Yvette Clarke & Charles Barron, New Brooklyn Stars
Yvette Clarke’s Congressional victory was definitely remarkable. After stumbling badly, she refused to surrender, and fought back to a well-deserved win. I was impressed by her gutsy performance on New York One coming immediately after the revelation that she had “forgotten” whether she graduated from college. The new Congresswoman showed no defensiveness, virtually dominating the show, and intimidating the three men.
This is an articulate, smart and quick woman who will do well in Congress. Hopefully, her mother’s flaws are not genetic. I cannot forget Una’s betrayal of her mentor and sponsor, Major Owens, her kissing up to Rudy Giuliani and her switch from Democrat to become a servant of Geroge Pataki when it served her financial interest.
The former Councilwoman was also caught in lies and deceit on several occasions. Una was exclusively interested in her own self-empowerment and showed no interest in political education or political empowerment within the Caribbean-American community. As a result, Clarence Norman proceeded to exclude Caribbean-Americans completely from even minor political positions.
Yvette, born in America, of immigrant parents is now in a position to form a broad-based coalition that brings together all American citizens in her district, and not just Black citizens born in America. This was the dream of insurgents who ran and lost but paved the road for Una’s success and now for the new Congresswoman. And hopefully Yvette will recognize it.
Ms Clarke's vacated Council seat provides the first test. The string of Clarence Norman appointments which includes people like Carl Andrews, Musa Moore, Karim Camara and others should now be broken. Yvette has the skills and comes at a time when she could be as great as Shirley Chisolm. And who knows, even greater. After all, unlike Shirley Chisolm, Yvette was born in America.
And incidentally, since they declined to support her (I believe) Yvette now has no obligation to give the Hasidic community preference above the rest of her constituents..
And she should not be tempted into it. This provides the opportunity for the kind of equal treatment which will eliminate the hostility caused by favoritism.
Councilman Charles Barron, despite his loss, scored an outstanding victory by coming close in his Congressional contest against the incumbent Ed Towns. Congressman Towns had maybe 7 times as much money as Barron, and in addition had the endorsement of the Clintons, Spitzer, Hevesi, and Sharpton.
If Ed was thinking of stepping down in mid-term to give son Darryl his seat, that idea has now been shelved. And if Charles avoids intemperate language and holds his coalition together, he romps in a mid-term election. Besides, now that he has shown his ability to be competitive with the incumbent on just a handful of dollars, Charles will definitely attract serious contributions from donors. And if that starts happening, the Congressman may even decide to retire. No elected official wants to be defeated after a quarter of a century in office.
One of the peculiar things was a sudden spurt of activity from Roger Green during the last few days of the election. Roger, who certainly knew that he was not in the running, had people putting up his posters in the areas where Barron was strongest. The act seemed determined to take away votes from Charles. Charles still would not have won, but he might have narrowed his loss to much less. Roger had no money to spend. So it would be interesting to find out who paid Roger to take away votes from Charles Barron.
Finally, once more, Charles Barron showed his integrity by refusing to carry an indicted elected official on his palm cards. He did it in 2004 when he was the only elected official to support a challenge to Clarence Norman. And he did it again this year. On the other hand Ed Towns broke his promise and carried Assemblywoman Diane Gordon on his official “Paid For By Ed Towns” palm cards. I must remember to send Charles that check that I promised him. And I would encourage others to do the same. Look for the address in Chapter 2.