Of Spitzer, Faso, Hevesi, Pirro, Gay Marriage, Gatemouth, Wonk and Cheap Shots.
Right here on Room Eight- over a month ago (9/28/06) - I proffered that John Faso was absolutely correct in calling for Alan Hevesi’s resignation as State Comptroller (see my column “Faso/Spitzer”). I also felt that up to that point in time Eliot Spitzer had downplayed the seriousness of Hevesi’s actions. I proffered that Hevesi had lost his credibility and had abused the public trust. I stated flatly that I couldn’t vote for him. I even went further to state that he was unfit to hold this office. I also said that Spitzer should be moving “to establish and uphold higher standards of ethics, decency and behavior” (observe that I never used the word ‘morality’ here) for public officials. That was over a month ago.
Well Spitzer has finally moved. He has withdrawn his endorsement of Hevesi. The obvious question is: what took him so long? Well, anyway he did it (with all deliberate haste), but he did it nonetheless. That’s good. His timing pushed the envelope, but he made it under the wire.
So today, I could do like one of the resident bloggers here (Gatemouth) and toot my horn, since suddenly near everyone has come around to my position. Gatemouth of course had stated that he wasn’t endorsing Hevesi; as if that would suffice, given the magnitude of Havesi’s transgressions. The big mouthed Gate himself, was willing to stand there looking at a gaping wound (bleeding profusely in fact), willing to only apply a band-aid to it. I am sure that a first grade student knows the difference between someone calling for another’s resignation, as compared to someone refusing to endorse another. What a joke! But then Gatemouth is usually an apologist for those in power anyway. We have seen this over and over and again right here on Room Eight.
Last week the illustrious “Gatemouth” wrote a column entitled “An endorsement for Comptroller”, and before he had finished one paragraph he took some cheap shots at me. This is nothing new. You see, when I first started blogging seriously in New York City, I used my full name on “The Politicker”; almost immediately Gatemouth jumped on me as having committed candidate fraud in the past. He had recognized me from my having run for office in Brooklyn a few times. I was stunned at his accusation (a possible honest mix up), which he offered with arrogant certainty. Despite my protestations, despite my explanations, despite also a reporter from the Daily News (I think it was Bob Liff), coming in to clarify for him that he was wrong; Gatemouth has never apologized to this day. After this, he would constantly go after me in the comments section. He seemed to perpetually attack my friendship with Charles Barron- who he despises- no matter how many times I have shown that I am my own man, and nobody’s flunky. Then he went after my educational accomplishments; after that, my professional and political experience; then my community involvement; it was only after I defended myself on all of these that he started coming at my positions on some of the issues in vogue(which is fair game). Because of him and some of his groupies on the blogs, I found myself constantly on the defensive. For a while I honestly thought that it was a race thing, and that I was (to them) too opinionated and audacious for a black man. I have wondered why he and some of his sycophants keep taking these pot shots at me; and now I know.
Firstly, I don’t see blogging as some kind of competitive sport. That’s absurd, really; but Gatemouth does. So when he says that I am obviously less driven than he, “by rigid standards of ideology (later/ morality)”, I am at a loss for words. I hardly ever interject the word “morality” into my arguments (although I do imply it a lot), since to a large extent I am close to the Marxian position, that in many situations “morality is historically contingent”. I have never equated “morality” with the few nuggets that I have exposed, in my position on gay-marriage. I definitely don’t compete with anyone, over the question of who is more ideologically or morally rigid. That is so childish. But so is Gate; childish and petty when he should be more mature and circumspect.
I have really tried to be civil, gracious and friendly towards Gatemouth. Truly. I respect his writing abilities- even though at times he is somewhat confusing, long-winded ( but then so am I at times / I am sure), inane, redundant and pompous. I admire his knowledge of NYC’s political history-even though he sometimes gets his facts wrong (like we all do at times/ I am sure); and I definitely agree with some of his positions on some issues. But that’s neither here nor there; the fact remains that his cheap shots are just that: cheap. And Gatemouth is a cheap shot artist. I remember a couple years aback when he said that Maurice Gumbs was a nut; then a wacko; later still he said that Gumbs was a lunatic. I have lived to see him change his tune and acknowledge that Gumbs was a pioneer, and a needed voice in Brooklyn’s cesspool that we call politics. I thought there was hope for Gate. Really. I did.
