Tag Archives: peace

An Ode to Democratic Unity in Erie County

8 Jun

Not long ago,
King Andrew (Cuomo)
demanded unusual action.

He made it well known,
by mail and by phone,
all Dems ought to quiet their factions.

Sam, Mayor Byron,
the Steves, and the Brian
waged battles for numerous years.

But Cuomo, it’s said,
for Collins feels dread,
so time came for the air to be cleared.

A mediator arrived
from a party revived,
and he ordered the factions to talk.

That other King – Charlie
brought news from the party
and spoke with the various flocks.

Negotiations were held,
where some of them yelled –
and rancor? Oh, yeah, there was plenty.

As peace came within sight,
and the future looked bright,
the discussion became about Lenny.

Of fighting, he’s tired –
so he was inspired
to help bring the peace, and resigned.

The factions approved,
and then they were moved
to decide who should be next in line.

The names flew by fast,
and finally – at last,
a name on which they all could agree.

Before Lenny and Pigeon –
you’ll know him a smidgen,
A Crangle the chairman will be.

But this isn’t Joe,
who retired long ago,
It’s his nephew from fair Tonawanda.

John Crangle for chair?
Well everyone swears
He’s a guy Democrats are quite fond of.

This push to make peace
will piss off not least
Chris Collins, who kept Dems from uniting.

He had counted upon
his favorite con
To keep all the Democrats fighting.

But now, all has changed.
Deck chairs, rearranged.
No more mutinies on board this Bounty.

The battle ahead
will certainly spread
throughout all of the parts of the county.

Whyte? Clerk for her.
Comptroller to Schroeder.
And Bove has returned to the fold.

Redistricting fight?
It’s over, alright.
Even Pigeon is on board, I’m told.

So an era has ended,
and fences are mended.
Who knew? This could really get done!

The party’s united,
King Cuomo’s delighted,
now let’s finish what we’ve just begun.

With Charlie King helping,
and everyone begging
for me to stop writing this rhyme,

Poloncarz has the backing,
and nothing is lacking,
for peace to arrive in our time.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan at the 2010 Democratic State Convention


8 Jun

I have heard from several sources tonight that our long nightmare of Democratic factionalism is over.

I’ll expound later, but the deal appears to be sealed. Len Lenihan will resign as Chairman of the Democratic Party.  Sources say he will be replaced by John Crangle – Joe’s nephew, current Town Committee Chair in Tonawanda, who works for the Clerk’s office.

All of the various factions in Erie County have bought into this global settlement of all outstanding grievances. The Democratic Party, therefore, moves into the 2011 campaign season as a united front against Chris Collins and the Republicans.

This, folks, is huge.

UPDATE: The official word just came in:

Lenihan to Retire as Democratic Chairman

Erie County Democratic Chairman to Accept Senior State Democratic Committee Role

Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan today announced that he is retiring as County Chairman in late July and will accept a senior position with the New York State Democratic Committee.

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs announced today that winning the seven major county executive races this November is a top priority for the state party and that Lenihan has agreed to lead the state effort. “Coming off the incredible upset victory in the 26th Congressional special election, I can think of no one better for this important task,” said Jacobs.

“The state party is grateful to have him sprinkle the Lenihan magic around the state, and he will leave behind an Erie County Democratic Committee that is stronger than ever before” said Charlie King, Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Committee.

There are major county executive races this fall in Suffolk, Erie, Monroe, Broome, Dutchess, Ulster and Albany Counties which Lenihan will be involved in.

Lenihan, who was first elected Democratic Chairman in September 2002, said, “The Erie County Democratic Committee has accomplished so much in the past 9 years.  Serving our community and our party each and every day has been a privilege.  I have had the honor of working with some of the greatest community activists in the country, right here in Erie County.  Just last month we showed the world what we can do when we elected Kathy Hochul to Congress.”

Under Lenihan’s tenure as Chairman, 3 Democratic Members of Congress have been elected in WNY, 11 out of the last 13 State Supreme Court Justices have been elected as Democrats, Mark Poloncarz was elected and reelected as the first Democratic County Comptroller in over 30 years, and the first ever super-majority of Democratic Legislators were elected.

Lenihan said “Timing is everything and leadership requires us to make tough choices.  After consulting with my family and close friends, I have decided that now is the right time to hand over the reins of the County Committee to new leadership and to focus my efforts on this exciting new challenge. I will guide our Democratic Committee through the petitioning process and in late July 2011 I will retire as Chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee.”

