This is the third part of my trawl through the Primary results just posted on the NYC Board of Elections website. I finished this piece before I learned of John Mollenkopf’s more detailed Election District by Election District (ED) analysis of some of the same races, which puts mine to shame. However, I think the points I raise are still worthy of discussion, so I’m posting this rather than trashing it.
The object of this series is to examine shibboleths concerning the results which have arisen since the September 12th primary. For example, it has been reported, in the Brooklyn Paper, and in several blogs, that in the 25th Senate District challenger Ken Diamondstone beat incumbent Martin Connor in the district’s Brooklyn portion, and, in fact it’s been reported that Diamondstone has publicly taunted Connor over this (I’m sure Connor’s crying all the way to Albany). It’s a great story. But it’s not true. In actuality, Connor carried Brooklyn 3864 to 3,806, with two write-in votes going to Tracy Boyland.
“Jersey’s Lesson for GOP
On October 2, the State’s Supreme Court decided that Lautenberg could be added to the ballot 34 days before the election – violating a state election law requiring a 51 day limit.
On September 29, 2006, Republican Mark Foley, mired in an ethics scandal, retired and was not replaced on the Florida ballot by the actual candidate Joe Negron – because it violated Florida election laws.
Did Owens Cost Yassky the Election? (Maybe); Did Yassky Cost Owens the Election? (Probably Not): A Statistical Exercise
“What ifs” always raise unpleasant issues; after all, as the French say, “if bubbe had cojones she’d be zayde”, and if the Democrats had cojones they’d be in the White House and we’d be in Darfur instead of Iraq (but Michael Moore would still be complaining).
In the aftermath of this year’s congressional primaries, many “what ifs” have been raised about the race in the 11th District; both supporters of runner-up David Yassky (ruefully, and under their breathe, or after a few beers) and also-ran Chris Owens (by the candidate himself, in his concession speech) have claimed, contrary to the initial conventional wisdom that the presence in the race of additional black candidates helped Yassky, that Owens cost Yassky the primary.
“Anyway, next thing you'll do is start telling me about Tasini's poll numbers. Don't bother. Most of his votes probably come from the same rightwingers who voted for the boob from the McManus Club in the last primary, and probably will vote for Spencer in the fall.”
Tasini’s Best Borough: Staten Island 22%
Tasini’s Best AD:
"All couples should enjoy what my wife and I have enjoyed for 20 years. It's a civil right," MALCOLM SMITH
So there you have it; the Holy Trinity of Civil Rights: "The Emancipation Proclamation", "The Voting Rights Act", and "The Bear Mountain Compact".
How does a columnist rise to the occasion of the combined Hevesi/Pirro fiascos? Mere commentary, no matter how sarcastic, seems unequal to the task. The absurdity of the election deserved an absurdist response, and I started to spin wild fantasies which, although no weirder than the day’s headlines, just didn’t fit into my normal modus operandi. As such, I decided to do an “Adam Green” type column, which started to take upon a life of its own; an item about Al Pirro’s driving segued into a joke about the driving of a former top Pirro aide related to the Brooklyn DA , but before, as planned, the Kevin Hynes jokes segued into a sequence about Al Pirro driving Hevesi’s wife, they took an unexpected detour, streaming gently into some absurdity about his dad, Charlie Joe; to wit:
“A secret memo today unveiled a plan by Senate Republican Leader Joe Bruno to hold his position even in the event the Democrats achieved a majority by enlisting the vote of Democratic turncoats. Democrats foiled the plot when, upon uncovering the list of turncoats, they elected them to all to leadership positions. Eliot Spitzer promised to ensure the plan’s success by making sure that no resources of any kind be committed to electing any new Senate Democrats, who might foil the plan’s implementation by insisting on a new vote. Assembly Democrats, speaking off the record, insisted that the only foolproof method of ensuring the plan’s success was to defeat as many Senate Democratic candidates as possible, "the smaller their conference, the fewer the number of potential turncoats, and the less likelihood they'd be needed to turn tail". Speaker Silver solemnly pledged to continue his longstanding efforts to that end. “Anything for the sake of the Party”, said Silver aide Judy Rapfogel”
Every once in a while a columnist gets a crazy idea and just can’t help himself. Yesterday, in just such a moment, I unloaded on Borough President Marty Markowitz’s representative on the City’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Joseph Douek. At the behest of the Mayor, in a blatant act of political hog-slopping, the IDA had approved a $12.5 million refinancing plan for the All Stars Project, a "non-profit" group controlled by cult leaders Fred Newman and Leonora Fulani, which specializes in staging anti-Semitic performance pieces and indoctrinating young recruits to the cult. Despite overwhelming evidence of the sleaziness of the deal and the evil of its beneficiaries, Markowitz, who brags about his fealty to the Mayor, had Douek, an Orthodox Jew from the Sephardic community, abstain. I wrote a piece criticizing Doeuk and it got a response which clearly had come from a source close to him. Picking up the ball, I then wrote a piece calling upon Douek to resign. The piece implied that pressure could be brought to serve that end.