When Gatemouth and Wonk attack my endorsement of Jeanine Pirro, it’s not because they disagree that Cuomo is less qualified than Pirro for the job. In fact, they don’t even dispute that Pirro is overwhelmingly more qualified (and experienced) for the job. One of them even admitted this in a thread here. They are just angry at Pirro’s stance on gay-marriage (she is against it). And therein lies the crux of the matter. On these blogs in NYC, if you don’t support gay-marriage you are deemed politically incorrect; and as such you run into problems. It’s not about discourse; it’s about intimidation and constant harassment. That’s shameful. But then that’s no different from those who purport to be “pro-choice” (abortion). It’s as though one is not allowed an opposing view on certain issues. I am for “limited choices” (my term), and I couldn’t even begin to try to explicate my views on any of these blogs in NYC, without facing ridicule. So much for free speech; and that’s why I don’t go many places in these columns. My writings are limited, constricted and restricted.
I detailed in my “Pirro” column, the reasons why I endorsed Jeanine. One of the main reasons was that I am tired of white-male domination in various aspects of politics. It’s time for power-sharing, inclusion and input in decision-making from non-whites and white females, on all levels of government and in all branches of government (see my column on the US Supreme Court). We have never had a female Attorney General. I feel it’s time to make history. Even with the recent disclosures about her “bugging” conspiracies (which were troubling I must admit), we have yet to uncover a law that she has broken (for certain). There is speculation on both sides of that.
Then there is Andrew Cuomo himself. His very public handling of his marital woes doesn’t really endear him to me. How different are his marital issues when compared to Pirro’s? It seems only slightly better to me. Everyone knows that Jeanine‘s husband is an asshole. Andrew’s wife (or ex) isn’t that for sure. So what’s his excuse? And what about Andrew and his speaking fees received from entities that did business with HUD? What has he really done to deserve this job? Look, he is probably going to win the race, but for Gatemouth to insinuate some kind of moral deficiency in me because I endorsed Pirro, is nothing but another cheap shot.
Anyone can look at my record on Room Eight; I am probably the most consistent blogger here when calling for accountability from electeds. I have taken stands and positions against corrupt, unethical and inept officials, when others here gave out pass cards. I have called over and over again for a higher standard of ethics and behavior from electeds. When I took the position I did on Yvette Clarke (8-25-06/degree), not one blogger here supported me on that stand. I took a beating in some pockets of the Caribbean-American community when I said that she should withdraw from the race. When Cynthia McKinney fucked up, I was first to expose her sense of entitlement-an affliction that most electeds suffer. I have hammered Roger Green, Clarence Norman and Angel Rodriguez- to name a few- for their past indiscretions, indulgences and extravagances. Likewise Diane Gordon; in fact I went further as it related to her. I put my money where my mouth was: I spent weeks in the district trying to unseat her; working long days and nights in this regard.
For Gatemouth (and probably to a lesser extent “EnWhySeeWonk”), blogging is simply an intellectual exercise. To them it’s mental masturbation aiming to achieve some kind of cerebral orgasm. They don’t go into the trenches half as much as they should. There are few prices to pay for their position-takes. For me it’s different. When I blog I usually pay a high price. Some of the electeds that I critique are people I know personally. Others have staffers who serve with me on boards and on various executives. Others hold similar membership with me in various organizations. With others, I have friends and relatives in common. This isn’t easy for me. Still, I try to stay consistent; I try to stay principled-despite tremendous pressure not to rock the boat.
Over the years I have faced the ostracism, victimization, intimidation, scorn, ridicule, threats and such. I have been isolated and alienated at times. What do you expect for someone who has publicly stated that we need to clean house amongst black electeds in Brooklyn? And I have said this for ages. What do you expect for someone who has given aid, advice and comfort to challengers of the political status quo, over and over and again? When I ran for public office I got little support. What a surprise! Quel dommage!
