The Reign of The Duke of Bay Ridge Must Now End
I’ve had about enough. The evidence is irrefutable. The conclusion that must be drawn is undeniable.
Adios, El Duque.
When the party’s county committee meets this fall, one thing is clear: Craig Eaton should not be allowed to return for another term as the Brooklyn GOP Chairman. Allow me to explain why.
The Duke of Bay Ridge first took up his office in 2007, at a time when the party had much to do just to hold on to what it had, let alone fight for more. Since then, we have seen an atrophy of party membership and failure, mismanagement and corruption on almost every level of the county party.
Please understand, I have given Mr. Eaton every benefit of the doubt one could safely permit an elected official to receive. We all know that the past two years have been tough for Republicans everywhere, not just locally. But The Duke has done little to nothing to rebrand our party locally or reach out to current or potential Republicans…not even a postcard or a letter to Brooklyn Republicans reminding them that there is still a Republican Party in Brooklyn.
Mr. Eaton demonstrated no leadership at all on the issue of the 2008 13th Congressional District election. As my next post of And Then There Were None will discuss, he essentially caved in to pressure from everyone around him and accepted a mediocre candidate, Bob “Hot Dog” Straniere,” whom he failed to help sell to the voters in any meaningful way.
As for the Mayor’s race, he demonstrated, at best, schizophrenic leadership, eventually tossing his hat in the ring for Bloomberg for mere patronage crumbs ($50,000) and no evident, tangible benefit for Republicans in do doing. At the same time, he alienated entire hosts of Republican voters appalled by Bloomberg’s undemocratic and personally financed revocation of term limits. So, either way (pro-Bloomberg or anti-Bloomberg), the Chairman made big mistakes and is now being shot at by both sides.
He has failed to answer the call of Atlas and others in his party to investigate the suspicious actions and stunning behavior of political consultants in his party, most notably his close aid and Party Warlock Gerry O’Brien, The Merlin of Malice.
The Duke as overseen terrible mismanagement of party funds and has failed to successfully raise money in any meaningful way. Currently, as my colleague Hank Rearden has stated, our party lacks any decent funds to support candidates or orchestrate events.
The Chairman’s lack of advanced outreach in numerous Brooklyn communities—let alone basic outreach like websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter—is simply unacceptable and shows no sign of changing or improving in the near future. These are not just ways to get the word out—THEY ARE WAYS OF MAKING MONEY FOR THE PARTY. If the call comes in 2010 and 2012 to run a sophisticated campaign at the local, state, or federal level, it is clear that our party organization would not be able to answer it. In fact, why would anyone at the state or federal level even bother asking given the party’s currently atrocious state?
He has failed to reach out to minority communities in any significant way, something that could have paid off some, if minor, dividends in the near future, particularly Hispanic voters, who were (at one point) more inclined to vote for John McCain than his opponent in the 2008 election. Nevertheless, the party did nothing to foster inclusion in parts of the borough that would greatly benefit from Republican interaction. We will regret this soon enough. Trust me.
Finally, he has helped foster resentment among the ranks of the party’s local leaders, running it in a tyrannical manner at times resembling that of Idi Amin.
Constructive criticism is banned and shouted down. Change is promised but never delivered. Questions are delayed, as are solutions. Blame is freely given, but responsibility is never accepted. Trust is nonexistent, and loyalty is a rare commodity. Overall, the Duke’s comportment is shrill and lacks the character and professionalism necessary to run a major party with numerous constituents with different needs.
I want to ask the County Committee members and party leaders reading this to just take a moment and think about this.
Just think about it… Do things feel like they are going anywhere but downhill?
I would not bother writing on Atlas at all if I were not absolutely sure that our party needs serious reform NOW. Anyone who thinks that the party is in a good place right now is, frankly, delusional. We need swift and immediate action. We have big challenges ahead, and Mr. Eaton is clearly unable to handle them.
Do you want the man who failed to keep the only Republican congressional seat in Brooklyn to try again in 2010?
Do you trust the Chairman to maintain or increase the balance of Brooklyn GOP State Senators before the census demands new lines be drawn, ones that will likely make our ability to win races even harder, if not next to impossible?
Do you want The Duke to be in charge of orchestrating the immense local challenge of promoting the party’s presidential candidate in 2012 to take on President Obama?
Do you believe Mr. Eaton will do anything more to grow the party, change our method of outreach, and rebrand our image in this borough?
If you’re honest with yourself, you know the answer to all of these questions is no.
Hopefully, we all understand that the stakes are too high to allow the failed leadership of Chairman Craig Eaton to continue any longer. For those of you that are somehow still on the fence, I invite you to come back to Atlas over the course of the next few days and read more about why The Duke of Bay Ridge’s reign must come to an end this year.
The time has come.