And Then There Were Four
by Anthony Stasi
Jan 27, 2012 | 2196 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Monday, Councilman Peter Koo jumped the Republican ship and joined the Democratic Party. Surprising and yet...not surprising.

Koo was said to be getting little support from the party, and he was reacting in a way that probably did not thaw any of the freezing ice, like when he endorsed David Weprin over Republican Bob Turner last year in a special election for Anthony Weiner’s seat.

The sentiment in the Koo camp was understandable, since Koo’s victory was important to the GOP. Going against Turner, however, was a bold and perhaps unnecessary step. It was a reaction to the fact that Koo’s candidacy was never really celebrated for what some of us had hoped it would be – a foray into a valuable segment of the population.

Now, the number of GOP council members drops to four.

Koo was everything a Republican Party in a big city could have wanted. An Asian-American business leader, smack dab in the middle of a growing population of the city, was a big deal for this small party. Remember that the GOP membership in New York City (the party that gave us our last two mayors) is almost half of the total amount of independent voters. In other words, people who do not wish to be in any party at all almost double Republicans.

How do you grow a party in a major city? You do what all reform politicians have done since Robert LaFollette – you find new voters. There is no other course of action but to explore the next generation of voters in all segments of the city, with perhaps an emphasis on this very hard-working element of the city.

Any party leaders who do not try to make a visible impression in the Asian-American community are doing the GOP a major disservice. Even if this does not result in total success at the ballot box, it is important to make it known that this population is appreciated by the party.

Didn’t See This Coming

When four Republican State Senators decided to support gay marriage rights last year, it looked as though they would be voted out of office quickly. These four men will have a challenger in a Republican Primary, and if they win their primaries, they will most likely have a third-party challenge.

The result may cause the GOP to lose the seats completely. If that happens, there will one-party rule in the state. For us good government fans, this is not good for the balance of power.

Earlier this month, groups in favor of equal-marriage rights began to pour money into the re-election bids of these senators, which was unexpected. My political experience told me that when these four senators voted their conscience, they would not get much help from the people they just supported. Surprisingly, however, they ponied up a lot of money showing their thanks, and it is to their credit for doing so.

No matter your opinion of gay marriage, this is a good story about showing thanks, which does not happen very often in politics. Keeping the State Senate competitive is good for government. This affects a host of other issues, with marriage being one of the least important.
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