Tossing the bums: NY voters speak


My latest op-ed from Tuesday’s NY Post (09/18/2012)

New York voters in both parties did some housecleaning last Thursday.

In select state Senate and Assembly races, voters ousted those who violated their trust — by misusing public funds, or by suddenly changing course on important public-policy issues.

Incumbents under a corruption cloud were sent packing.

And incumbents who supported same-sex marriage (without extracting reasonable accommodations protecting religious freedom) are on the cusp of defeat.

Sen. Shirley Huntley was actually a “twofer” — she switched her vote on gay marriage and ran while under indictment.

 

The “throw out dem bums” fever has spread like the West Nile virus to the East Bronx, Southeast Queens, central Brooklyn and up the Hudson.

The defeats of Huntley and Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, plus the 63 percent of Brownsville ballots cast against Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland, demonstrate that voters are in the mood to punish violators of the public trust.

Huntley is accused of faking documents on family-run charity. Rivera has been in the news for putting boyfriends on the payroll, allegedly in no-show jobs. Boyland, under indictment for soliciting bribes to cover his lawyer bills in another case of accepting payoffs, survived his primary because a plethora of opponents split the vote.

The trend of ousting such officeholders actually goes back a while: Bronx voters turned out disgraced ex-state Sen. Pedro Espada in 2010 — just as in 2008 they’d ousted Espada’s felonious predecessor, Efrain Gonzalez, then under indictment.

Upstate, conservative voters’ voices couldn’t be drowned in a flood of campaign cash and negative ads in support of politicians who’d voted for same-sex marriage.

Sen. Steve Saland of Poughkeepsie is hoping absentee ballots don’t undo his paper-thin lead over challenger Neil DiCarlo. Outside Albany, Sen. Roy McDonald needs absentees to erase the lead of his challenger, Kathy Marchione. (And Sen. James Alesi of Rochester opted to retire rather than face the voters.)

The combative McDonald infamously dropped an F-bomb on same-sex marriage, saying of those who disagreed with him, “F— it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.”

The “I don’t care what you think” may have hurt him more than the F-word. One shudders to think at his language on Election Night, finding himself a casualty of his own decision.

Legislators who ran for re-election despite being under indictment or investigation for alleged corruption were also, in a sense, guilty of dropping the F-bomb on their constituents — by having the gall to seek re-election. Only this time, voters tossed it back at them.

Agree or not with McDonald and Saland on gay marriage, at least they only had to face the judgment of voters — not jurors.

Recently, I suggested that state lawmakers still operating in the shadows should panic, because their day of reckoning was coming.

Well, the voting public isn’t waiting on law enforcement to clasp on the handcuffs. They’re taking out the brooms and sweeping “dem bums” to the curb.


Read more: 
Tossing the bums – NYPOST.com.

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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