Monday, October 28, 2019

Dirty Politics in Hudson

Over the years, Hudson politics has seen a lot of shenanigans--getting a candidate's husband stopped for DWI on the Friday before Election Day, commandeering an opponent's independent party line, and the perennial and pervasive tradition of stealing campaign signs. This weekend, Hudson saw a new kind of dirty politics, directed at two Democrats--Rob Bujan and Rich Volo--who, having been cross endorsed by Hudson Republicans, chose to stay in the race after losing the Democratic primary. 

On Saturday, placards appeared on Warren Street linking Bujan and Volo with Donald Trump and two of the most heinous incidents of his administration: the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and migrant children separated from their parents and kept in "cages" at the border.

 

On Sunday afternoon, Tom DePietro released a statement denying any involvement with what he called the "nasty signs":
I want to make clear: I had no prior knowledge of and in no way approve of some nasty signs posted around town linking Rob Bujan with Donald Trump. I couldn't care less what lines he runs on. I'm on the Democratic line because I won a Democratic primary by a considerable margin. I've also asked Rob to reconsider his claim that I somehow have engaged in "dirty tricks." I have not and I will not.
To Gossips' knowledge, neither of Volo's opponents has made a public statement about the signs.

There has been nastiness in Hudson politics in the past. One year, a mayoral candidate was depicted on a mailer from the opposition with a long Pinocchio nose, and a candidate for Council president was shown as a marionette with someone unseen pulling the strings. But never before has the partisan acrimony that exists in national politics been dragged into local politics to imply that two progressive Democrats have somehow undergone an ideological transformation and become quintessential Trumpists, with all the deplorable traits that implies, simply because their names appear on Row B on the ballot.

It is often argued that local elections should be nonpartisan, and, according to the National League of Cities, in 22 of the 30 most populous cities in the country, they are. One of the arguments for partisan local elections is that, without party labels, voters must know the candidates in order to have a meaningful basis for casting a ballot. Surely, in a city of 6,200, knowing the candidates, what they have achieved and what they stand for, and voting for a candidate and not a party is not too much to ask.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CAROLE OSTERINK

25 comments:

  1. Not familiar with the DWI incident, but if it was intoxication then wasn't it deserved? That would belong in the self-goal category.

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    1. It was a totally targeted strategy.

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    2. I wasn't deserved. It was a setup. That's why I mentioned it as an example of past election shenanigans.

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    3. You'd have to accept the results of a breathalyzer test, so I'll conclude (tentatively) that the DWI was not empirically based.

      Otherwise, targeted or not ...

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    4. As I recall, the newspaper report made no mention of a breathalyzer. The police lay in wait for him to leave a restaurant, then followed him, and stopped him when he allegedly crossed the center line on his way home. That's what was reported in the newspaper. As you well know, there are no center lines on most streets in Hudson. If you are really interested, you can look it up. It would have appeared in the paper on November 6, 1995, and as I recall it was on the front page.

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  2. These flyers are absolutely disgusting!
    What an awful person to have done such a despicable act.

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  3. This comment was submitted by email:

    I have been laughing at the posturing and handwringing by newcomers to Hudson who seem not to have experienced an election here before. Hudson has a long tradition of races being won by one, or very few, votes. Around here candidates try to get as many lines as possible. In 2017, Tom DePietro and Kamal Johnson, among others, had the Republican, Conservative and other lines. So, according to the latest cries of outrage, they were Republicans (or Conservatives) in the last election and now somehow have switched to Democrats? Horrors!!! Linda Mussman ran her three unsuccessful campaigns for Mayor on her own party lines running against Democrat and Republican endorsements! Shocking!!! For 2019 we have only three contested races: Common Council President, Second Ward Supervisor and Fourth Ward Aldermen. Let’s try to get more contestants on the ballot rather than fewer.

    I believe in freedom of choice. If we were to decide all of our races at the Democratic Primary we’d be denying a lot of the residents of Hudson an opportunity to vote unless they are registered Democrats. June was a long time ago. I like having a choice of candidates and lines to vote on for all. Given some of the actions by the presumed favorites, I’m glad I have a choice.

    Fear tactics by a marketing expert don’t impress me. It’s easy to cut and paste, taking actions out of context, to make a candidate look bad. The very person who would have you worry about gentrification and Hudson becoming the Hamptons bought a house on Worth Avenue for $700,000 and now has it for sale for $795,000! Who is interested in making a profit here and furthering the Hamptons image?

    These window signs are heartbreaking. Members of our community who have contributed from their hearts for years are being slandered and vilified. This isn’t a laughing matter any more it’s just cruel.

    Sarah Sterling

    Minority Leader

    Supervisor First Ward Hudson

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  4. Hudson had a six times mayor who would run on any ticket available.

    It was then that I learned there was no serious party affiliation necessary here.

    The objective is to get on the ballot come hell or high water regardless !

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  5. Most likely the acts of the "activist" political machine and/or it's public relations/marketing manager or their "soldiers" that are slowly infiltrating city government that they hopefully want to control. Talk about Trumpism!!! Vote for the person, not the party!

