In Candid New Blog Post, Judge Discusses State of Brooklyn GOP Affairs
It has been said by one commentator on our blog that Jonathan Judge “represents an existential threat” to the inept Bay Ridge Cabal that is hurting our borough.
We can certainly understand why.
In a recent post added to Mr. Judge’s blog (formerly his website address for his City Council race) entitled “The Two Brooklyn Republican Parties, And Why The Other Half Fails,” he decries the blatant tokenism of Republican values espoused by the Bay Ridge Cabal.
What does penetrate after reading Mr. Judge’s piece is a validation of the numerous problems facing our party and the fact that perhaps the greatest existential threat to our values here in Brooklyn is the political establishment itself.
Here is Mr. Judge’s piece as disseminated on his website (my commentary follows):
In the past two weeks, we have seen in reality that there are two very different Brooklyn Republican Parties.
This past Monday, I went to a special meeting of the Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Club in Bensonhurst. In a standing room only crowd, I got to hear from Lucretia Regina-Potter, a very good friend of mine and a staunch reformer of the Brooklyn Republican Party, who is running for State Assembly. Also present was Michael Grimm, 13th Congressional District candidate, and Joe DioGuardi, who is running for U.S. Senate against Gillibrand. All three are petitioning their way on the ballot as the independent Republican candidates (read: not endorsed by the party).
People coming off the train were so intrigued by the size of the gathering that they decided to stop in to see what was going on. When Mike Grimm arrived, he had to fight his way through the crowd just to get to the front!
Conversely, two fellow Republicans in the 44th Assembly District, Christina and John Bennett, went to attend a meeting of the permanently-defunct-but-resurrected-temporarily-when-convenient Theodore Roosevelt Republican Club in late May.
(It is important to know that the Theodore Roosevelt Club is the brainchild of political consultant, Gerry O’Brien, who picks up a hefty $1,800 paycheck from State Senator Marty Golden each month. He is also behind some atrocious behavior that has stifled Republican Party growth in the 44th Assembly District for decades, especially as he recently performed $10,000 worth of paid work for incumbent Democratic 44th AD Assemblyman Jim Brennan (but that’s a story for another day). Never forget: paid consultants only do what they do in order to profit and accrue power to help them practice their craft better.)
However, much to even my surprise, an off-duty police officer, P.O. O’Malley, actually blocked these two people from entering, even though they are duly elected County Committee Members of the area in which the meeting was held! They were told the meeting was invitation only as she flashed her NYPD badge, despite the club’s own literature that proclaims an open invitation to all.
This behavior is yet another reason for the larger rift and atrophy (decay?) of the Brooklyn Republican Party, and indicative of why the current leaders can’t win an election to save their lives, and why the reformers haven’t been able to, either.
On the one hand, you have a club that meets in an open storefront, surrounded with large panes of glass that allow all the day’s sunshine to come through on its leaders, candidates and participants, one that welcomes strangers off the street to hear the message of the Republican Party’s principles. Such a club is despised and ever-undermined at every turn by the party.
On the other hand, you have a club that meets once in Lord knows how many years, in a Knights of Columbus hall with no windows for the public to see through, and utilizes an off-duty NYPD officer to deliberately keep people out. Worse yet, the meeting was merely a opportunity for the exclusive invitees (mostly poll workers from what I know) to witness the self-glorification of the current leaders of the failed Brooklyn Republican establishment: Chairman Craig Eaton, District Leader Marty Cottingham, and State Senator Marty Golden’s Chief of Staff and Kings County Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar (anyone wonder why a Conservative Party Chairman is talking at a Republican Club meeting?).
You may not be very surprised to hear such things occur in a closed-off political club meeting, but the offense comes from the fact that these individuals have allowed Brooklyn Democrats to co-opt the Republican Party for certain perks (something which will also be discussed further in a later post).
Ultimately, and sadly, there is a very clear trend between these two factions of the party that does not bode well for Republicans and reformers unless we start to act.
What we see from the Theodore Roosevelt Republican Club and the Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Club is replicated throughout the borough in Republican circles. The party leadership à la TR Club is exclusive, by invitation only and no dissent is permitted or the cops will show you the door.
That’s why the party went to great lengths to remove Yvette Velázquez Bennett as 44th AD District Leader–despite her profound loyalty to its leadership–because she dared to demonstrate independent and principled thought (when, for instance, she voted against giving Mayor Michael Bloomberg the Republican Party line in exchange for a $125,000 donation to the party, especially when the Mayor and the party have infrequently agreed on policy).
That’s why the party is going to even greater lengths to annihilate the Republican infrastructure of the 49th Assembly District because it dares to think on principle and act independently–and has the resources to make it happen. They would much rather enjoy the fruits of their cozy deals with local Democrats, including 49th AD Assemblyman Peter Abbate, to protect Marty Golden’s State Senate seat.
