There was a problem in the Brooklyn GOP before any of the recent scandals — but the scandals are now part of the problem too
Are Dennis Hastert & Joseph Hayon symptomatic of a problem that befalls the Republican Party all too often ? Probably, but what can be done about it ?
ARE THE DEMOCRATS AND CONSERVATIVES ANY BETTER ? Don't be ridiculous; and neither are the other parties....
A little over a week ago, a nationally recognized political blog unequivocally stated that across the country, and at various levels of politics and government, the Republican Party was stronger than at any time since 1924 — that’s over ninety years ago ( Trust me; I did the math). In fact, the Republican Party now is almost as strong as the GOP was when TR was elected to continue his tenure as President of the United States, more than a decade over a century ago.
THE REPORT IN “REAL CLEAR POLITICS” IS VERY FAVORABLE FOR THE GOP AND ITS PROSPECTS NOW, IN 2016 AND GOING FORWARDAccording to a report of a detailed and lengthy statistical analysis, prepared for and published in “Real Clear Politics,” by Sean Trende and David Byler, the authors of the report noted that: “Rather than look simply at presidential performance, we look at party dominance at the federal, congressional, and state levels. One need only look at fights over voter identification laws, redistricting, food stamp benefits, Obamacare expansion, and a multitude of other battles from the last few years alone to understand the importance of [non-national and] non-federal elections. We therefore believe this approach gives a more complete measure of party strength....” (See “The GOP Is the Strongest It's Been in Decades” by Sean Trende & David Byler, 5/19/15 19, 2015, Real Clear Politics [http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/05/19/the_gop_is_the_strongest_its_been_in_decades_126633.html]).
— — — AND what Sean Trende and David Byler came up with was this: “Before the 2014 elections, the parties were pretty close to parity... [with an] insignificant advantage for the Republicans, although it placed them well above their post-World War II average.... It goes without saying that Republicans improved upon their showing in the 2014 elections. Their 54 Senate seats represent the second-best tally for the party since 1928. Their 247 House seats is the most the party has won since 1928, although when combined with the popular vote percentage, it drops to the second-highest since then (in 1946, the party did slightly better)....
At the state level, the GOP’s share of governorships is the ninth-highest since Reconstruction, and the third-highest in the post-war era (1996 and 1998 were higher). The party’s showing in state legislatures is the highest since 1920, the ninth-highest ever, and the third-highest since the end of Reconstruction.... Overall, this gives the Republicans [a high score on the Trende & Byler index]. This is the Republican Party’s best showing in the index since 1928, and marks only the third time that the party has been above [a much lower number] in the index since the end of World War II... [(T)he full trend, taken back to 1928 shows a GOP now in very a strong position].... [And] another good GOP year would give Republicans [an index value] which would represent their strongest showing since 1920. This is unsurprising: Winning three out of four elections (2010, 2014, 2016) should give [either] party such a result. A “so-so” year would likely result in some degradation in the party’s showing in the Senate, House and in state legislatures, but [the GOP] would still be at historic strength. On the other hand, a bad Republican year could place the party “in the red,” with its share of the presidential vote, Senate, House and state legislatures[, all] falling precipitously.... None of this is to say that Republicans are building a permanent majority of any sort. It is simply to say that when one takes account of the full political picture, the Republican Party is stronger than it has been in most of our readers’ lifetimes. This is important, and more analysis should take account of this fact.”
MY QUESTIONS ABOUT NATIONAL TRENDS AND THE CURRENT STATE OF THE BROOKLYN GOP COME DOWN TO THIS — WHY THE DISCONNECT ?I don’t intend to rehash any of what the “Real Clear Politics” authors had to say in their article about the present strength of the national GOP, and going forward presently. If I were to try, the resulting piece would be both more otiose and turgid than this article is already; and I wouldn’t do as good a job as Trende & Byler did, in explaining the statistical work that they performed or their responses to the critics of their work.
What I intend to do is this: to use the Trende & Byler article in “Real Clear Politics” as a foundation to state that nationally, the GOP is in as good a shape now, as it’s been in since Theodore Roosevelt was the President of the United States. Then I want to ask these two key questions: 1) Why do so many Republicans in Brooklyn feel as bad about national, state-wide and local politics as they do ? AND 2) Why is the Republican Party so weak and non-competitive in Brooklyn, New York, when it is arguably on the verge of some kind of dominance, or at least super-competitiveness, across the rest of the United States ?
Lately, there has been a lot frustration among Republicans in Brooklyn. As is often the case, in 2014 the great GOP tide that swept the nation from shore to shore hardly touched anything but a sliver of Brooklyn. For those in the Brooklyn GOP the year 2014 didn't even measure up to 2010. But even more than that, the frustration of GOP voters is being fueled by the split between Brooklyn's GOP State Senator Marty Golden and the Kings County Republican Party Chairman Craig Eaton. The frustration of GOP supporters and the weakness of the GOP at the polls is sort of a chicken-and-egg sort of thing. The solution to one problem will likely fix the other.
None of that will get better, however, if eruptions like the scandal surrounding Joseph Hayon's arrest, and the similar national scandal involving former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert keep popping up.
DO THE RECENT GOP SCANDALS AND OUR RESPONSES TO THEM SHOW SOME KIND OF “FATAL FLAW” IN OUR PARTY AND IN OUR “LEADERS” ? — AND, AS A RESULT — WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE — DOES EVERY GOP STORY HAVE TO END IN SOME KIND OF A “TRAGEDY”
HAYONMany followers of this blog had an up close and personal seat to the recent meltdown caused by the news of the arrest of Brooklyn social conservative, and Tea Party and Republican activist, Joseph Hayon. Mr. Hayon had been a long-time friend and contributor to this blog, and this blog did treat him very well over the years. I would maintain that all of that properly changed with the news of Hayon’s arrest. As followers of this blog know, not everybody agreed.