A few months ago I was up for a political position in Brooklyn; it was a job I wanted to do. I lost out because the decision makers felt that my selection would have been upsetting to too many electeds. They had sounded out my selection beforehand. So you see Mr. Gatemouth, this is no game for me.
Getting back to the Hevesi issue for a minute: despite all his accomplishments in the political arena, the private sector and also in academia, Alan Hevesi comes out of this looking real bad. His actions reek of old-fashioned greed, mixed with cynicism and nihilism; it is also sprinkled with a healthy dose of self-entitlement. There is no excuse for a reputed millionaire- whose annual income is supposedly around half a million dollars- to do what he did. He could have easily afforded to hire some one privately to deal with his spousal concerns. Within a week of my aforementioned article, a friend of mine who works in the comptroller’s office, asked me why I was coming down so hard on his boss; I had to tell him it was nothing personal, that it was strictly about standards. If we don’t hold electeds to the highest standards, then very soon we will be come a nation akin to Nigeria, where corruption is the order of the day.
Today, I have to endorse Hevesi’s republican opponent for this race. I am doing this not because I think that Chris Callaghan is “all that”, but because he happens to be in the right place at the right time; that’s all. Sometimes success in life comes about because of this; and Chris Callaghan sure wrote the book on “serendipity”. He needs to play the lotto real soon.
In the past, I have said little on “gay-marriage” beyond the fact that at this point in my development, I am opposed to it. I have said that marriage is already defined: a man marries a woman and vice versa. This is traditional and historical. To me marriage was spawned in theology and nurtured in common-law. I have even said that gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgendered people have every right to agitate for the change they want to that definition. Just as those who disagree have every right to push back. I have asked to be enlightened as to when did “marriage” (of any kind) become a “right” that is somehow being denied a group of people. Even the New Jersey State Supreme Court couldn’t find this “fundamental right” in their monumental and historic decision on the issue, just this past week. I have refused to be drawn into a fire fight; I haven’t even exposed my main arguments on this issue. But my position on this issue has been enough for Gatemouth and Wonk to want to silence me; thus the cheap shots.
When Wonk went after me for stating the obvious, in an article I wrote earlier this summer on Leroy Comrie (which made mention of Speaker Quinn’s sexual preference), his sidekick Gatemouth injected himself into the brouhaha. He said that he understood Wonk’s beef with me. Fine. I asked him to explain this beef, he declined. I asked again- when Wonk went after me on another thread- he still refused to explain this supposed beef. Fine. Then he writes this article and after taking his cheap shots at me, he tells Wonk that he (Wonk) owes him a dinner. So friggin childish. I tried to steer Gate (and anyone interested) to the threads which would have exposed Wonk’s lies and intellectual dishonesty, but to no avail. There’s a gay-clique on these blogs that doesn’t brook any kind of disagreement on issues they consider “gay”. They are totalitarian in their projections. This is so unfortunate.
People’s sexual preferences and choices are just that: people’s sexual preferences and choices. I don’t care who sleeps with whom; it’s really not my business. I do care that hopefully everyone has a bed to sleep in when the night (or daylight) comes. Since 1980 I have lost over two dozen friends to the AIDS epidemic; most of them were gay. In 1986/87, I remember myself having to help clean up the vomit and faeces of a gay friend dying from this disease (twice). I did this unflinchingly because I try to be a loving, caring and compassionate person. That was about being humane. Gay–marriage is about your world-view. It’s about the way you see things. Something as profound as redefining traditional marriage needs to be debated fully; a change of this magnitude can’t be forced down straight people’s throats (no pun intended); otherwise they will be turned off instead of being sympathetic and understanding. It is always easier to catch flies using honey than say vinegar. Think about this you two.
There are times when I really don’t mind the discourse, in fact it is sometimes very edifying; but I do hate the cheap shots. Cheap shots are just that: cheap. So cease and desist, I am in deep enough.