Wednesday, January 29, 2014

THIS IS WHY THERE SHOULD BE A PLAUSIBLE DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER IN EVERY RACE

Perhaps you know about this already:
Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm physically threatened NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto at the conclusion of an interview in the Capitol Rotunda following Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

Grimm's threats came at the end of a brief interview in which he discussed the president's speech, calling the address "divisive."

Scotto then tried to ask the congressman about the ongoing federal investigation into his 2010 campaign fundraising....

"I'm not speaking to you off-topic, this is only about the president," said Grimm, before walking off camera.

... But as the camera continued to roll, Grimm walked back up to Scotto and began speaking to him in a low voice.

... Grimm: "Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f-----g balcony."

Scotto: "Why? I just wanted to ask you..."

... Grimm: "No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
Grimm followed up with a statement that didn't even include a pro forma apology, and made reference to the reporter's lack of "respect."

Good thing Michael Grimm is white, or people might call him a "thug."

Grimm was elected to Congress in the tea party wave of 2010. He was reelected in 2012 despite the fact that the corruption allegations in question were hanging over his head.

Such as? I listed them in a post I wrote shortly before Election Day in 2012:
He has, um, a few blemishes on his record:
The New York Republican enlisted a well-connected Israeli citizen, Ofer Biton, during his 2010 campaign. Mr. Biton allegedly helped candidate Grimm solicit large sums from donors, including several pornography distributors, frequently breaking campaign contribution limits in the process, all in the hope that, once in office, Rep. Grimm would help him procure a green card.
And:
... the New York Times and Post reported that the ex-business partner of New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm has close ties to the imprisoned don of the Gambino crime family, according to federal prosecutors. The old partner, whom Grimm started a restaurant with in 2006 after ending his colorful career as an undercover FBI agent, reportedly visits Anthony "Fat Tony" Morelli in prison and calls the crime boss his "uncle."
And:
Rep. Michael Grimm's former fund-raiser who is currently fighting immigration fraud charges was a suspect in a major ecstasy drug investigation, federal officials announced last week
So why did Grimm win that 2012 race, in a district that went to Obama? Well, maybe because the best the Democrats could do for a challenger was a crooked politician's son who wouldn't campaign, and who had a mockable past:
Mark Murphy, the Democratic challenger ..., is a congressman's son, a fourth-generation Staten Islander, and handsome enough to have enjoyed a minor career in television....

[But he] has held few news conferences, is rarely spotted at the ferry terminal, and is still trying to introduce himself to the 13th District....

"People are asking me, 'Who is the Democrat running in the congressional race?'" said Vincent J. Gentile, a Democratic city councilman from Bay Ridge who supports Mr. Murphy. "That's probably the question I get asked the most."

... Videos posted to YouTube -- and linked from a Grimm campaign site -- include snippets from his Hollywood days. In one, labeled "Mark Murphy Gets Clubbed by a Blonde," a bikini-clad woman swats him over the head with a wooden two-by-four. "Hey Mark," reads a caption, "did you win an Emmy for that?"

... Mr. Murphy also has to grapple with the legacy of his father, John M. Murphy, who represented Staten Island in Congress for nearly 20 years before serving a 20-month prison sentence in the 1980s after he was convicted in a corruption scandal. The two remain close, and Mr. Murphy wears his father's lapel pin, with a facsimile of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, as a good-luck charm.
There's a lesson here, and it extends beyond Grimm's district: Democrats should run a plausible candidate in every House and Senate race. I don't mean that the party should throw money away in unwinnable contests. I mean that the party should be ready with a plausible alternative whenever a Republican takes dead aim at his or her own foot.

Because that's a very, very serious risk for Republicans.

Republicans live in their own bubble, where they get used to communicating with one another in ways that they consider perfectly acceptable, but many of the rest of us consider shocking. Whether it's this sort of Roger Ailes-esque tough-guy talk, or discussions of rape and reproduction a la Todd Akin and Mike Huckabee, or racist tweets and text and emails, Republicans are in the habit of going over the line, and not prepared for the fact that people outside the right-wing bubble notice these communications at campaign time. And if it's not a seasoned Republican incumbent in a safe red district, it could be a loose-tongued tea party upstart who defeated that Republican in a primary and doesn't know when to shut up.

So be ready to take advantage. Run a real candidate wherever possible, not a Mark Murphy.

Not only that, but Americans is telling pollsters that they're so angry right now they want to vote their own representatives out of Congress, at rates not seen even in past moments of anti-incumbent anger. So take advantage, Democrats. Try to score some upsets.

And run some fresh faces -- why shouldn't our side have a tea party, too?

