Friday, March 29, 2019

Staten Island Blue Dog Max Rose, Who Opposes Medicare-For-All And The Green New Deal, Gets Lucky


Another colorful lesser of 2 evils race shaping up in NY: Rose v Grimm?

There's a subway stop on the corner of Kings Highway and East 17th Street in Brooklyn, a few feet from the famous Dubrow's Cafeteria where JFK came for a rally in 1960. Back then that area around Dubrow's was the heart of Brooklyn's liberal Jewish bastion. The nearest high school was James Madison which graduated Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer-- and me. I didn't see any of them at Dubrow's the evening JFK was there, but my mother brought me to see the next president. A policeman on horseback accidentally stepped on my foot and I was carried into the cafeteria-- which was reserved for the local politicos and donors-- and Kennedy came over to me and offered my mother and I some solace for my wound. A few months later he defeated Vice President Richard Nixon-- massively so in that part of south Brooklyn.

That area is the furthest corner of NY-11, the "Staten Island district," currently represented by Blue Dog freshman Max Rose. The actual furthest corner of the district is Avenue P and East 17th street, 3 doors down from what was then my family's house. The congressional district itself is the most heavily-Italian district in America. But the eastern part of the Brooklyn section is still predominantly Jewish, although no longer liberal Jewish. They've all moved and the neighborhoods are filled with right-wing Russian immigrants; huge Trump supporters. The precincts that had traditionally given liberal Democrats immense margins turned out to give Trump his biggest wins in New York City. It broke my heart.

NY-11 itself, was the only New York City congressional district that Trump won-- beating Hillary 53.6% to 43.8%, a shanda. 4 years earlier, Obama had beaten Romney there, 51.6% to 47.3%. The PVI is R+3 and it's a pretty classic swing district. In the last few years there have been two Republican congressmen-- Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm and Dan Donovan-- and two Democratic congressmen-- Mike McMahon and now Max Rose. Rose flipped the district after a bruising GOP primary in which Grimm, straight out of prison-- and all Trumpified and with Bannon's blessing-- tried unsuccessfully to displace Donovan. In the general, Donovan was a dead man walking and Rose eviscerated him in the Brooklyn third of the district and even beat him, albeit narrowly, in the Staten Island bulk of the district. It was a 101,823 (53.0%) to 89,441 (46.6%) Democratic win.

But it's still a Republican-leaning district where Trump has a big following and Rose is definitely at the top of the GOP list of Democrat-held seats they hope to flip. The NRCC and the Republican establishment in general has rallied around popular state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who ran for mayor of NYC in 2017. Although she only took a minuscule 27.6% of the vote citywide, her win against Bill de Blasio in Staten Island was massive: 70,125 (70.6%) to 25,466 (25.6%).

She seems like the perfect candidate for the GOP to take on Rose. But that clashes with Mikey Suits' career plans. There's been a buzz on Staten Island for months that Grimm was thinking about running again but yesterday Laura Barrón-López broke the news for Politico readers: The former GOP congressman and tax felon says he's "90% of the way there to run" against freshman Max Rose on Staten Island. The Mafia congressman "is trying," she wrote, "to come back from the dead-- again." She interviewed him and he told her "he’s very close to launching the second bid for his old seat in as many years... Grimm says the shadow cast by his felony guilty plea is no longer a factor. He’s spoken to multiple people at the National Republican Congressional Committee, Grimm said, and he's in the process of setting up a meeting for an upcoming trip to Washington. 'The cloud is gone. It’s over; it’s in the past,' he said. 'I’ve had a lot of colleagues call me and tell me they’d love to have me back.'" (Another GOP criminal congressman, wanted to have his backside; I remember that.)
The move by the scandal-tainted tough guy, who once threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony, could jeopardize Republicans’ chances in a district key to the party’s hopes of recapturing the House in 2020.

...The one-time FBI agent said he was railroaded by his political enemies-- “They don’t want rising Republican stars in New York City,” he said-- when he was sentenced to less than a year in prison. And Grimm’s opponents all happen to have one thing in common: They’re President Donald Trump’s enemies, too.

“Who signed off on my indictment? James Comey,” Grimm, stirring his tea at the Z-One Diner here, said of the former FBI director whom Trump fired. “It’s the same exact players and the same exact playbook.”

He compared his felony charges for tax evasion to the “witch hunt” Russia investigation carried out by special counsel Robert Mueller, Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. But there are obvious differences: Grimm pleaded guilty to concealing more than $900,000 in gross income and admitted failing to report hiring busboys “off the books” when he owned a Manhattan restaurant, Healthalicious.

...In what could be a sign of the battle to come, Grimm and Rose are already attacking each other gleefully more than a year before the start of the general election.

Grimm took issue with Rose boasting about passage of legislation that allows construction and maintenance of a seawall along the east shore of Staten Island. He said he’s the one who got the plan and the funding for the wall approved. What Rose passed was equivalent to pulling a permit, said Grimm.

“If [Rose] was a gentleman, and he wasn’t insecure because I know he is about me-- he’s terrified I’m going to run-- he’d be honest and say, ‘My congressman, Grimm, funded this wall, and I’m now making sure it’s getting done,’” said Grimm.

