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The real losers in last week’s special election to fill Anthony Weiner’s seat are the middle-class voters whose lives will be adversely affected by the radical Tea Party policies their new congressman supports.
How did this happen?
Let’s be clear, David Weprin’s support for marriage equality did not play a pivotal role in this race. Even Bob Turner’s campaign acknowledged that the issue likely earned Weprin as many supporters as it lost him. Nonetheless, it was sad to see our neighbors in the Orthodox Jewish community attempt to make this a referendum on marriage equality.
The race really turned on a few main factors. For one, Turner was a likeable candidate who was familiar with the district because he had run for the seat against Weiner only one year earlier.
Weprin, on the other hand, had only two months to introduce himself to the entire district and to make his case to voters when most people are not paying attention. Moreover, it did not help that Weprin had been chosen by party bosses, instead of Democratic voters, or that Weprin made a few missteps that captured headlines.
Most important, though, the debate about the ailing economy — the singular issue to voters — was overshadowed by conversations about irrelevant issues, like the so-called Ground Zero mosque or Obama’s policy towards Israel. When a small minority of voters went to the polls, they took their frustrations about the economy out on the party in power, instead of blaming the party that continues to obstruct the implementation of smart economic policies that would heal our economy.
Had leaders like Ed Koch and Dov Hikind put the voters’ interests ahead of their own, they would have used this race to send a message to the radical and reckless Tea Party Republican members of Congress who have damaged our nation’s credit rating, refused to compromise, and advocated for the dismantling of Social Security, Medicare and other programs that many middle class families in the ninth congressional district have paid for, cherish and rely upon.
Some can pretend this was a victory for opponents of marriage equality, but the real victors in this race are the Tea Party Republicans, who are further emboldened to pursue their radical agenda of eviscerating our nation’s social safety net and continuing the unsustainable tax cuts and tax loopholes for large corporations and the wealthiest Americans. And they now have one more vote with which to implement it.
Matthew McMorrow is co-president of Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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