Joseph Lhota, Mike Long, Jerry Kassar and the Republican Party In Brooklyn — Joseph Lhota, Mike Long, Jerry Kassar and the New York Conservative Party — Why those people, places and things just don’t belong together
Sometimes things jump out as not part of a clear or well known pattern, or for some other reason things are just not being consistent with what has gone before, or certain things just plain do not feel or seem to be right. The persons and political entities mentioned above are like that — something or somebody just doesn’t fit or belong there. Now, also look at the next paragraph and see if you agree that something isn’t right with what’s going on or being said there, either.
On primary night, a report in AM New York had this to say about Lhota’s prospects as seen by the NYS Conservative Party Chairman, “...Mike Long, head of the Conservative party, which endorsed Lhota in June, said he can beat the Democratic nominee in the general election by distinguishing himself as the candidate who would continue the crime-fighting, economy-stimulating successes of the past quarter century under Giuliani and Bloomberg. *** ‘This is about going back to the old policies of the ’70s and the early ’80s or continued movement forward in job growth in economic growth and keeping people safe and improving on education,’ Long said.” (See “Joe Lhota defeats John Catsimatidis to win Republican mayoral nomination” by AM New York with Sheila Anne Feeney and Jo Napolitano, 9/10/13, AMNY [http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/joe-lhota-defeats-john-catsimatidis-to-win-republican-mayoral-nomination-1.6050380]). Everybody knows what Mike Long really thought and did about Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg each and every time the were candidates over the last six elections — starting in 1989, Mike Long and the Conservative Party consistently did not support either Giuliani and/or Bloomberg.
I put it to you, that something is very rotten here. Is Mike Long suddenly praising Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani for their successes over the last quarter century ? What’s more, is Mike Long the kind of political leader who you would expect to be telling his followers that the election of Lhota would continue certain aspects of the “successes of the past quarter century under Giuliani and Bloomberg”? CERTAINLY NOT !
Is all of that stuff really coming from the person that AM New York described as “Mike Long, head of the Conservative party” ? The short answer is “YES IT IS.” Not so short are the answers to the questions: “Why is Mike Long saying such things”; and “Why is he saying them now ?”
Conservative Mike Long publically signaled his potential support for libertarian Republican Joseph Lhota, who unequivocally supports gay marriage and legalized marijuana, as early as December 2012 (See “Conservative Party Leader Mike Long Wants Joseph Lhota To Run For NYC Mayor” by Kenneth Lovett, 12/10/12, Daily News/ Daily Politics [http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2012/12/conservative-party-leader-mike-long-wants-joseph-lhota-to-run-for-nyc-mayor]). That support became etched in stone when Mike Long and the Conservative Party endorsed Lhota early in June 2013 ( See “Conservative Party Endorses Lhota for Mayor” by Kate Taylor, 6/3/13, NY Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/nyregion/conservative-party-endorses-lhota-for-mayor.html?_r=0]; see also “New York Conservatives Endorse Joe Lhota their Glimmer of Hope” by Dana Rubenstein, 6/3/13, This is How New York Works/Capital [http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2013/06/8530623/new-york-conservatives-endorse-joe-lhota-their-glimmer-hope]). According to the NY Times report, Mike Long acknowledged that the Conservative Party had disagreements with Lhota on several social issues, including same-sex marriage. But the Times also noted that Long said this election was about the city’s future and was too important to focus on just those issues. For Mike Long, that was a bigger change than the man from Tarsus had when he was knocked down on the Road to Damascus.
It wasn’t just Chairman Mike Long that had converted from his long-held Conservative Party’s traditional obstructionist stance when it came to supporting liberal, progressive or libertarian Republicans. Jerry Kassar, the Conservative Party’s Kings County Chairman, said this in his weekly column, “The Brooklyn Conservative Party’s leadership had been given many opportunities in the past several months to spend time with Mr. Lhota at both events and meetings to discuss issues. When polled, the Executive Committee unanimously recommended to the State Party the endorsement.” ( See “JERRY KASSAR'S ‘COMMON SENSE’ – JOE LHOTA FOR MAYOR” by Jerry Kassar, 6/11/13, Home Reporter/Spectator [http://www.homereporternews.com/opinion/jerry-kassar-s-common-sense/article_5b7a0160-d2d0-11e2-ae12-0019bb2963f4.html]). What Kassar didn’t tell everybody was that Lhota’s endorsement had been a “done deal” long before June 2013, and as part of that arrangement, Lhota had been featured at several Conservative Party events long before the Long and Kassar endorsements. The only thing not known is what the “deal” part of that “done deal” arrangement might have been.
It has been well reported on this blog that Conservative Party operators have been an intrinsic part of the State Senator Martin Golden – “Republicans for Change” insurgency in Brooklyn in 2013. That included a joint petitioning effort with the “Joe Lhota for Mayor” campaign. It’s also been reported that those Marty Golden insurgents have put the word out that Mr. Lhota favors Tim Cochrane, the RFC candidate for Kings County Republican Chairman. Part and parcel of all of it was that Kassar and other conservatives were involved in various aspects of the GOP petitioning and primary campaigning for Lhota and many of the RFC committee candidates. Although it has not yet been proven, it is difficult to conclude otherwise than that all of the petitioning and pre-primary “Republicans for Change,” Conservative party members, and Lhota Campaign interactions were all part of some common plan or scheme that included the Conservative endorsements of Lhota.
Because certain things could not readily be brought up in the context of the City-wide GOP Primary campaign for mayor, John Catsimatidis was never able raise the issue or question Joseph Lhota about any of his dealings to obtain his unusual Conservative Party endorsements by Long and Kassar. The more diverse general election voting public and the scrutiny of the City-wide media will almost certainly be making inquiry into Mr. Lhota’s alliance with the Conservative Party, as well as any compromises that might have been agreed to as part of the arrangements necessary to get the Conservative Party line and the lockstep endorsement of the Conservative Party leaders.