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September 16, 2011

Assessing a Body Blow

Joe Charlebois

The first heavyweight uppercut of Election 2012 was delivered by the electorate in Queens and Brooklyn this week. It has left the White House and Democrat leadership staggering and in deep need of smelling salts.


Bob Turner won the special election on Tuesday for the 9th District of New York, but is it as they say “insignificant?”


Insignificant is what the White House’s official response was. Really? The district, which has had Republican representation in the House of Representatives for a grand total of six years since 1874, has turned the district on its head.


How insignificant was it? Let’s find out.


Prior to the Tuesday’s election, the district had returned former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) to Congress for a seventh time. His opponent in 2010’s balloting was this same Bob Turner. Soon-to-be Congressman Turner, a retired cable television executive and political neophyte, managed to garner only 39.2% of the vote in 2010 in an election that produced a landslide level turnover in the House of Representatives in favor of the Republican Party, not the Democrats.


Prior to Anthony Weiner’s 12-plus years of representation, the district sent Charles Schumer (D) to Washington to represent them. Mr. Schumer, of course, left the House of Representatives to run for the United States Senate. He was just elected to the Senate for a third time in 2010. Of the three races for his present seat the closest was his first. In that election he ran against three term incumbent Alphonse D’Amato (R). Senator Schumer won by 11%.


After the resignation of Brooklyn born-Rep. Weiner – a former aide to Senator Schumer – the Democrat establishment had little concern that they would lose the 9th District to Bob Turner. After all Bob Turner is the Republican who lost his bid for the House of Representatives to Mr. Weiner by a greater than 20% margin just last year. The district’s demographics show that Democrats hold a 3-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans, and it is a district with one of the largest percentages of both Reform and Orthodox Jews in any one Congressional District in the United States.


Mr. Turner who is a Roman Catholic; his Democrat opponent David Weprin is an Orthodox Jew. Both are natives of Queens. One would think that given the fact that Mr. Weprin is a legacy in New York politics – his father was New York Assembly Speaker and he is brother to New York City Councilmember Mark Weprin – and that he is a current Assembly member representing the 24th District of New York in Albany, it would make this election as easy as an uncontested layup.


Then the craziest thing happened. Mr. Weprin lost. His support of same-sex marriage in New York and his support of Park 51, also known as “the Cordoba House” or “ground-zero mosque,” turned off a great number of would-be supporters in the liberal but yet religiously conservative district.


The left, which crowed about how meaningful the special election was when Christopher Lee (R) resigned from New York’s 26th District and Democrat Kathy Hochul won in a four-way race for the open seat with just 47.23% of the vote, is now – as would be expected – downplaying Mr. Turner’s win on Tuesday.


There will be significant repercussions to this election as the hardened ideologues in the White House and the Democratic Party are in for a rude awakening next November. Because of this special election, they need to dismiss the 9th New York District results as a fluke and misrepresent what actually happened.


Behind closed doors in strategy sessions, they still don’t’ realize that their overreach of progressive policies, Keynesian economic failures and hostility toward our closest allies can turn even the bluest House seat into one that is scarlet red.


In the future if the Democrats and, in particular, President Barack Obama and Democrat Party Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D, FL20th ) insist on leading with their chin, the Republican opposition will indeed continue to corner them and land blow after blow until the American people step in and call the fight in November of 2012.


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