop and frisk,” virtually the only info about Malik’s beliefs I was able to find on the web is a two year old blurb from the 504 Democratic Club, a group which focuses on the rights of the disabled:
55th Assembly District (Brooklyn): We interviewed Bilal Malik, who is challenging incumbent William Boyland, Jr. Assembly Member Boyland did not participate in our screening procedure. Mr. Malik believes that a legacy of over 30 years of being represented by various members of the Boyland family have not served his community well. He became aware of the many obstacles and the lack services for persons with disabilities when his mother had a stroke. He cited inaccessible transportation, inaccessible buildings, and elevator breakdowns among the many barriers facing PWDs. He is assisting a person to obtain a wheelchair and is running a humanitarian campaign for all of Brownsville. As a veteran, he expressed concern for all disabled vets, particularly those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a well meaning individual; however, he is not conversant with state policies or programs. We look forward to seeing him again in the future.
Despite a suspicion that the bowtied Malik might be a member of the Nation of Islam, he seems harmless enough to fade into the woodwork for two years without causing much harm. If you don’t believe me, watch his pathetic video.
[CORRECTION: According to Rock, despite the bowtie and Arab name, Malik is not only not NOI, but an ordianed Christian Minister]
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES BILAL MALIK.
60th AD: The incumbent is Inez Barron, who will probably run for the City Council in the hopes of doing a switcheroo with her husband, the despicable Councilman Charles.
Let’s end the Barron family’s reign of bean-pie eating ideological terrorism and hatred.
The only candidate running again Mrs. Barron is a Republican named Kenneth Waluyn. That’s all I need to know.
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES KENNETH WALUYN.
65th AD: Those who think Shelly Silver needs to be sent a message about his serial mishandling of allegations of rape and sexual harassment can send a message by voting for Tea-publican Wave Chan, who has the virtue of having no chance of actual victory.
GATEMOUTH ENDORSES WAVE CHAN.
AND NOW FOR THE WORST OF IT; RACES WHERE THERE IS NO LESSER EVIL:
5th CD: One can still excuse Charlie Rangel, who, relieved of his Chairmanship, is now only a minor embarrassment to the national Democrats, and who sometimes blurts out something useful and true which no one but an 83 year old man who no longer gives a fuck would have the balls to say.
But there’s no excuse for Greg Meeks.
Even better, Meeks’ GOP opponent is actually a Democrat who’d probably caucus with his Party.
The problem is that both Meeks and his Democratically enrolled GOP opponent, Former Councilman Allen Jennings, are unfit for public office of any sort.
The third candidate is a Libertarian, and surely her opponents in this race are the best argument one could possibly make for the abolition of government.
15th SD: This year, the State Senate GOP made an effort to squeeze every black hat in Queens into the District they drew for Eric Ulrich, and like David Storobin before him, Ulrich undertook a relentless effort to attack his opponent, State Senator Joe Addabbo, for his support of Same Sex Marriage.
As I’ve noted, Dean Skelos and his crew have been cynically exploiting for gain a law they are in large measure responsible for.
Then, just when one thought there was no more room for cynicism, Ulrich admitted on New York One that he would actually vote against any repeal effort.
Could anything be more embarrassing?
Well, actually, yes.
For it is Addabbo's acrobatics which have been even more dizzying.
Addabbo voted against Same Sex Marriage once, and for it the next time, allegedly based on polling (perhaps not the best choice of words) his constituents.
Called on it at a debate, Addabbo said he'd once again do a poll, which given the change in his lines, would probably mean another 360 degree pirouette. Now he’s telling Orthodox Jewish groups he’d probably vote to repeal it.
At a time when brave Republicans Mark Grisanti, Steve Saland and Roy McDonald stood tall on principle on the same issue, and sometimes ended their careers as a result, Joe Addabbo is the perfect picture of a pathetic political eunuch.
And Addabbo’s humiliating efforts to get to Ulrich’s right don’t stop there, as Gotham Gazette noted:
Another major difference between the two was displayed when they were asked about The Dream Act. Ulrich said he supported "some version" of the act, while Addabbo said he didn't support it at all because people in his district can't find money to send their kids to college.
Did you understand that?
Does Joe understand his district is 23.95% Latino?
There is nothing stupider than a pander that backfires.
I have to admit that I might have supported Addabbo anyway, if he met even one of three criteria:
1) He was clearly more capable than Ulrich;
2) Ulrich was despicable in the manner of a David Storobin, Ben Akselrod, Russ Gallo, Charles Barron or Michael Grimm; or
3) It was a moral imperative that the Democrats take the State Senate back from the GOP.
1) Joe is clearly dumber than a post, while Ulrich is whipsmart. Since Joe would still probably vote better more often, I guess we can call that a wash;
2) Ulrich, while cynical enough to exploit Same Sex Marriage throughout his campaign, keeps letting it slip that he is no hater. In fact, Ulrich let it slip so much that he ended up getting attcked for it during his primary, when he opponent, Juan Reyes, called him out for dining with homosexuals (though, in Ulrich’s defense, they do tend to know where the best restaurants are).
In truth, I’m still not sure which candidate in this race, wouldn’t stoop to introducing legislation calling for his County's name to be changed from "Queens" to "Butch," on a Monday, and then offer hand jobs in Austin Street gay bars the next night. But clearly, one cannot call one candidate here morally superior to the other; and
3) While I do hope against hope that the Democrats take the Senate, because I think this would lead to a change in their leadership, which probably could only make things better, I’m not sure it matters, since the Governor would probably find enough votes to keep Skelos in charge in any event.
And while the GOP Senators have demonstrated both a resistance to process reform and ability to waste money hand over fist, that only makes them the equal of the Democrats.
On some issues (teacher accountability, fiscal restraint, pensions), though not most, I tend to think the GOP might even be easier to goad into acting in the State’s long-term best interests. But, whatever the issue, the SenDems do ont inspire confidence that they are capable of acting in anyone's interest. including their own.
At any rate, even with my marginal preference for Democratic Party policies at the state level (as opposed to the Governor’s policies), I cannot say that a Democratic State Senate is such a moral imperative that it requires one to vote for Joe Addabbo.