2011-09-09 / Columnists

The Rockaway Beat

The Least Objectionable Candidates
Commentary By Howard Schwach

Years ago, when television was called “a vast wasteland,” before cable and all of the new media, there was a study to see what people watched on a weekly basis.

Many of the people surveyed said that they kept the television on when there was really nothing on that they wanted to see.

That led to the concept of “Least Objectionable Program,” or LOP.

Today, we have the LOCs running in the special election coming up next Tuesday, September 13.

We could have had real candidates, candidates that I could support, but the political bosses got together with Governor Andrew Cuomo and decided that the electorate was too stupid to picks its own candidates, and that those bosses had to pick the candidates for us.

So, we got four people whom the bosses love, but the electorate largely would like to ignore.

Take a look at the quick biographies of the four candidates, at least from my perspective.

Understand, that when I was growing up here in Rockaway, I was rather liberal, in a vague sort of way – not flaming liberal, but more moderate.

In my first vote at age 21 (you had to be 21 to vote in those good, old days), I cast my vote in 1960 for John F. Kennedy.

I voted the straight Democratic ticket for many elections after that, but after some years of teaching in Rockaway schools and a better understanding of politics, it moved to the center and perhaps to the right of center.

So, that’s probably my political philosophy now and I think many people of my generation (pre-baby boomer) feel the same way.

So, having said that, my major objection about the coming special election is that the electorate did not get to choose the candidates.

My second objection is that I can’t really vote for any of the candidates, and I’ll tell you why.

I personally interviewed each of them for the report we published in the August 12 edition of The Wave. I sat across the table from each of them and asked questions. I listened to their answers and took note. At my age, and with my experience, I have a pretty good BS meter, and I have to tell you that none of them made a great impression.

The Democrats first.

Phillip Goldfeder (he won’t use his real first name because it is too Jewish) is a nice kid. He is a kid. I have socks older than him. He is more moderate than what you would expect from an Orthodox Jew, but that might well be campaign hype. The problem is, he has real political experience, but no practical experience, what I call “real-world experience.” He comes from an insular community that holds itself off from the rest of us. When I asked him what real experience he had in either his schooling or a career, he said that “public service” was his career, a political answer that didn’t satisfy me or anybody else in the room. As an educator whose seminal issue is public education, I cannot vote for anybody who never went to public school nor would ever send his kids to public school. He has all the right answers to all the right questions, but you get the feeling they are rote, coming from his previous political masters, and not from him.

David Weprin is also a nice man who has the political shtick down to a science. He hit all the right points, but he doesn’t live in the district and probably would not have known Rockaway if he tripped over it before this election campaign. He is apparently the party choice because he will go quietly back into his tent when the 9th District is redistricted out of existence in a year of so. He supports all of the traditional liberal issues, which is fine, because I support them as well, but there is something missing. He is so boring that the Daily News editorial cartoon last week posited that if you had a problem sleeping, you should listen to Weprin speak. I wish we could bring back Tony Weiner, who might have been a sexual deviate, but was not a crook like many of our other politicians and did a lot for Rockaway. It’s apparent that being a crook is OK, but being a sexual deviate is not.

Now, for the Republicans.

Jane Deacy has the real world experience that I am looking for, having been a police officer. She lives in Breezy Point, however, a gated community that excludes lots of people by demanding that three present residents sign off on any new resident. That’s within the law and I don’t fault her for living there because that is her business, but I don’t want somebody who lives there to represent me. I don’t even go to the restaurants there because I don’t want to go through passport control in my own city. Besides, she stands for everything I oppose – she’s for teaching intelligent design in the public schools, she’s opposed to same sex marriage and abortion and in favor of school vouchers for parochial school parents. She toes the Tea Party line, and that is something I personally can’t abide.

Bob Turner also lives in Breezy Point. He was a television producer and one of his shows was the Jerry Springer show, probably the worst show ever seen on television. He is Tea Party all the way, stating, not in Rockaway, but in the National Review, that he would cut all spending by 35 percent. He wants to cut the education department and the energy department because he does not like either business or education regulated by government. He has big bucks invested in energy stock at the same time he lobbies to give them a tax break. I could never vote for him no matter where he came from.

That’s it. My choices, the LOC. Go vote on Tuesday, and make sure it’s for the Democratic team. They might not be the best, but they’re a lot better than the Republicans.

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