Rose-- a blunt-spoken Army veteran-- gladly fired back at his would-be opponent.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that Mike played a part, and then he had to pass the baton to Dan Donovan when he took a vacation in federal prison,” said Rose. “And then Dan Donovan passed the baton to me after I beat him.”

"God bless him," Rose added of news that Grimm is close to launching a campaign. "He's just the gift that keeps on giving."

Nearly three months on the job, Rose hasn’t shied away from defying party leaders. He voted against Nancy Pelosi for speaker. He isn't embracing proposals championed by leading progressives in the party and sided with Republicans on a symbolic procedural measure saying authorities should notify ICE when an undocumented immigrant buys a gun.

At the same time, Rose is being squeezed by an emboldened left flank of the party that dominates the news cycle and increasingly threatens primary challenges. And Rose, in particular, may end up feeling more of the heat because his district is just miles away from the one represented by fellow freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Speaking to fewer than 100 constituents at his second-ever town hall last weekend in the auditorium of a high school in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, Rose got five questions about freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), two about the Green New Deal, and went round for round with a constituent about why he opposes "Medicare for All." (Rose supports lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 50, instituting a nationalized system of all-payer rate-setting and a public option.)

Rose was pressed the most on policies boosted by Ocasio-Cortez and his response to comments made by Omar that were widely considered anti-Semitic. “Someone in this country does have a right to criticize Israel. Someone in this country does have a right to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” Rose said. “All I ask is that they do it without causing Jewish people pain by bringing up anti-Semitic comments."

Rose panned the "economic unorthodoxies" of the Green New Deal and said instead, he wants an “Apollo project for battery technology” to advance solar and wind energy and a cap-and-trade system to get the U.S. to a carbon-free economy by 2050.

While Rose works to position himself as more centrist than some of his Democratic colleagues, Republicans are eager to hit him from the right. As with other Trump-district members, Republicans plan to tag Rose as the tip of a socialist spear-- hoping that by tethering Rose to Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi they can make him a one-term member. That playbook failed in 2018, after Republicans spent millions labeling Democrats running in red districts Pelosi soldiers.

“As the daughter of a Cuban refugee, the threat of socialism is something I don’t take lightly," said Malliotakis, who calls Rose "a Park Slope liberal," labeling the Democrat an off-island Brooklynite. "When I see individuals like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who's from New York City, trying to move our country more to the left, it really bothers me."

Rose has an answer to that charge at the ready, one he test-drove at a Staten Island town hall earlier last week. “I’m not a socialist. Everyone here knows I’m not a socialist,” he said in an interview. “It’s very obvious I’m not a socialist.”

But Rose could also benefit from a fractious Republican primary. Malliotakis touted establishment Republican support she’s quickly lining up, noting that New York Reps. Lee Zeldin and Elise Stefanik are backing her bid. Stefanik’s new Elevate PAC, formed to boost female Republicans in primaries, is “supporting” her. Malliotakis has also met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “personally,” she said, and “he’s very supportive.” (McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment.)

Looming large over any Republican primary is Trump, who endorsed Donovan over Grimm in the 2018 primary. Grimm said he doesn't harbor a grudge, but he'd be less enthusiastic about a run this time if the president is going to back another candidate in the race.

"The president got involved to save an incumbent, which I respect," Grimm said. "I wouldn’t want to be in a position now where the president would jump in again."

Malliotakis wouldn't necessarily be a natural fit for a Trump endorsement, but neither was Donovan, who voted against Trump's tax overhaul. In her failed campaign for mayor in bright-blue New York in 2017, Malliotakis said she voted for Trump but later regretted it.

“I agree with the president on most policies," Malliotakis said in an interview at a The Coffee Club Diner in South Brooklyn. "When I disagree with him, I’ll disagree with him. I’m not anybody’s rubber stamp. I’m my own individual person.”

Grimm thinks he's the best shot at taking the seat back, calling Malliotakis too "liberal" to win. And he claims his recent history as a criminal defendant makes him the right person to send back to Washington during Trump's reelection campaign.

"Bad things happen to good people every day, and my experience would make me a better legislator because I look at how it's happened again to Donald Trump," said Grimm, returning to his felony. "My love for this country just exudes from me. It just comes out of me."
See it exuding?

Like Al Capone, they put Mikie Suits away for tax evasion but never charged him with murder, etc

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At 6:25 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Let SI have them i have no interest in voting for either of these two corrupt schmucks

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

again, you are implying that it matters what max rose thinks. It does not.

it only matters what Pelosi thinks, since the existence of rose in the house means nancy has one more vote for speaker.

And, as speaker, she and only she decides. period.

THIS is why the democraps must be euthanized. all of them. the entire party.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

It's October, 2020. I'll bet you a million bucks that DWT will be setting up a fundraising operation for Rose and telling us to hold our noses and vote to re-elect him.

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

edmondo, only voters on the left would be stupid enough to take your bet. What was it that PT Barnum said...


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