Winners & Losers 8/18/17
Winners and losers ebb and flow in the political world, and fortunes can change in an instant. But from a historical perspective, starting a war to perpetuate slavery, and then losing that war after causing death on a scale unlike the country had ever seen makes you an irredeemable loser. For those who don’t grasp that concept, here’s our weekly list of examples – though thankfully, on a smaller scale.
Sal Albanese – The underdog Democratic mayoral candidate earned the monicker “Sal All-He-Needs” this week, fundraising enough to qualify to debate New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Aug. 23 and Sept. 6, having raised more than $191,000 to win a podium at the primary debates. If any of the other Democratic mayoral hopefuls want to ask a question? Better call Sal.
Carm Basile – Basile is the head of the Capital District Transportation Authority in Albany, which was just designated as the best mid-sized transit system in North America by the American Public Transit Association. The MTA gets all of the attention, but the CDTA gets results – and possibly even a gondola.
Phil Boyle & Kenneth Zebrowski – With a little help from their friend Gov. Andrew Cuomo, these lawmakers finally closed the loophole – well, not the “LLC loophole,” but an “unscrupulous pet dealers” loophole – passing legislation cracking down on profiteering puppy peddlers, cold-hearted hamster-hawkers, and craven kitty dealers who were using their nonprofit status to dodge regulations requiring the humane treatment of animals. Finally, compelling evidence that Albany’s politicians are truly watching out for the little guy.
Khader El-Yateem – The Lutheran minister and New York City Council candidate in a crowded Democratic primary for Council District 43 in southwest Brooklyn protested his fellow Protestants, calling on an Episcopal Church to get rid of a plaque marking a tree planted by Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The plaque came down, just like the Confederacy came down so many years ago, and El-Yateem got to take credit for getting his district results before Election Day.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins – After hedge fund manager (and weekly loser) Daniel Loeb compared the state Senate minority leader to the Ku Klux Klan in a Facebook comment, Stewart-Cousins rallied – literally. Prominent New York Democrats held an event on Monday to show their support for Stewart-Cousins, and for Democratic efforts to seize control of the state Senate. Stewart-Cousins deserves credit for turning an insult into a broad victory, gaining both personal and political support.
David Bookstaver – David Bookstaver makes an annual salary of over $166,000 for being the so-called “honest” voice of the state court system. After lying to the New York Post about his less than demanding schedule, he accidentally butt dialed the reporter and left a 4-minute voicemail bragging that he “barely shows up to work” and was promptly fired. You can’t make this stuff up, folks! And for a spokesman who seems to find it easy to deceive the press, it makes us even more skeptical of his past comments defending his old boss, former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.
Denny Farrell – Farrell knows politics better than anyone after 42 years in the Assembly – so should we be worried that he doesn’t trust the democratic process? The 85-year-old has planned to retire at least since May but waited till now to officially hang up his hat, ensuring his replacement would be hand-picked by the Manhattan Democratic Party he used to run, instead of in an open primary election. A real Denny’s Grand Slam for insider politics.
Daniel Loeb – When the hedge fund manager called state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins – who is black – worse than the KKK, the online remark spurred a range of reactions. Some rallied around Stewart-Cousins or jumped at the chance to blast a wealthy charter school backer, while Loeb’s charter school mates agreed that it was nice of him to say he was sorry but couldn’t help but add that he basically is right. We see both sides of the charter school debate, but as our president is learning, there’s no room for equivocating when it comes to racism.
Carl Paladino – Like Al Capone was busted for tax fraud, Carl Paladino was booted off the Buffalo Board of Education by state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia for disclosing private information from an executive session. But Paladino has been in the hot seat since he made racist comments about then-President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle in December, with protesters and some officials loudly calling for his ouster. Looks like they finally got their man – although he’s likely to appeal.
Donald Trump – After a surge of race-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week, Americans looked to the president for moral leadership and condemnation of white supremacists. What we got, however, was the president telling journalists that the “alt-left” is just as responsible. After his failure to properly address the crisis, the president was shunned by military leaders and Republicans alike, and his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative as well as his Strategic and Policy Forum were disbanded.