Monday, June 23, 2008



“I want Stephen Harrison in Washington with me, to fight for the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn,” said Senator Charles Schumer during an October 31 press conference. “He will not be a rubberstamp, rather he will truly represent his constituents’ interests, on everything from protecting our country to protecting the rights of working families." Van Hollen is opting for a rubber stamp-- courtesy of NY13 Blog

After three disastrous-- and expensive-- defeats in solidly Republican congressional districts in Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi, Tom Cole and John Boehner put their heads together and came up with a new way of nominating Republican candidates. It isn't all that new; in fact it's exactly what Stalin, Mao, and Kim Il-Sung used to chose their candidates for "elective" office. Because Boehner decided Republican primary voters couldn't be trusted to nominate winning candidates, he and other Party leaders would pick them instead. (Ironically, the DCCC's Chris Van Hollen, once viewed as a post-Rahm Emanuel reformer, quickly adopted the same techniques, at least in areas where he arrogantly thought Democrats would be too stupid to understand his sleazy actions: Arizona first CD, Alaska's only CD and NY-13, the Staten Island/Brooklyn district.)

And irony on irony, NY-13 is just where Boehner decided to try out his own Stalinist approach to nominating. After the Republican incumbent was arrested for drunk driving and found to have two wives and two families, Boehner forced him to agree to not seek re-election. Instead, Boehner offered the Republican nomination to Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan. Donovan and 3 or 4 other plausible candidates told Boehner it was looking like a bad year to be running as a Republican and that they'd have to pass. Then a Republican hot dog vendor said he would run and the whole local party went crazy. They quickly picked some millionaire self-funder, Francis Powers, who they knew would probably lose but who would at least pay for his own loss. Besides, his wife is the Treaurer of the Staten Island GOP. But the whole thing was complicated when the estranged son, also named as Francis Powers, declared he would run. Powers is in a punk rock band.

Meanwhile, Van Hollen, fresh from making an ass out of himself by endorsing a clueless insider nitwit in Arizona, jumped into the Staten Island mess and declared that the Democratic nominee would be conservative City Councilman Michael McMahon and decidedly not the progressive grassroots candidate Steve Harrison. In 2006 Harrison came closer to winning the district than any previous Democrat and it looked like this was the year he could win the seat for Democrats. As you see above, Schumer had already publicly endorsed him and declared he wouldn't be a "rubber stamp," which is very much what Michael McMahon will be and, in fact, is what attracted Party insiders to him.

A third irony in all this is that Van Hollen is actually something of a progressive himself having split from party bosses Hoyer and Emanuel on the war funding bill last Thursday and on the overriding of the Constitution to give their and Bush's big campaign contributors retroactive immunity for criminal activities on Friday. And, more to the point, when Van Hollen ran for Congress himself, the Insiders lined up against him and were pushing for his primary opponent. Van Hollen vowed-- with wiggle room-- to not run the DCCC like that anymore. Lately, he's opted for the wiggle room.

Anyway-- and this is nothing to laugh about so please do not-- Francis Powers (not the punk rocker, the other one) died Saturday and the NY Times, in an early edition (since removed) seemed to implicate Van Hollen.
Mr. Powers had been selected to run in the November election to succeed Mr. Fossella, who has held the seat since 1997 but who decided not to run for re-election after a personal scandal emerged. Mr. Fossella is the only Republican representing New York City in Congress.

National Democratic leaders have made it clear that they view winning the seat, which has been in Republican hands for 28 years, as a priority. Earlier this month, Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, visited New York to say his party would do "whatever is necessary to win this campaign."

The Times has now withdrawn that paragraph and is claiming that "Powers, who was 67, died in his sleep of natural causes, family members said. His death came less than a month after he became the Republican candidate after other potential candidates decided not to run."

We don't want to dwell on Mr. Powers death and we really do have a solution for the Staten Island Republicans. Why not just endorse, like their fellow Stalinists, McMahon? He had already gone to the Conservative Party seeking their nomination-- and impressing them with his pro-war stand-- so it isn't really that big of a stretch. That way, even if McMahon loses to the real Democrat in the primary, Steve Harrison, they will still have a shot to get another reactionary into the seat.

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At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the NY GOP can persuade Alan Keyes to relocate to Staten Island and run for the seat. Keyes already knows how to step into a race at the last minute, in an area of the country where he has no known roots - just ask the GOP in Illinois.

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe Chuck Schumer actually got it right. Maybe there is some good in him.


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