The Heartbeat of America is the Electorate–Ignore it at Your Peril

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 WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2013 News and Comment By John F. Bailey. November 6, 2013:

Robert Astorino won going away over Noam Bramson whose concession speech resonated with the self-pity typical of a candidate who felt he was entitled to the job and had expected to win.

He should have won. He was groomed to win. He was the darling of the Democratic Party machine. He placed his campaign in the hands of the Democratic National Committee based in Washington who talked about everything but local issues.

Bramson seemed all along to not make adjustments in this campaign he stayed on all the way even when it was obviously not resonating with the voters of his own party.

He came across to me as not a take-charge guy. He came across in debates with Mr. Astorino as a man without the courage of his convictions, and quite frankly, someone who was watching things in New Rochelle not doing things. He never defended his record or why New Ro taxes had to go up. Mr. Astorino was killing him on that tax record and the political geniuses in Washington did not adjust. Why? Because they did not know anything about the local county issues. The Democratic Party thinks its license to tax is given to them by God.

This is a dousing of cold water. Even with the endorsements of Andrew Cuomo, St. William Clinton and Senator Charles Schumer, made no difference with Mr. and Mrs. Westchester.

The Astorino message hammered home his record of lowering taxes slightly. It worked. Very reminiscent of the George Bush campaign of 1988 remember  “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

This means, and this is a bitter pill for Democrats, they have to move their philosophies more to the center and right. That is a kick in the head to the mantra of help, compassion, money for nothing, cash for concrete, Commissionerships, Deputy Commissionerships, Deputy to the Deputy Commissionerships, and Administrative Commissioners to Commissionerships.

Is this a vote against the unfortunate and helping people?  No.

It is a cry for help from the middle class that says we can’t afford a thousand dollars a year in tax increases. It is a demand that politicians stop invoking IITRTD “it is the right thing defense” to justify more partronage jobs and programs.

That of course has not filtered down to White Plains yet, where the Mayor Tom Roach has won with 78% of the vote, and the White Plains Rollover-the-Budget Common Council was returned intact . By “rollover the budget” I mean running budgets that did not cut for the last four years.

Council members, John Martin, Beth Smayda and John Kirkpatrick were elected by a 20% to 14% margin over three challengers .  There is unrest out there though. White Plains elected officials now have this smug sense of endorsement from the voters.

Claudia Murphy hopefully, the closest challenger to the affable John Kirkpatrick, is all the Republican Party has to start rebuilding the shambles the County Republican Party has made of its White Plains organization. In order to challenge, you have to lead. Murphy hopefully will stay in as the loyal opposition. Encarnacao the other candidate is to be saluted for  being mad as Hell and not  taking the taxing  any  more.

The tax pain in White Plains is not severe enough yet apparently to afflict the powerful and the comfortable. The disenfranchised voter must continue to afflict the powerful and the comfortable. However, they have no one to blame but themselves because 70% of registered voters stayed home and did not vote in White Plains.

Other big losers were Working Families Party and Indepenence Party. As it turns out, all their “support” did nothing for Noam Bramson. Those parties are not relevant.

The victory of Benjamin Boykin over Miriam Levitt-Flisser in District 5 a strong candidate indicates to me that the touchy-feely message Boykin articulated is not without effect. Boykin’s laid back personality and sense of what is right that he delivers so well and earnestly resonated with White Plains.

I hope he develops more an edge on the County Board of Legislators, asks more questions, demands more answers earlier on issues than he has shown in the past. If anything, the County Board does not ask enough questions or demand enough information. It is the hot air Board.

The Playland and the Affordable Housing Settlement  festering issues are a good example of what he should be asking questions about starting now. You have a new political life, Ben Boykin, feel empowered The Board of Legislators needs a bulldog, not a politician.

What can we say about the next four years of Robert P. Astorino? Will he hold the line on taxes, can the Board of Legislators stay out of the courts with Astorino? Can they work harder? More to the point, how much lower can the taxes get? Can patronage be stopped, probably not.

Another comment on this election: it shows that the electorate is not as gullible as politicians think it is. Noam Bramson thought he’d walk in on his registration alone. He did not take control of his destiny. He did not recognize the need to defend his record.  If you cannot tell what would have happened if you did not raise taxes, then the electorate cannot understand why you did raise taxes. A real leader justifies his or her performance. As Bill Parcels once said, “You are what your record says you are.”

Rob Astorino’s campaign ran on his record and the voting public liked it.

On the propositions in play, casino gambling is coming to New York at our peril. Will the misery inflicted on the public by this insidious industry be worth the revenue? And the public in its wisdom, saw no need to keep judges on the bench past the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Watching the returns roll in on the Board of Elections website last night, encountering Rob Astorino in a White Plains  parking lot, well it always makes me tear-up about how great free elections and the right to vote are.

Nowhere in the world is the voter and the leader closer than in this country. You meet them in diners, they are your neighbors. And when you stop feeling my leader is just like me and you are concerned about me, that bond that confidence is gone forever.

The politician has to get out there and lead by finding out how he and she is really doing in their eyes.

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