THE COLUMN OF THE YEAR FOR BROOKLYN POLITICS
Primary elections for federal offices were held in Brooklyn last week: no big thing. Turnout was tepid as usual. Nothing new; just more blue(s). The regular political hustlers made a couple dollars hassling voters outside polling sites; and that’s always entertaining. A few consultants made an early-vacation exit with smiling faces and bulging pockets: and that too is always entertaining (and expected). Winners told jokes heartily; and losers -along with their supporters- used expletives at random.
At “Sistaz Place” on Nostrand Avenue -the unofficial headquarters of the Charles Barron congressional campaign-Barron personally refused to congratulate Hakeem Jeffries on a lopsided victory that night. Look; this is what one of the local newspapers said; so don’t jump me if it’s an exaggeration. Barron’s election-loss was his second in a row; and the fourth of his last six runs. (He did do an unsuccessful “write-in” campaign for Congress in November of 2006 -after losing the primary that September).
As to the primary: it was “same old same old”. Maya Angelou once told us -when she hipped us to the streets- in one of her many brilliant poems:”nothing shaking Jim; nothing shaking”. You can quote Maya relative to all that went down last Tuesday.
And now it’s the day after the tomorrow: so-called pundits still continue to wax eloquently while saying nothing. Political crack-heads are already contemplating the next election. And Gatemouth will soon be crunching the post-election turnout numbers, for an unappreciative blog-audience: unwilling to give him his rightful dues as one of the better writers covering NY politics.
So what do I do?
I decided at 4:00a.m this morning to nominate my last column for an award: “The column of the year award for covering Brooklyn politics”.
You see, after seven years on the local blogs; after almost five hundred columns trying to edify voters (especially those in Brooklyn) with TRUTHS as best as I can find and disseminate them; after countless attacks from nameless, faceless, non-intellectual cowards; after being castigated, ridiculed and blacklisted; I am finding politics boring for the first time in my life. Thus I haven’t written a column in more than five weeks. This is the longest I have stayed away in seven years here. So to counteract my boredom, I chose to re-read some recent columns. Here is what I found: this column.
Now remember two things while you are reading this column; one is that the results were 73%-27% for Jeffries: Barron lost by practically three to one. The other is that this column was written almost six weeks before the election. I could have gone into an even deeper analysis as to why this result was inevitable, but I deliberately chose not to. For example: Hakeem Jeffries was going to outspend Charles Barron by at least a dozen to one in terms of dollars. Anyone worthy of political salt in Brooklyn knew this. And also, for every union which lined up to support Barron, there were going to be a dozen lining up behind Jeffries. Again; anyone worth his or her salt in Brooklyn politics knew this. Then there was the Vito Lopez factor. The King’s County leader of the Democrats hardly ever loses big races folks. He probably bats way up in the ninety percentile on such contests. Plus there were so many other factors pointing to a Jeffries romp that the race was really boring. Well; at least until the white folks in media spooked themselves unnecessarily.
It’s easy to go on radio or television and prognosticate about Brooklyn’s politics; but the truth is there are only a handful of folks out here who really know the 411. Keep that in mind next time around, when you see folks on NY1 and other local media outlets spewing bullshit for your consumption.
Here is the column. Enjoy it while considering this: someone e-mailed me to say it was the worst column I had ever written (LOL):
CHARLES BARRON v. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: NOT MUCH OF A CONTEST; IS IT? (Published on 05-22-2012)
I really didn’t want to touch this race; however, some of my advisors convinced me to say something about it or be branded a chicken/lol.
You see near every time I write something about Charles Barron I get these strange (and often inane) calls or e-mails, from different folks with different strokes. And it doesn’t matter if I write something critical or something positive. They are out there and they are watching.
When I said his wife (Inez) was better qualified than Kathy Black to be school’s chancellor; I didn’t get a peep from the Barron sycophants; similarly when I devoted two columns commending him on his symbolic protest vote(s) against a particular Bloomberg budget. How come? And it has been like this for years: whatever I write relative to “Chucky-Bee” is under the microscope. So be it.
For some time now I haven’t even mentioned him since I have said enough on the subject. I have a writing-archive full of Barron treasures. And there sure are some gems: for sure. Charles Barron remains (to me) the most disappointing black elected official New York City has ever seen: the one elected who singularly squandered away his enormous talent and potential in deliberate fashion. The reason(s) still escape me; it’s that puzzling. (Even now I think the brother still has potential to be a substantial leader; but he will have to make major changes; major adjustments in his attitude, demeanor and tactics).
In this upcoming race for the formerly tenth congressional district (now numbered eight), I have already endorsed Hakeem Jeffries. I did it when the present congressman (Ed Towns) was still in the race and that surely isn’t changing today. It gets me nothing; and it will probably cause me some loss. Hakeem is by far the better choice right now. Seven or eight years ago I wouldn’t have told you this: but many things have changed since then. (Charles Barron blew his chances for standard political advancement long ago. It will take him a long time to recoup).
While I am at this, let me personally and publicly thank Ed for his many years of public service, and for his pleasant sense of humor -which I always enjoyed. He did the right thing stepping out the race. Sometimes you just have to make way for the young(er) folks.
Now, if only Congressman Charlie Rangel could get the same memo Ed Towns got? Charles Rangel is like an amiable old relative who came to your house for Thanksgiving dinner (only), and is still there Memorial Day weekend: much to your chagrin.
Let me cut to the chase: come next month Hakeem Jeffries will be the new congressman. It wouldn’t even be a close election. I don’t even want to elaborate on this: that’s how much I feel about the race. Stick a fork in Charles: he is done; but I am glad he is running though- and that’s another story/lol.
In the new configuration, this district has almost thirty per cent whites. On Election Day that number will be about forty per cent (or higher) of the turnout. Do I really have to explain why I am finding this race boring? The white-vote alone will destroy Barron’s hopes for getting to play on the CSPAN House-stage.
What is painful to me are the things this campaign hasn’t brought out. Where are the big ideas for creative public policy? Where is the display of imaginative political thinking (Mugabe and Chavez at a candidate-announcement rally/geeze)? Where are the intellectual constructs that could illuminate our way to better government? Where are innovative ideas for dealing with a changing global economic order? Where are the simple notions demonstrating even a basic understanding of contemporary economics (capitalist or other)? Where is the articulation for efficiency in the public sector and fairness in the private sector? Where is the urgency needed for dealing with the metastasizing black community? Where are the verbal prescriptions for dealing with the many environmental, societal, economic, political and cultural ills: commonplace in contemporary USA
And I can go on, and on, and on, and on: like the Energizer bunny in heat; or like a teenager’s penis on Viagra; but it wouldn’t change a thing.
This has been the minstrel-show variety of a political campaign. And I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised. We were prepped for this; no? After all: life is a stage. Or is it always for certain people?
The question becomes this: why do some of us advance ourselves for public office? Is it because we are intellectually and morally equipped to understand and face the challenges presented; or is it for reasons of ego, glamour, media-clamor and glory? You shouldn’t seek public office if you refuse to think honestly and objectively. And that should go for any and everyone.
Look; I am not sure you are catching my drift here. Needless to say, I have run the risk of being condemned for the things I write: as per usual. C’est la vie!
Here we have two relatively talented individuals. One is militantly-aggressive but toxic; the other is a little too passive. In their own right they are both well-meant. One has left his potential in anachronistic jargon; the other is yet to realize his full potential. One has lost his way; the other is still searching. You can decipher this can’t you?
Stay tuned-in folks; and bet the rent on a Hakeem Jeffries victory.
(Now tell me this isn’t the column of the year? Let’s hear what Gatemouth has to say.)