That’s why the party’s leaders have a pathological fear of allowing any intelligent, motivated and conscientious Young Republicans play any kind of leadership role in Republican politics. Not only do they worry deeply that they are meeting their replacements, but that their own undermining of the party has weakened themselves to the point that the replacement may be happening sooner than they would like.
And sadly, most of the remainder of the Republican Party leadership, even those who do see how bad things have gotten, concurrently hold Board of Election jobs that are significantly controlled by the party bosses. That means: do as leader says, or lose your job, capisce?
This is not the state in which the great and proud Brooklyn Republican Party should be. We can do better and we ought to strive to make it so. Luckily, we have the Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Club, and the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, and many other grassroots Republican activists, for instance, which have prided themselves on an open-door policy. Every Republican is welcome and actually welcomed (not when it is only convenient to permit). Whatever we do, we make perfectly public. The YRs have even begun operating meetings online so not only can more people be a part of the experience, but every single word that is said is recorded for future public consumption and scrutiny.
For those of us 112,000 Republicans out there in Brooklyn, we need you to care locally as much as you do nationally. We need you to help sign and collect the petitions of the candidates who are not only best equipped to make the case for Republicanism at the polls in November, but also those who are going to do the most to reform and propel the nearly-defunct Brooklyn Republican Party towards brighter and more prosperous days.
The reformers are here to stay. If you’re game, email me at JJJudge@gmail.com or call me at 718-360-9583 and let’s show Republicans, Democrats and independents what real, honest change in the right direction looks like.
We couldn’t help but notice Mr. Judge also addresses the political actions of one man who has been heavily criticized on this blog for his actions. That man is Merlin of Malice Gerry O’Brien, whom, it was alleged, physically assaulted and threatened Mr. Judge last year.
But that fact is not discussed by Mr. Judge.
Instead, Judge discusses the actual nature of Mr. O’Brien’s Theodore Roosevelt Republican Club, which, you will recall, recently entered into a nasty discourse with our blog. He compares it to two of the only other active GOP clubs in the borough: the Fiorello LaGuardia Club of the 49th AD and Mr. Judge’s Young Republicans.
One of Judge’s best lines regarding the TRRC is: “You have a club that meets once in Lord knows how many years, in a Knights of Columbus hall with no windows for the public to see through, and utilizes an off-duty NYPD officer to deliberately keep people out.”
Very true, and these facts were not denied by the TRRC in their email to us.
We also noticed his discussion of the county committee members who were excommunicated from the O’Brien’s start-up, a story we brought to you on Atlas first.
The overall themes Mr. Judge discusses are not necessarily new. In fact, we welcome his voice to a chorus that this blog started nearly a year ago.
We stated that this party had serious problems and was deeply compromised by flawed strategies and leadership. Then, months before there was a visible “Brooklyn GOP Revolution,” we realized the failures of the leadership were actually a genuine mixture of self-interested and self-destructive tactics, as well as an increasingly obvious detente with Democrats that continued to become more and more visible as time wore on.
The Wilson Pakula for Bloomberg. The Atlantic Yards. The 44th City Council race. The Cathedral Club. The Catholic Citizens Committee.
Any and all of the instrumentalities of the Bay Ridge Cabal’s attempts to bludgeon the party’s free thinkers to a pulp.
The 49th Assembly District is, sadly, not the first group or organization the party “leaders” have tried to “annihilate,” to quote Mr. Judge. Rather, the party has quietly removed all of those who do not further their petty machinations. Ask anyone who has been their victim, and you will see what they are capable of.
As a result, most people that I speak to about these conditions in our party are surprised to read our blog and find out that it is the subject of so much intrigue.
Now some of you might say in response to Mr. Judge’s piece: “Yeah, I know things are bad in Brooklyn. Who cares?”
To you, I ask you to appreciate and understand that the very basis of our political system of government has been corrupted. Because of the absence of party competition and the failure of this party to represent the interests of the hundreds of thousands of Republican/libertarian/conservative-leaning New Yorkers, our system of government has been privy to an unjust monopoly of unholy political power-seekers.
That’s bad for all of us, and we’re dealing with the effects of higher taxes, increases in crime, highly inflated union compensation, and fiscal mismanagement as a result.
Imagine if individuals like you and those of us here at Atlas did not have to use our talents to compel reform in the party but rather used them to challenge the Democratic establishment instead (which this party has not adequately done)?
What a difference that would make!
Instead, we’re forced to first address the establishment that has failed us so badly.
And make no mistake about it: that is no easy task. But it must and will be done.