Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Selective Outrage

The mysterious effort of the NY State Democratic Party to try to give the impression that it is moving to oust State Senator Pedro Espada from its ranks should be exposed for what it is-a cheap trick that is designed, in Machiavellian fashion, to appear good rather than to be good. No neutral observer believes that the effort has any real chance of success, and so it remains as just an example of posturing so phony that even the NY Daily News editorialists, a prime example of Espada bashers as you'll ever find, see through it, as a ruse to enhance the party's image.

But, what the editorial fails to question is why Espada is the party's only target-after all, if you are looking for alleged malfeasance in this cohort of pols, you'd have to agree it is a target rich environment. Espada amigo Ruben Diaz Sr, raises this issue over at Daily Politics: "Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, Chairman of the New York State Senate Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus, issued the following statement in response to media reports that the State Democratic Party is attempting to oust New York State Senator Pedro Espada. “I am troubled to learn that despite scandals and investigations surrounding several Democratic leaders in the New York State Senate, an effort is underway to oust Senator Pedro Espada, the only Hispanic under investigation, from the Democratic Party. The selective prosecution by the State Democratic Party of Senator Pedro Espada - the only Hispanic under investigation - should not be tolerated."

Selective indeed. For instance, the long list of potential crimes and misdemeanors of the ousted chair of the House Ways and Means Committee-the legendary Charlie Rangel-was met with no stern party response. On the contrary, he has been lionized, and will run for re-election with the support of a whole host of Democratic elected officials. After all, someone who has manged to live in four rent stabilized apartments-taking space away from someone who really night need a place to live-does deserve at least some obloquy, no?

And don't get us started on the Queens Democrats-a party that seems to be a half way house for the state pen. So, there is something to the Diaz complaint. Even more so, when you consider that none of the other targeted or convicted politicians have ever in their life provided doctors for a poor under served community-and in the case of Tony Semenerio, attempted to rip off the local hospitals out of sheer envy.

Soon it will be primary season, and their are at least three challengers vying for Espada's seat. Let the people of his Bronx district decide if he's worthy of retaining the post-not some here today, gone tomorrow party functionary who has never stood for election in his life. State Dems have already ousted one Hispanic pol-after sending Hiram Monserrate home last spring. It's time that it concentrated on the larger problems facing Albany-out of control pensions and a public debt that threatens to submerge the state in bankruptcy.

In this context, the attack on Espada is one of simple misdirection-a ritual process designed by those who need a public scapegoat for their own failures to right the NY ship of state. It's time for a serious policy discussion with the voters, the Espada contretemps only sidetracks us from the important issues of the day.