Gatemouth's blog

If All The People Cared, There Wouldn't Be Any Apathy

Let’s be clear from the start; this is not another piece making fun of Chris Owens; he just happened to start the discussion. Last week Owens, the self-proclaimed (and surely consensual) leader of Brooklynites who call themselves “progressive” stated that those who share his vision support “public policies that promote and establish equitable social [and] economic…outcomes for all Americans, including quality public education, affordable and accessible health care, and quality and affordable housing.” Although, for my own reasons, I don’t call myself a progressive, these goals are just fine with me; however, in seeking to implement those goals, Owens proposed, among other things, support for efforts to “maximize voter registration and voter turnout….regardless of an individual voter's profile”, to which I replied:

The Great White Hope

After running fourth in a field of four in a race for Congress with only 19% of the vote (despite having the support of, and same last name as, an incumbent Congressman with nearly a quarter century of service), Chris Owens decided to snatch dignity from the jaws of defeat by claiming credit (with some credibility) for the defeat of white candidate David Yassky. Having been handed a bunch of lemons, Owens decided to claim he was manufacturing lemonade, and it’s hard to disagree that this was better than squeezing sour grapes, even if it's still a matter of empty calories. So, it seemed petulant at that juncture to point out that, at the time Owens decided to stay in the race, it was far from apparent that his presence wouldn’t cost a stronger black candidate victory.

Why There Will Not Be An ANYONE but Hillary Movement

"Rev. Al Mulls White House bid" - Daily News, 11/23/06.

Gatemouth's Homepage was updated on 11/23/06; for more fun and laughter, visit here.

Cost Benefit Analysis

There are some things on which you can't put a price tag. It is too bad the future of our children ain't one of them.

Back on March 23, 2006, I posted my first piece on "Room 8", and said, in part:

"today's decision by the Appellate Division, 1st Department, in the CFE case, together with the impending attempts to convert Roe v. Wade into an empty shell, highlight the problems with "merit selection". Those who control the Executive Branch determine who has the "merit". The First Department's appointed Appellate Division largely consists of upstate Republican hacks imported from the vicintiy of the Cheese Museum. In many ways, the byproducts (AKA our local judicial bench) produced by our own local political culture (which is, at least, more liberal and more racially diverse) look far better in comparison."

Nolo Contendre

Yesterday, Ben Smith of Daily Politics asked,  “Who lost the State Senate?”, offering five alternative theories. The day before, it was Wayne Barrett who raised the same issue; but, I started complaining last spring.

 As I’ve stated before  (11/8/06), there is enough blame for everyone to enjoy a piece, with seconds for anyone who asks. I outlined Ben’s theory number #3 (Blame David Paterson) in all its gory details on May 10, 2006. Theory #4 (blame internal politics) is just a subset of #3; if Paterson had done what Spitzer had asked, and stepped down as leader early on, internal politics would have been resolved well before the election; instead the leading members of the Senate's Democratic Conference were so interested in becoming Minority Leader, they forgot about becoming Majority Leader. 

I outlined theory #2 (Blame the County Leaders) in my pre-election Voter’s Guide (11/6/06) and again after the election  (11/10/06), but in a way, its just a subset of  the usual Albany malaise (4/29/06). For their own reasons, the Assembly Democrats have little interest in a Democratic Senate; many County leaders are Assembly members, others depend upon the Assembly Democrats to provide them essential support. In Brooklyn, some local Dems are actually bragging about how their decision to prevent an opponent for Republican Senator Marty Golden allowed the Democrats to pick up one more Assembly seat, bringing Shelly Silver's veto proof majority up to a superfluous 108 out of 150.

Is Wayne Barrett Really Gatemouth?

A reader asks:

“I’ve just read this article by Wayne Barrett (11/14/06) in the Village Voice, and can’t help but notice that its points almost exactly echo those you made (11/10/06), here (11/8/06) and here (in the section on races for the State Senate) (11/6/06).

In addition, I can’t help noticing that both you and Barrett became writers because it was less difficult than giving up masturbation (Barrett is actually on record about this) and both of you have been accused of having difficulty restraining yourself from writing stories favorable to your personal friends.”

"The Dean’s November" and "The House of Murtha"

Every two year, I’ve looked forward to the time coming when a Democratic victory would put an end to the endless post-election game of finger-pointing and recriminations that came after our every defeat. So, I didn’t expect to be playng the same games after we'd won an unequivocal victory.

My complaint here does not apply to local finger-pointing and recriminations about the senseless loss of the opportunity to take away Serph Maltese’s State Senate seat; let’s form a firing squad in a circle and mete out justice to everyone responsible; but, on a national level, it seems a strange way to celebrate. Gingrich had “The Contract on America” (Freudian Slip intentional); Democrats take contracts out on each other.

