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“Bay Ridge” GOP’s Stealth Health Care Rally Without a Message

November 18, 2009

We’ve received a few emails about the unpublicized Brooklyn GOP event (held in–where else?–Bay Ridge) advertised as a rally against “socialized health care.”

Having drawn a “small crowd,” according to Courier Life, the rally provided little direction about what exactly should be done to address the healthcare debacle. While the GOP’s opposition to the bill is clear, the party seeking to unseat the 13th CD’s Democratic Representative McMahon could not provide any alternative message, it seems, to what has been out there.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle gave its usual positive coverage to Brooklyn GOP events, calling it a “Teen Led GOP Rally.” This is somewhat misleading, as one emailer disclosed to Atlas that the event was led by one lone high school student (who, the emailer said, was a “better speaker than the GOP establishment figures that attended”). Very few young people actually attended, it seems.

Otherwise, the event was largely uneventful and unsuccessful. This is unsurprising, given the lack of notice provided by the party and its failed Chairman Craig “The Duke of Bay Ridge” Eaton.

Here is the story from Courier Life:

Bay Ridge Republicans fearing what they call “socialized health care” rallied at John Paul Jones Park this weekend.

“I don’t want the government in any part of my life if I can avoid it,” Bay Ridge retiree Louise Speziale said. “I think I live in a great country and I don’t want it to change.”

Craig Eaton, chair of the Brooklyn Republican Club, said that his group sent out over 20,000 e-mails announcing the event.

Roughly 40 people like Speziale actually showed up at the rally held on Sunday afternoon to oppose health care reforms now winding through the U.S. Congress.

“A lot of the people that are here are all united with the same goal,” Eaton said. “We need health care, we need to change the health care system in America, but we cannot bankrupt the nation by using the health care system that’s proposed by the Democrats.

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed legislation aimed at reforming the nation’s health care system on November 7.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act garnered only one Republican vote while at the same time further disenchanting Progressives advocating a single-payer or Medicare for all system, and women’s rights groups opposed to a provision withholding funding for abortions.

The U.S. Senate has yet to vote on its version of health care reform.

“I can’t answer why the Progressives don’t like it,” Eaton said. “I know why we don’t like it – I don’t think it’s fiscally conservative, I don’t think it’s fair, I don’t think it’s reasonable. I think it needs to be tweaked before the final result.”

State Senator Marty Golden was far less diplomatic, dismissing health care reform as “one huge tax hike” and a partisan effort to “get a win” for President Barack Obama.

“Fifteen percent of the nation needs health care,” Golden said. “Eighty-five-percent have great health care – we’re going to turn the system upside down for 15 percent of the nation?”

While Golden declared, “We have the greatest health care in the world,” osteopathic practitioner Dr. Joseph Caruana, who has an office in Dyker Heights, said that there is “no doubt” in his mind that the nation needs “some type of health care reform.”

“It just can’t continue to go on the way it is,” Dr. Caruana told the small crowd gathered on 101st Street and 4th Avenue.

Instead of the current course of reform, however, the local physician criticized what he called “defensive medicine” and “Cadillac health plans” forced on recipients by the state for rising health care costs.

Leslie Rice, director of Youth Activities for the Brooklyn RepublicanParty, said that she is happy with her current health insurance plan, but complained that if the “Obama health care plan passes” she will be forced onto what she views as an inferior public option plan.

“This is a very bad choice for the average person,” she said.

Is it just me, or is the message coming out of this “rally” that the healthcare reform being proposed by Congress is…bad.

That’s it?

That’s all they could come up with?

Dr. Joseph Caruana, a speaker at the rally, said that there is “no doubt” in his mind that the nation needs “some type of health care reform,” according to the article.

Well, what exactly is he talking about? Did the Brooklyn GOP just gear up to complain on a Sunday by the Verrazano Bridge?

If the party wants to succeed, it will need to do better than that.


In the coming days, Atlas will discuss the healthcare issue in greater detail and how the party should approach the issue.

  1. Mary Anne Grotta permalink
    November 18, 2009 3:18 pm

    I attended. It was sad. At 3pm, there were a grand total of 6 or 7 people. They had to wait until 3:30 to start because there were so few people. There were no “refreshments,” although they advertised as such, and their “music” included three nice boys playing the National Anthem.

    If you were watching on a street corner, you would not have known what this “rally” was about. There were no visible signs, and unless you knew the people on the stage, you would be clueless as to what was going on.

    Very poorly organized.

  2. Gerry permalink
    November 18, 2009 9:46 pm

    I heard it was a total failure. But Grimm and Alegretti were there. Neither spoke. Wow.

    Craig Eaton is clearly not interested in building the party.

  3. Young GOP Kid permalink
    November 19, 2009 8:22 pm

    How they got anyone to report on it is astounding LOL


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