The Galewyn Massey “Brooklyn... Fountainhead” blog dispassionately reported factually upon Hayons’ arrest involving various charges connected to his personal indulgence in a certain kind of what is referred-to by some as “kiddy porn.” That approach to the “Hayon scandal” together with expressions of a sense of loss, and references to the whole thing and/or parts of it as a “tragedy,” exposed this blog and me to a barrage of criticism, invective and recrimination.
Also part of the Hayon-generated meltdown was a wave of criticism, invective and recrimination directed at various other Brooklyn Republican activists. The reporting and commentary appearing on this blog also unleashed an overly charged atmosphere of attacks, counter-attacks other assorted fury, principally between two factions of Brooklyn Republicans; with another bunch of sideliners apparently content with enjoying or lamenting the mud-fight among all of the fully engaged participants.
What was missing, with the possible exception of something mentioned below about a "radio" program, was any reference to a due diligence, screening process by the Kings County Republican Organization before it made somebody like Joseph Hayon a GOP endorsed candidate, which he was; or a higher than ordinary member of Republican County Organization.
HASTERTOn the national scene, the relatively newly disclosed Dennis Hastert scandal appears to be percolating to the surface quickly, with newer and more distressing revelations every day. I can only guess, right now, how far it’s all going to go. Because the Hastert matter covers a long period of time, a lot of money changing hands, and a Speaker of the House, Second in line for the presidency, this certainly looks like a much bigger deal on the national scene than Hayon’s ever did on the local.
Andrew Taylor writing in and for the “U.S. News and World Report” reminds us that “Dennis Hastert's career as House speaker both arose and ended amid the sex-related scandals of others...” (See “Dennis Hastert Allegations Stem from Sexual Misconduct – Hastert's speakership began and ended amid the scandals of others” by Andrew Taylor, 5/28/15, U.S. News/ Associated Press [http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/05/29/hastert-rose-to-speakership-among-the-scandals-of-others]).
That U.S. News article continues along the same line, as follows: “Now, eight years after leaving Congress, Hastert's own legacy is threatened by an indictment charging financial misdeeds — and cryptically referring to "misconduct" against an unnamed individual. A person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press Friday that Hastert paid the individual in an apparent effort to conceal decades-old allegations involving sexual misconduct.... Hastert was propelled to the speakership in 1998 on the tumultuous December day on which the House impeached President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair. During the raucous debate, the presumptive speaker, Bob Livingston of Louisiana, stunned the political world as he announced he would step down over revelations of his own marital infidelities.... Hastert rose from the junior ranks of leadership in large part because he was without controversy, unlike other contenders such as Tom DeLay, R-Texas, the politically toxic driving force behind Clinton's impeachment. Hastert was a behind-the-scenes operative whose political identity came from small-town Illinois, where he was a high school wrestling coach and teacher before serving in the state House and then Congress....”
Given all of that, somebody inside the Illinois GOP, the GOP House caucus and/or the National GOP must have known all of what was written above about Hastert, or a significant part of it.
If so, why wasn't something done about it earlier, And if not, why did they not ?
THERE DOES NEED TO BE SOME KIND OF VETTING AND INTERNSHIP, WITH SENIORS IN THE GOP SCREENING, TRAINING AND EVALUATING JUNIORS — BUT WHAT THAT PROCESS MIGHT ENTAIL IS NOT FOR ME TO SAYSomebody that I caned just a couple of days ago for sins committed on his “radio” program did make one good point on his most recent problematic show. It was about the “vetting” or other due diligence in reviewing prospective leaders, candidates and other spokespeople for political parties, PACs and other politically active committees and groups. What that program of screening and structured formation for future party leaders might look like is not something that I am equipped to provide at this time. Nor would I be in any position to effectuate such a program, even if I were to devise one.
However, if the local, state and national GOP does not implement reforms to vet or otherwise root out unworthy aspirants from the ranks of new and unknown candidates, activists seeking to rise in the party organization, and spokespersons and other representatives of the GOP to Republican voters and the public at large — it will be doomed to repeat putting forward candidates. party leaders, and high operatives and representatives, who have fatal flaws waiting to become manifest. Once such flawed people have become ensconced in the GOP apparatus as elected officials or party functionaries, any manifestation of significant inchoate flaws would likely result in a scandal with tragic consequences, both for the individual and the party.
USE THE PRESENT AND THE PAST TO HELP PREDICT THE FUTUREIt makes no difference if the scandal is sexual or something else, or if the names are Hayon or Hastert, or Grimm, or Fossella or Skelos, or Halloran III, or Tabone. or Haggerty, or Maltese, or Ognibene .... When people like these stumble and fall in a public way, it leaves the GOP a shambles, be it nationally, state-wide, or locally — and under such circumstances, you can count on the Democrats to make hay.
DEMOCRATS, CONSERVATIVES AND OTHER PARTIES JUST AS BADThe fact that this post focused on Republicans, in no way should be taken to demonstrate or imply that the same or worse things aren't going on inside the Democratic or Conservative Parties, or any of the others. Over the years, including presently there are plenty of Democrats and Conservative endorsed officials up to their necks in scandals.
Never forget that the Liberal Party of New York State went out of existence because of a large-scale corruption scandal involving the State Chairman and his son.