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  6. Kudos to Tom DePietro for promptly and emphatically speaking up to repudiate and disavow any connection to these smear tactics. Other candidates in this year's local primaries and elections would do well to learn from his example.

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    1. Kudos, certainly, but an equally suitable answer is: 'What does it have to do with me?'

      There's something to be said for flat out refusing the manipulations of trolls.

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  7. Such thoughtless attacks on neighbors. Whomever is responsible for this should stand up and take responsibility, and offer a sincere apology. This "win at all costs" philosophy is right out of the Trumpian playbook: say whatever works and damn who it hurts or, in this case who and what: the besmirched candidates and our polity.

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    1. Who in Hudson has a playbook filled with smears, exploitation of working-class communities for personal gain, divisive demagoguery, claims of victimization, and rampant self-dealing?

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  8. But there's a humorous aspect that's missing in all the outrage. It's that the "two progressive Democrats" (as described in the above post) circumvented their losses in the primary by borrowing Republican and Conservative clothes to run again in the general election.

    If either or both of these "progressive Democrats" represents the interests of the GOP then that's terrific, let's hear it. My mind is wide open.

    Since Hudson has no Republican Committee - its erstwhile Chairman missing at both his addresses - the endorsement must have come from the County GOP, whose Chairman, Greg Fingar, describes the mission as "Electing people who support smaller government and lower taxes, retaining existing private sector jobs and seeking new opportunities to create a sustainable tax base."

    When you read through the lines that's not exactly "progressive Democrat."

    So to now feign surprise being identified with the allegedly evil opposition rings a bit hollow. If these candidates aren't really Republican and conservative - yes, a big IF - then they've been bitten by their own cynicism having rejected the results of the primaries.

    Thus the phrase, He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon.

    The more I think about it the less sympathetic I've become. In a way, this is what you signed up for.

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  9. What scurrilous flyers. Disgusting behaviour. It makes me want to vote for them just because of it. There will be a backlash as anyone who has one grain of sense would know it was rubbish.

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  10. Showing Rob & Rich with Trump is a farce. The president would never embrace these gentlemen, nor would they him. I'm waiting for the proud producer of the signs to take credit for their work, but not holding my breath.

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    1. Not that Rob or Rich would ever condone such a thing, but it's not impossible this was a false flag operation. That occurred to me when you wrote "farce."

      It happens all the time because it makes the opposition look like they'd actually condone such behavior.

      We've already seen the predictable "backlash" in this thread.

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    2. Rob & Rich have more integrity than to stoop to that level.
      It's not inconceivable to believe the opposition wouldn't condone such behavior.

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  11. I'm increasingly convinced this was a hoax. Hasn't that occurred to anyone else?

    First of all, it's so over the top. In a small community that doesn’t even have a Republican Committee how was tying the targeted candidates to a mostly despised POTUS really going to harm them? The only harm would come to those who were framed, as we've seen in this thread.

    False flag actions are now happening so often that the public's gullibility is wearing thin. Check out this website that tracks fake hate crimes alone, at least the ones that are exposed: http://fakehatecrimes.org/

    This was a hoax in which the candidates themselves were had. None of them "stooped" to anything, and all of them still have the right to ask, "What does this have to do with me?"

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  12. Looking at hate hoaxes nationwide - sort of a cousin to what happened here - it turns out that most of them occur in the New York area.

    Fakehatemap.com charts proven hoaxes in the Hudson Valley from Poughkeepsie to Schenectady, with a fair number occurring in places of higher education: Vassar, SUNY Albany and, further afield, Williams College and Amherst.

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    1. I get it! Must be the idea of someone with higher education, spent time in the New York area, has expert marketing knowledge who would know of the use of these "hate hoax" campaigns.

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  13. The New York Times, Dec. 19, 2018:

    As Russia’s online election machinations came to light last year, a group of Democratic tech experts decided to try out similarly deceptive tactics in the fiercely contested Alabama Senate race, according to people familiar with the effort and a report on its results. ...

    The project’s operators created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians, using it to try to divide Republicans and even to endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes from [Republican candidate] Moore. …

    “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the report says. …

    [T]he influence effort in Alabama may be a sign of things to come.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/19/us/alabama-senate-roy-jones-russia.html

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  14. And considering that Tom ran also on the Republican Party line last time makes these kind of posters and accusations beyond the pale!
    Really Objectionable in this case to cast Rob & Rich in this way!!

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    1. You're right PookyAmsterdam! I didn't know that, despite my history of criticizing the practice in past Gossips threads.

      Here were all the 2017 candidates showing that many of the candidates exploited as many tickets as possible:

      https://gossipsofrivertown.blogspot.com/2017/07/who-wants-to-run.html

      Before you imply hypocrisy, though, please know that I've always viewed the practice as disingenuous, and even cynical, no matter who was running.

      Many thanks to this year's candidates who resisted the urge.

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