Tag Archives: New York City

So What Did We Learn From Tuesday’s Election?

Despite the relatively small number of electoral contests, media pundits of every shape and size are trying to come up with the elusive answer to what it means. Many of them are just blowing smoke. However, there ought to be some lessons learned by politicians of every party and ideology. Many of those lessons won’t be trumpeted by the mainstream media, who will be so busy writing President Barack Obama’s political obituary they can’t see the forest for the trees.

The President did make some mistakes for sure.

He spent a great deal of political capital on two uninspiring Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Jon Corzine and Creigh Deeds. The Obama magic didn’t work. Young people and people of color simply didn’t turn out in Virginia or New Jersey, and both crashed to defeat. The President could have spent just a little time in New York City trying to elect Comptroller William Thompson as mayor. His little shout out of an endorsement didn’t even fool Thompson, yet he ran closer to Mayor Michael Bloomberg than anyone expected. Thompson also suffered from a lackluster campaign, but more importantly from a stunning lack of support from unions that ordinarily would back any Democratic candidate.

While the Mayor of New York City won a third term he engineered for himself, the NY-23 race in upstate New York turned out to be a Waterloo for the conservative, birther, tea party wing of the GOP. They threw endorsements around like Frisbees, falling all over each other to sing the praises of Doug Hoffman, the true conservative who vanquished Marxist Republican Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out before a vote was even cast.

And what did Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachman, Fred Thompson, and Rush Limbaugh (did I forget anybody?) get for all their hot air? They elected a Democrat, Bill Owens, the first Democrat to hold the seat in over 100 years. Watch a Democrat win, watch the right wing spin. some of them want people to believe Hoffman’s defeat was actually a victory for them. Witness the writing of Erick  Erickson of the conservative RedState.com. “This is a huge win for conservatives…the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives.” Right, okay. Next?

And finally, there was the district that media forgot, California’s 10th. Like NY-23, there was a special election because the sitting congressperson, Ellen Tauscher, took a post in the Obama Administration. Rep. Tauscher, it should be noted, was part of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party in the House. So who won her seat? Democrat John Garamendi, who couldn’t be more different. He supports the public option, but really wants to see single payer healthcare for all Americans. He also wants US troops out of Afghanistan ASAP. He beat his Republican challenger by 10 points.

So why is nobody outside of California talking about him, and what he means to the national agenda? You tell me.

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Is This a Strange Election Season, or What?

Some notes from Election Season 2009 (in no particular order). President Barack Obama is acting like Tuesday’s gubernatorial election results in Virginia and New Jersey are some type of litmus test for his presidency. Maybe he’s been reading too many desperate newspapers, reading election polls, and watching too many cable talk shows.

President Barack Obama and NJ Governor John Corzine
President Barack Obama and NJ Governor John Corzine

He’s stumped for John Corzine in Jersey and Creigh Deeds in Virginia as if his life depended on it. Published reports say even the widest eyed optimist has given up the ghost for election results in Virginia. Deeds’ opponent, Bob McDonnell, has a double digit lead.

The New Jersey race has been too close to call heading into the home stretch. What makes election coverage of the Garden State race interesting is that in addition to the incumbent Corzine and challenger Chris Christie, there’s a third candidate, Chris Daggett, who could play spoiler.

U.S. Attorney Chris Christie
U.S. Attorney Chris Christie

That possibility led to the most bizarre event in the race so far. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani injected himself into the race, supporting Christie and calling on Daggett to drop out. Daggett told Rudy to butt out of Jersey politics, but it’s interesting to hear the once and future candidate for something (anything!) telling another to follow his example (remember Rudy 2008?), and just give up.

Of course, one could question whether people in New Jersey have any interest at all in what’s going on in Virginia, and vice versa. That would tend to downplay the referendum on Obama theory, except the president seems to be keeping it alive. Oh well…..

The election update across the river in New York City, we’ve got a mayoral race where the incumbent is spending the mind boggling sum of $35,000 bucks an hour trying to win a third term. Mike Bloomberg may well do that, but he’ll forever be dogged by accusations he ignored the public will to run for a third term.

NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg
NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg

His opponent, Bill Thompson, is trailing in the polls by double digits. He also has the distinction of receiving a shout out from President Obama, angrily denying it constituted an endorsement, then running commercials saying he’s been endorsed by….President Obama!

NY City Comptroller, William Thompson
NY City Comptroller, William Thompson

And finally, there’s NY-23, which we wrote about in a previous blog. Much has happened since then. The Republican nominee for that congressional seat, Dede Scozzafava, Abruptly dropped out of the race over the weekend. Then she turned around and backed the Democrat in the race, Bill Owens. The conservative darling in the race, Doug Hoffman, has set off an endorsement frenzy, with every conservative this side of the late William Buckley falling over themselves to back him. They’re calling this a battle for the soul of the GOP.

If that’s the case, it’s a fight over slim pickings indeed.

I for one will be glad when this election cycle is over late Tuesday night. How about you?

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World Trade Center. Were we told the truth about 911?

It’s been eight years since America experienced its most traumatic event, the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks. The more than 3000 people who lost their lives that day haven’t been forgotten, nor should they ever be. There are still those, however, who question whether the American people were told the whole truth about what happened that terrible day.

bush_911nypost

Some, but certainly not all of those who question the “official” version of 9-11 can be characterized as conspiracy theorists. That is, people who see the hand of the US government playing some undefined yet malevolent role in the attacks. I’ve talked to some of them, and in their own way they are as strident in their belief as the birthers, the town hall screamers, and the tea party participants.

They aren’t, however, all those who think there’s more to 9-11 than we’ve been told. They may not even be the majority. Here in New York City, 80,000 signatures have been gathered to demand a thorough, non government sponsored investigation of the attacks. While this may only be an indicator of how little some folks trust their own government, it shouldn’t be written off as some lunatic fringe either.

911.Attack.Plane

There are questions, both technical and political, that have yet to answered about 9-11, and this country’s response to it. Listing them all here would take up too much time and space. The real question is whether they deserve to be probed and  answered?

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