And Then There Were None: The Bloomberg Question
I previously indicated how many Republicans have currently the same question: how did we get here? What happened? To answer that loaded question, I stated that we must examine the structure of our party over the course of the past few years, the major players, and the major defeats. That has been my goal.
I now turn to the all-important debacle of the Brooklyn GOP’s support of Mayor Bloomberg for a third-term and their grant of a Wilson Pakula. How we went from a Giuliani-endorsed Republican mayoralty to an “independent” mayoralty…
And then there were none…
Presently, a deep rift exists in the Brooklyn GOP (well, in fact, the entire GOP). It is a split between those that supported giving two-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg the Republican line in this year’s mayoral election and those that were deeply offended by the thought of any such bestowal. Why were so many Republicans offended?
Two primary reasons:
First, Bloomberg was a Giuliani-endorsed Republican in 2001 who originally became a GOPer and subsequently gave it up for mere political expedience. Bloomberg was not interested in building up the party. Frankly—and this is undeniable—Bloomberg was merely interested in building himself up. After becoming an Independent, his attempt to retake the GOP line was seen by many Republicans as Benedict Arnold meets the prodigal son.
Second, Bloomberg upset many New Yorkers (not just Republicans) by buying himself the right to seek a third term with the lousy excuse that he was the most qualified man to deal with the city’s fiscal crisis. His critics responded: “Rudy Giuliani wasn’t given one extra day as Mayor after 9/11—what makes you so special?”
You cannot say they did not have legitimate reasons.
Then, on the other side, you had three types of Republicans that actually supported Bloomberg’s third go. First, you had those who said: “you’d rather have Bill Thompson?” Second, you had those who said: “you’d rather I not have a job?” Third, you had those who said: “who else?”
Of course, previously, rather than cultivate a GOP candidate to compete in 2009 back when Bloomberg declared his intention to become an Independent, the GOP just sat around and waited.
Enter Brooklyn GOP brain trust Craig Eaton—Chairman of the Party of Status Quo, His Honor, The Duke of Bay Ridge—who was now stuck between a rock and a hard place. He even admitted it to NY1, saying that the party was split into three camps. NY1 reported:
Craig Eaton, the chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, says his members are split over the mayor. One camp loves him, another is on the fence and diehard party members are not necessarily interested in welcoming him back.
“I think it’s fair to say it wouldn’t be a walk in the park because he left the party. So I think he’d need to come and talk to us,” said Eaton.
Ah, yes. Talk…
They meant to write “talk money” with us. You see (for Eaton and apparently the establishment that selected Bloomberg), you should understand that to them building the party means putting more money in their piggy banks rather than promoting long term growth.
Yet, as my colleague John Galt reported this past summer, the Mayor gave a meager 50k to each of the county organizations for their support. Reprehensible and small considering what he spent on ads alone. Now, word comes to us of an additional payment of 50k to each.
But what else has come to us as a party besides money?
This party needs to start cultivating new, young, and intelligent candidates to succeed all of these ancients when the time comes to pass the torch. How is that going to happen if all the party is concerned with is getting a short-term cash flow?
I am not attacking those of you that like or were “on the fence” about Bloomberg.
I’m merely saying that the choices of today impact the outcomes of tomorrow. The Republican Party required a long-term commitment of dedicated support from Bloomberg, not mere patronage crumbs. While I personally disliked the way the Mayor undemocratically (in the sense that term limits were imposed not by the legislature but by the people) obtained his third term option, I understand and appreciate the difficult spot that the party was in with the prospect of another Bloomberg run. However, Brooklyn was the first to throw itself on its knees for Bloomberg, and–again–for a mere 50k (until I see the additional 50k in the bank)!
We squandered an opportunity to at least negotiate a decent deal by being patient and using our collective strength to push for more. As a result, we lost a part of our soul and a chance to nurture our political posterity down the line. We have done nothing to secure that our party remains anything but a hotel room into which clients come when they need a quicky-bit of support, if you know what I mean. We look like paid pushovers.
Worse still, those that were alienated by Bloomberg this summer were not motivated to help the party in any way in its endeavors. We hear a number of people even purposely asked to carry petitions without Bloomberg’s name!
Can you blame them?
All in all, the party made a dumb move. Whether you believe the move was necessary or not, you can understand that the bestowal of the Wilson Pakula did nothing for us but keep our line active.
Is that all we are?
Is that what we as a party have become?
The fact is many Republicans are not going to come out and vote for Bloomberg this year; some are even voicing their frustration by voting for Thompson. Some will vote for Mickey Mouse, I expect.
Meanwhile, our Chairman sings Bloomberg’s praises. Rather than handle a delicate situation delicately, he handles it like a jalopy on the Gowanus. If The Duke merely said “we’re in a bind here, friends, but we have to bite the bullet and gear up for next time,” I would appreciate that more than the lovefest that transpires every time a Bloomberg official comes within a mile of Eaton.
You can’t swing a dead cat in the Brooklyn GOP without hitting a Bloomberg hack by the way… We even hear a couple were even beside Our Lord and Master The Duke when he was “reelected” last week…
I guess The Duke needs all the help he can get. Meanwhile, what happens to his constituents who remain highly divided on the Bloomberg issue?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Next, I finish “The Verrazano Fiasco.”