"When Brooklyn and Queens got together, we saw that we can work together for the common good of both counties. We were able to achieve something very special, and that was the election of the speaker of the City Council. And it was then that we saw not only the integrity of your chair, but of how well he worked with other people. And I think that we will be able to share that together when Senator Paterson becomes lieutenant governor on selecting a leader to state senate. I think we'll see Brooklyn and Queens working together again."
- Michael Reich, Executive Secretary Queens Democratic Party at the 2006 Brooklyn Democratic Dinner (6/26/06)
Let’s be charitable, and remember that he was then speaking on behalf of a different County Leader; as they say Out West, “Dead Men Seal No Deals”.
SECOND THOUGHTS: MALCOLM IN THE MUDDLE
I’m embarrassed to admit that Malcolm Smith’s election as Senate Democratic Leader took me by surprise. I never saw it coming, but in my defense I’ll that neither did the Brooklyn Democratic Leader. If I known a denunciation of the race was imminent, I certainly would have expressed some thought, which doubtless would have been proven wrong.
Like many, at the beginning I thought that the numbers made a black leader likely, but Carl Andrews ran for Congress, Byron Brown went back to Buffalo, and Smith, the only other member black member of the conference considered politically formidable, had just fathered an illegitimate child, with rumors of more revelations to come. I guess he was just one lucky bastard.
I did, however, catch that the winner was not going to be David Paterson’s Deputy, Eric Schneiderman, as attested to by these posts from threads on the Politicker:
There's a perception, that I've shared, that Democrats have basically written off their hopes of retaking the State Senate this year, and aren't raising much money for the effort.
But a source tells me that some top Democratic fundraisers gathered at Bill Samuels's Manhattan apartment Monday evening to talk about the senate campaigns with Spitzer, Paterson, and Eric Schneiderman.
i think the seante dems are rope-a-doping. they have more money now than ever. and the senate r's have much less than have had in recent years. with eliott/hillary at the top, bush in the tanks a lot of D voters will turnout and a lot R's will stay home. if they can't do it now then they probably won't get the house till 2010/2012.what *might* happen is they pick up 2 seats. morahan dies/retires. a D wins the special leaving a 1 seat margin. then i'd bet a moderate R (robach, balboni, maybe fuschillo or spano) flip in exchange for a big chairmanship (finance).
the senate dems don't want spano or balboni. if klein or dilan take over, progressives might as well give up on the senate. the two of them are sleezy enough for 10 people. eric or liz krueger should take over, take the majority and then get rid of all the dead weight (and there's a lot of it) in their conference.
Posted by: anon | June 10, 2006
The contempt shown in your post for the members of the Senate Democratic Conference, even if deserved, is emblematic of why Schniederman is is so disliked by its membership. It is not the function of a leader to get rid of the dead weight in his conference (as opposed to damage controlling it, which is a leaders' function); the leader works for the members, not the other way around.
While folks like us do not consider servicing the needs of the Conference membership to be the highest priority a leader should be striving to achieve, the members of those conferences generally feel otherwise, and they are the ones who get to vote. People like Dilan, Klein and Connor all understand this. Schneiderman may understand it, but he gives off the impression that he doesn't care.
In choosing among the candidates, the Party's best possible hope is to find the candidate who both understands the prirorities of the conference, but also has the ability to transcend them (as opposed to ignoring them, which won't work). Whatever his flaws in achieving the goal of a majority, Connor clearly had achieving a majority as his primary goal (there are worse crimes than to overreach); whether Dilan and/or Klein share this ambition, or merely want to be king of the smaller pond is a good question, and one we can only hope the Conference's membership keeps in mind.
Posted by: Gatemouth on June 10, 2006
Gatemouth -- Schneiderman HAS worked for his conference, as Deputy Minority Leader he helped get Klein, Savino, Serano, and Valeski elected. The leaders race will not be the 2000 presidential campaign, where members vote according to who they'd want to have a beer with. They will need to figure out who can lead Dems to take the Senate so they will become Majority Senators and Committee Chairs. Schneiderman will need to address this perception of arrogance, but he is clearly the most qualified for the job.
Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2006
You may be correct in your assertion that the members will not be using who they'd rather have a drink with as the basis for their vote; I think that, in the case of at least some of the members, you may not be correct. But, even if you are right about this, you are still dead wrong. The members see their leader primarilly as a service provider; they want a leader whose first priority is to work for them. Eric just doesn't summon up the image of "Member Services with a Smile".
Schniederman can address "this perception of his arrogance" all he wants, but the results are likely to be disappointing; last week my dog tried to address the "perception that he is a canine"; his sincerity at first seemed overwhelming, but, in the end, he still chased the cat.
Posted by: Gatemouth | June 11, 2006
of course the leader represents the conference but that doesn't mean the leader should do nothing but kiss up to his or her members. the leader is responsible to strengthen the entire conference and make everyone more effective. effective legislative leaders on all levels of government listen to their members but also expect things from them. part of the problem with the senate democrats right now is you have about 10% of the members doing all the work...the rest of them are too lazy or self-centered to really wwork for the good of the people or the good of the people of new york. of the people running for minority leader only right now, only eric is smart enough to really turn things around up there.
