2012-03-22 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Eating Crow? Well, That’s Just Part Of The Political Game!
By Charles Rogers

I suppose I should have known my own column would backfire on me...and it’s now time to eat humble pie. While I don’t do humble so well, I do admit mistakes, however gross they may be and especially if they might have rumpled a few ids along the way.

I’m talking politics here. The same politics I so brazenly called into play a few months ago when I called the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club to task for what I said led them to fall flat on their face.

Of course, it all had to do with the September, 2011 election of Republican Bob Turner to the congressional seat formerly held by Anthony Weiner. After Weiner resigned in disgrace (you remember, don’t you? It was in all the papers!). The TJ Club’s candidate was David Weprin, and, although the TJ people supported him, he didn’t make it and, for the first time since 1923, the 9th Congressional District went into the hands of the Elephants. The fact that former Mayor Ed Koch, in a move to show his disdain for President Obama’s alleged feelings about Israel decided not to back Weprin, gave a lot of clout to Turner’s case and obviously helped propel him into the seat. It really didn’t have anything to do with the Thomas Jefferson Club or their administration, etc., etc., as I bullheadedly wrote. I don’t say this especially apologetically, it’s just a fact.

What I didn’t say enough of is the shrewd, uh, politics of it. Koch knew what he was doing; the TJ people knew what they were doing. The GOP side, meanwhile, tried to make as much hay as they could of it — you can’t blame them for that — but they too saw the writing on the wall.

The 9th Congressional District will be no more thanks to the redistricting edicts being established now. Every ten years, the Legislature has to figure or re-figure the district lines not only for their local districts — that’s the Senate and the Assembly — but also the congressional lines, indicating what neighborhoods will be represented by whom and by what party.

It’s not only confusing, but, until now (hah!) is blatantly, flagrantly partisan. The Dems want what they already have and whatever they can get and, oh, yeah, the Republicans want what they already have and whatever they can get! If that sounds repetitious, it’s on purpose.

We’ll find out this week just what kind of lines are coming when a single judge lets her plan be known (you see, when it became known that the Legislature couldn’t get together on a reasonable plan for congressional redistricting, the situation had to be handed to the courts. Judge Roanne Mann was chosen for the task. For shame, legislators!).

Anyway — back to local stuff. Local shrewd stuff, that is:

It was general consensus a long time ago that two districts in the state have to go, and it was a natural that the one belonging to Anthony Weiner was going to be one of them. The other is upstate in the Hudson Valley area. Weiner had an inkling while he was in office that his spot was tenuous at best and he was already making the lobbying rounds for his next step, which, for all intents and purposes would be a fight for the U.S. Senate.

When Turner took over in a special election, he tentatively had his eyes on the Senate and, last week, he officially announced he’s making the run for the position held by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Well, by this time it’s common knowledge that former Mayor Koch has made up with President Obama (he was invited to dinner at the White House last week!) and he has already said he’s going to give his full support to Gillibrand. Right away, that puts a lot of political power behind her and away from Turner and, from that standpoint, it lets the politically powerful Thomas Jefferson Club do their thing, which they’ll do with precision, as all experts do.

We’re back to Square One, of course, with the TJers once again manipulating the strings and doing what they’d been doing for decades: king (or queen)- making.

And me? Oh, yeah. I’m back to eating crow!

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