Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why Are These People Even Here?

The Working Families Party has decided to endorse Bill Thompson for Mayor. It was disconcerting to see it was even considering Mayor Bloomberg. The party was conceived as an alternative to the Liberal Party, which Ed Koch characterized as "slime." The Liberal Party famously endorsed Jacob Javits the year Al D'Amato knocked him off the Republican line, and enabled 18 years of Senator Al (who Koch staunchly supported).

Here in Nassau, County Executive Tom Suozzi managed to win despite the Working Families Party having endorsed and run his primary opponent. Suozzi managed to break a decades-old political machine, and it was unconscionable that Working Families didn't help him. I haven't voted on their line since. Though it didn't happen in this case, who needs another spoiler to help the Republicans?

That's why it's interesting that WFP offers its endorsement before the Democrats select their candidate, allowing for precisely such things to happen. If they really don't want to be the slimy Liberal Party, why do they do that? And why should Democrats support them if they do?

Another interesting development is that the United Federation of Teachers declined to make an endorsement, despite Thompson's vocal support for initiatives of UFT interests. For those of us who've been speculating that part-time UFT President Randi Weingarten had already made a contract deal with the mayor, this (along with the reprehensible op-eds Ms. Weingarten wrote supporting mayoral control) was just further fuel to the fire. All I can say is this contract had better be a real humdinger if we're not going to work against the man who's done everything in his power to undermine and privatize public education in Fun City (and odds are it isn't, considering it never is).

There's still a primary, and Tony Avella will face Thompson. Avella actually opposes the cancerous charters that Bloomberg favors, rather than simply adopting Ms. Weingarten's positions, such as they are. Whatever the outcome, what is the advantage of the WFP committing to place a name on their ballot when it's possible that name might not represent the nominee?

In other words, who needs the Working Families Party?
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