****

ALSO: There's this, which (allegedly) happened a year after Grimm was reelected:
A Republican congressman spent the Friday before the government shutdown drinking and behaving boorishly at a constituent bar in Brooklyn, two witnesses told us -- including disappearing into a restroom with a woman for at least 15 minutes. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, spent the evening at the Bay Ridge bar with two couples and a woman in whose back pocket he repeatedly placed his hand, and whose ass he slapped more than once, the witnesses said....

The three couples also each slipped in turn into the bar's only restroom, including the congressman and his female companion, who stayed in there together for "a long fucking time," one witness said -- 15 minutes or more, so long that people at the bar were talking about it. "I was surprised someone so sleazy could be a congressman," one witness said....

(Via Kalli Joy Gray.)

****

UPDATE: Grimm gets around to apologizing.

7 comments:

Victor said...

Grimm was acting like one of the Soprano's last night!

And yeah, I've ALWAYS said that Democrats need to provide viable alternative in EVERY race!

But then, so have you, Steve.

Ten Bears said...

Thug? No, punk. Snot-nosed fucking punk.

Someone a head taller than me invades my space to physically threaten me would get punched in the throat so hard that if it doesn't kill it* it would never speak again.

Yes, "it". It isn't human. It is less than human. Less than suffeciently evolved. Ask a combat vet sometime why.

No fear.

Roger said...

The Grimm Freeper.

(And there are even Freepers who think that Grimm went too far. Among the many who thought he didn't go far enough.)

aimai said...

Wasn't Grimm one of the congressmen who behaved so badly on a trip to Israel a year or so ago? Why, yes!


The FBI is indeed interested in a trip that House Republicans made to Israel last summer. But it's not because Kansas Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder took his pants off and jumped into the Sea of Galilee after a night of drinking.

Law enforcement sources -- noting that skinny-dipping usually doesn't fall under the FBI's purview -- pointed TPM to a New York Times story from earlier this month about a trip to Cyprus that Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) made following his August venture to Israel alongside several colleagues.

Politico, which first reported the skinny-dipping anecdote, said the FBI "looked into whether any inappropriate behavior occurred, but the interviews do not appear to have resulted in any formal allegations of wrongdoing."
But FBI agents were actually interested in Grimm's failure to file paperwork related to his trip to Cyprus following his Israeli junket, which had been paid for by the Cyprus Federation of America. The president of that company was arrested on federal corruption charges in June. Grimm had reported the Israel trip in his initial filing in May but did not list the trip to Cyprus until he amended it in June, one day after Cyprus Federation of America's president was arrested.

aimai said...

Also I'd like to point out that the guy is from Staten Island--if they can find a good person, let alone a good democrat, to run in Staten Island I'd be very surprised.

The New York Crank said...

Staten Islanders are a different breed of New Yorkers. I can remember getting taken there by my father when I was a child and seeing a goat tethered at the edge of a vegetable farm. This was within the boundaries of the City of New York. If you consider Staten Island part of the city.

New York generally votes Democraticd, except for Staten Islanders, who vote for the guy whose knuckles do the best job of scraping the ground. Until about 1960 they had no land bridge to any part of the city (although other bridges connect Staten Island to Noo Joisey.)

Once the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn was constructed, builders started throwing up houses which were purchased by what the "Islanders" called, with a sneer, "Brooklyn people." But evidently not enough Brooklyn people. Either that, or something about the air in Staten Island changes the brain.

How do I know all this? I once had a girlfriend who grew up on Staten Island. Once of her childhood friends tawked like dis. I asked her why she spoke that way.

"Oh, I yoost ta tawk nawmal," she said, "but all the udder kids in high school made fun of me and beat me up, so I loined ta tawk like dem."

And she went on. "Now dey are jealous becawse my husband gave me a fuh coat."

No wonder a guy like Grimm can win elections there. Expect him to win again, if he isn't in prison.

Yours crankily,
The Noo Yawk Crank

Maureen Donohue said...

I am an elderly Staten Island resident who has lived on SI for over 40 years and I love Staten Island. The fact that its politics are run by old mafia real estate moguls is a huge source of grief to me. But the recent destruction of our neighborhoods has has more to do with the Republican mayors of the last 30 years and their affiliation with the landed crooks in this borough. As for why the many decent Staten Islanders (with brains) don't fight back - the reason is why the majority of Americans aren't fighting back the new feudal age of the rich - hopelessness, poverty and the ignorance of the young who think a computer will solve their lives. It's a tragedy. In the meantime Staten Island has the greatest parks - small streets & neighborhoods - pretty beaches - landmark houses and a rich history. I wouldn't trade it for Brooklyn and I can't afford to live in Manhattan. Only part of Staten Island is corrupted by old mafia dons and closeness to New Jersey. There are a lot of other residents who would like to be proud of our forgotten borough.