In My Country There is Problem

They say that battles in academia are so nasty because so little is at stake; the same might be said of the Jewish vote. At 3% of the country and dropping, with Muslims eclipsing us for place number one in the list of non-Christian religious minorities, Jews are an important voting bloc in a few states, and a few Congressional districts. Moreover, even in those areas where Jews are a significant constituency, their votes have not necessarily been objects of great contention, mostly because the conclusion concerning their destination has often been forgone.

As a rule, the real Jewish primary is fought in "The Green Party". Jewish political power is at its most potent when Jews vote with their wallets. While both parties benefit, especially from those who view politics as transactional and money as coming in  categories “A” and “B” (despite Tom Delay’s noble efforts to eliminate from politics the nefarious influence of “B” money), “Jewish Money” is for Republicans mostly ice cream on the cake (although these folks are junkies for their sweets), while for the Democrats, it’s three courses, drinks, desert and a midnight snack.

Joe Crowley, Meet Gordon Gekko

Unexpected victories delight everyone. Back in 1984, Senate Minority Leader Fred Ohrenstein decided to diss a local County legislator running for Senate in Syracuse after she’d been dissed by one of her own references, the local County Leader. Waking up election morning, Fred’s Chief of Staff found out she’d won and immediately told all who would listen of his brilliant strategic decision not to draw attention to the race and thereby draw to it Republican resources he couldn’t hope to overcome. The new Senator was Nancy Larraine Hoffman, soon known in both Albany and Syracuse as "The Tail of Two Cities" (and later as "The Tail of Two Parties", a title apparently acquired even before she switched to become a Republican).  

The Menace of Buttered Toast (Apologies to Robert Benchley)

 One way or another, Alan Hevesi is toast. The smart move for New York voters is to vote for him, so that on his reelection, he can be replaced by a first-rate candidate, such as City Comptroller Bill Thompson, former State Comptroller candidate Bill Mulrow, Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell or Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.” 


The Green Party consistently nominates really interesting eccentrics for Governor (Malachy McCourt won my heart when he did a one man show as George Washington Plunkett; Stanley Aronowitz is married to the World's Greatest Left Wing Writer; Al Lewis was Grandpa and, perhaps more importantly, Leo Schnauzer)”

Gatemouth 11/6/06

I’m going to have to stop invoking the names of my inspirations as a writer. One too many of my citations to Michael Kinsley's genius immediately preceded the announcement that he required brain surgery. Then, on August 30, in response to the news that Congressional candidate Chris Owens recorded an anti-war song, I listened to the supernal piece of crap and then wrote a review of it in the style of my favorite rock-crit, Robert Christgau (also a pretty fair political pundit in his own right). On September 1, Christgau was fired from his position as Music Editor of the Village Voice.

Why Won’t Our Local Papers Print the Election Results? (Corrected Version)

The Times does an entire section today on the Elections, complete with a State by State summary? But where are the results for our state legislature or local judgships?

But, The Times, after all, is the National Paper of Record, so surely they can't be bothered. But, the Post and Sun are similarly bereft, while the News contains only a list of City's legislative winners with their winning percentage, but no names of opponents, or vote totals. Newsday also had limited information. If only Brittany had been a candidate!

Finally, I looked on New York One. No help for races over the City line (as if who won legislative seats outside the City of New York had any impact upon our lives). But, at least it had all the City races, including judgships; and they proved quite illuminating.

“We Tease Him a Lot, But He’s Got Us On the Spot, Welcome Back" (Apologies to John Sebastian and the Sweat H-gs)

So which US Senate Democrat is rooting hardest for the Democratic victories to hold up in the Virginia and Montana Senate races? Harry Reid? Chuck Schumer? Ted Kennedy?

No. Of course not. It’s Joe Lieberman.

With the victories in Montana and Virginia, independently elected Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman become the Senate Democratic Caucus’ 50th and 51st members. But, Socialist Sanders has no place else to go; and why would he want to go any place else? The Democrats rolled out the welcome wagon to help facilitate his election.

On the other hand, there are those in the Democratic Party establishment against whom Joe Lieberman might be bearing a grudge. And, no matter which schul he chooses to join, Joe makes the minyon. All on his own he is a majority of one.

Missed Opportunity

State Senate - District 11 - 232 of 233 Precincts Reporting

 Maltese, Serphin (i)GOP17,12251.17
 Baldeo, AlbertDem16,33948.83

  “By rights, with a ticket headed by Spitzer…running against “…the latest Albany revolving door bagman (followed on the ballot by a Senate race between Hillary and …“Mr. Lost His Condom in Yonkers” …), this should be a banner year for Senate Democrats, but they’ve had trouble even fielding place-holder candidates in marginal districts. “ 

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