Posted by: anon | June 11, 2006
Do you think you are helping Schniederman? Your comments reek of contempt for the people who will be doing the voting, and the only question is whether Klein, Connor or Dilan is first to email them out to the rest of the conference to illustrate exactly how Eric feels about them, and eaxactly how Eric's staff occupies themsleves on their days off.
Posted by: Gatemouth | June 11, 2006
Remember, the "real" Democratic leader of the Senate has always been Eric Schneiderman, with help from Liz Krueger.
They are the only two who have the brains and the political savvy in the entire conference.
When Eric is leader, Liz and he will get the job done.
Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2006
It may or may not be true, but the more they let their minions keep saying it, the less true it is. No conference elects leaders with that much contempt for its membership.
Posted by: Gatemouth | July 17, 2006
This column recognizes its obligation, in the interests of fairness, to provide a forum for those with opposing viewpoints to respond, and, in fact, we are most especially sensitive to allowing those who've been personally attacked to get out their side of the story.
On 9/16/06, I noted that the City had approved a $12.5 million refinancing plan for the All Stars Project, a "non-profit" group controlled by cult leaders Fred Newman and Leonora Fulani, which specializes in staging anti-Semitic theatre of cruelty performance pieces and indoctrinating young recruits to the cult. The NYC Industrial Development Agency (IDA), on which the Mayor controls a majority, voted 6 to 4 to approve the project. I noted that all of Mayor Bloomberg's representatives had voted for it. I also noted that "Doctors" Newman and Fulani were leaders in the Independence Party (IP), which had provided the Mayor crucial support in his initial election, and less crucial support thereafter. I'd previously noted elsewhere that the Newman/Fulani Empire of Evil had, as a result of its political activities, benefited from large charitable contributions, consulting fees, patronage appointments, and public funding, all courtesy of the Mayor (although the Governor and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, among others, have also been guilty), including an effort to allow the cult to provide taxpayer supported, school-based "therapy" to our children.
A man outside a polling place hands a voter a palm card. “Have I got a political party for you” (imagine the voice of Gilbert Gottfried)
“Well”, said the voter, “why don’t you tell me about it.”
“Well our party was started as an ego trip by an megalomaniacal multi-millionaire. His main campaign operative has been called ‘The State of the Art Washington Sleaze Bag’ by New Republic, but the operative’s most famous for the personal ads run he's run with his wife seeking partners to satisfy their deviant sexual urges; and when he’s not trying to get his family laid by strangers, he’s busy funneling Republican money to Al Sharpton.”
"Hey, I had one too many, and I thought I was seeing double”
In an effort to curtail problems caused by her husband’s speeding, Republican Attorney General hopeful Jeanine Pirro announced that from now on a former top aide would serve as her husband’s driver: Kevin “One for My Baby and One for the Road” Hynes. Hynes stated he would also be using his expertise to help Al Pirro get re-admitted to the Bar. “There’s not a Bar anywhere in the Country they can keep me out of” said Hynes. Reached for Comment, Hynes’s father, the Brooklyn DA refused to comment about his son, but denied he would be requesting appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate allegations he had celebrated dismissal of Sandra Roper’s lawsuit by lighting cigars with the remaining $200 of Judge John Phillips’ estate ignited over the burning embers of Mark Green’s political career. “You’ve got to stop reading Maurice Gumbs”, laughed Hynes, “He’s as credible as the Jeff Feldman indictment.” Hynes' companion, identified only as "Dennis", then put his cigar out in my face.
“Chris Callaghan just told me that when he first put out the press release accusing Alan Hevesi of chauffering his wife around on the state dime, he didn't actually know if it was true. Had Hevesi denied it, Callaghan said, he would have dropped the matter. (Whether or not his sort would have sought another outlet is a different matter.)
In retrospect, Callaghan says, he thinks Hevesi owned up to the discretion for one simple reason:‘He didn't know what I knew.’"
Azi Paybarah (9/28/06)
Well, I'm not voting for Callahan. Not because he bluffed, but because he admitted it. Those who take smug satisfaction in bragging about winning a poker pot by bluffing never win another one. He clearly lacks the savvy to ferret out corruption and waste. Wonder who the Libertarians are running.
Normally, I'd lay off a target as easy as Jeanine Pirro, because joining a gangbang is just not my style. I'd rather do the iconoclastic and unexpected, like be the first Democrat to call for Alan Hevesi's head. However, that very iconoclasm often causes others to unfairly accuse me of closet Republican tendencies, so I guess I'll just have to slip on spiritual condom and partake in some sloppy seconds.
I'd been planning a Pirro piece for a long time, but given the beating I'd given Andrew Cuomo during the primary, I'd wanted to write it with enough care to credibly explain why a guy (1) I'd essentially accused of behaving like a mobster, and (2) who regarded the office as a consolation prize, should be Attorney General of the State of New York. Thank you, Jeanine Pirro, for saving me the trouble!
A place for those who want to send a message by voting for Alan Hevesi and Jeanine Pirro on the same line.