Lenihan concluded, “I look forward in my new State Party role to helping Mark Poloncarz defeat Chris Collins in the fall and assisting our Party and community.”

Prior to becoming County Chairman in 2002, Lenihan served as Erie County Personnel Commissioner and, before that, as an Erie County legislator and Chairman of the Legislature.  His 9 year tenure makes him the longest serving Erie County Democratic Chairman since Joe Crangle left in 1988.


Obama in Cairo

5 Jun

The United States is again going to roll up its sleeves and try to mediate a difficult, bloody crisis that serves as the perpetual epicenter of strife and extremism in the Middle East, occasionally spilling out into the rest of the world.

Obama has put the brakes on our sometimes clumsy foreign policy by smart bomb, and is setting out a traditionally conservative blueprint for using our soft power to get the petulant, fighting kids to take a time out and cut it out.

And as a mediator, we can only maintain our credibility and bona fides if we tell each side something they want to hear, and something they don’t. We have to remind these parties that we have a special relationship with one of them, but that isn’t a license for Israel to behave badly. By the same token, the Arab states surrounding Israel need to clamp down on the extremists, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and renounce violence.

To the neoconservatives and Israeli right-wing and Islamic militants who are all having conniption fits, consider this:

President Obama assumed positions virtually identical to those of Israel’s political center –- namely, that the Palestinians must renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist, while Israel must cease settlement building and permit a Palestinian state to arise. Now, Benjamin Netanyahu’s problem is that it’s difficult to distinguish between President Obama and Tzipi Livni. And in Israel’s recent elections, Livni and her Kadima party won more votes than anyone else.

After all, if you mediate a settlement and each side doesn’t walk away angry that it didn’t get something it wanted, then one side got screwed. The fact that extremists are upset only underscores that Obama struck the right tone. The extremists make a lot of noise and embrace war, but little else.

Nothing else has worked. Telling each side the brutal truth is a good place to start.

Obama’s al-Arabiya Chat

27 Jan

The genius of that interview is that it permits Obama to speak directly to the average Muslim in the middle east who is just trying to go about his or her life, and reaffirm for them that America is not hostile to their interests, and wants to insure a better life for all Muslim and Jewish kids in that region.

The past hasn’t worked, so let’s get beyond it and try something new and different. It says, stop this extremist shit and everyone can have a better future – not just your side. In so doing, it gives the mass of non-political, non-extremist people in the region a voice. Maybe not a domestic one, but a voice nonetheless.

It was a true and direct message of peace and moderation that transcends the hyperactive politics of the dictators and demagogues throughout that region.

Maybe after 9/11/08, Everything Changes

11 Sep

A new local blog I stumbled upon today is called “Be the Change“, which offers some sentiments that I’ve been contemplating throughout the last couple of days:

I think my instincts were right…

Those that threw the most mud are going home.

Hmmm…maybe we are on to something here? What do you think?


I believe, as I have said before, that Obama has shown that you can stay positive, you can keep to the high road, and not come across as weak. You can counter attacks without attacking candidates personally and remain strong.

So when the local politicians don’t follow that model, the voters are pushing back. They are saying – we have had enough. It doesn’t have to be like that.

I can’t tell you how many people over the past two days have said to me “if I hear from this campaign again, I am not going to vote for your candidates”. And these are identified prime voter, supporters. You expect to hear it once or twice – but not again and again.

It’s a lesson folks – people are pushing back. They want politicians who will take the high road. They are done with the personal negative attacks. They are not going to take it anymore.

I think there’s negative and there’s negative.

And some people just deserve it, as I think Jack Davis did during the primary. I told someone today that although Jon Powers not getting the nomination was a loss, the fact that Davis’ political career is over means I’m batting .500. But I’m not a candidate. I’m a commentator.

Today, to commemorate 9/11, the McCain and Obama campaigns called a truce, and the two men vying to be President prayed together at Ground Zero.

I wonder if they had a friendly conversation, Senator to Senator, and pledged to tone down the nonsense and compete on issues. I wonder if they pledged to criticize each other’s policies and voting records, but to keep the extraneous noise to a minimum? They are both running to change Washington. They are both running on a platform of change. A campaign worthy of them, and of us, would be a great start towards change, indeed.

We may differ on taxation, the wars, spending, trade, and other issues. But we’re all Americans – and not just on 9/11.

Image via NYT