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Grimm must move to center

The Brooklyn Paper

Really, Bay Ridge? Really?

Voters in the southwestern corner of Brooklyn picked a strange way of displaying their apparent anger towards President Obama by repudiating freshman Rep. Mike McMahon, a centrist Democrat whose voting record and temperament showed that he was anything but a rubber stamp.

Though only a freshman, McMahon was an important presence in Washington, getting selected by his peers as the freshman class whip.

Rather than using that role to serve as a lapdog for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, McMahon was an independent voice for his district, and one of the most common-sense members of the House.

Yes, McMahon voted with the supposedly “out-of-control” Democratic leadership — on substantive initiatives such as a “cap-and-trade” system for pollution reduction that will also help ease our addiction to foreign oil; a children’s health care program; solar technology; regulations for the financial services industry; allowing federal health plans to cover abortion; and backing the $819-billion federal stimulus package, which remains controversial even though it helped pull the country out of the worst economic straits since the Depression.

Other times, however, McMahon cast his votes with the GOP — most notably for new weapons systems, against new taxes on Wall Street bonuses, against President Obama’s health reform bill, and against the release of photos depicting prisoners abused by American soldiers.

We don’t agree with all of those votes, but we have always respected McMahon’s integrity and common sense. His votes accurately reflect the centrist values and independent spirit of his majority Democratic Bay Ridge–Staten Island district.

That’s why Tuesday’s vote is so troubling. Call us old fashioned, but we believe that the electorate should closely consider a candidate’s voting record and character before fully embracing the popular, but ultimately short-sighted, “throw-the-bums-out” rhetoric.

In this particular race, Republican Michael Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent, campaigned on little more than GOP talking points and Fox News Channel hysteria about America’s descent into Socialism. He now says that the first item on his agenda is to elect the ultimate Washington insider, Rep. John Boehner (R–Ohio), as Speaker of the House. Another initiative will be to cut taxes for the rich, a move that will punish the middle class, which makes up the vast majority of Congressman-elect Grimm’s constituency.

As Bay Ridge’s representative to the House, Grimm must remember that he works for middle-of-the-road Brooklynites, not the Tea Party or a conservative Speaker from the heartland.

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WW from Bay Ridge says:
This district was gerrymandered by the Democrats to keep a white voting block from influencing Sunset Park. Look on the map and it looks like wash hanging on the line. Now it’s turned around and bitten them.
Mr. Grimm has been elected to the house of Representatives. Mr. McMahon belonged to the party that forgot that, telling us instead that they knew best for the little people. If a Democrat was given his walking papers, blame the Speaker of the House, who needed to be told to go. Passing legislation without reading it is beyond a crime. I can train a monkey to smoke a cigar and ride a bike. The Speaker of the House proved that a congressman can be trained to vote for whatever tripe you have to “pass to find out what’s in it.”

Mr. Grimm will represent the people who voted for him, and those who didn’t.

Move to the center? He is a move to the center - your coordinates are off, not his.
Nov. 4, 2010, 12:04 pm
WW from Bay Ridge says:
And don't weep for McMahon - he gets a pension (After 2 Years!) he voted against ObamaCare, but he is exempt from the greatest healthcare bill that was so good they had to bribe people to vote for it.
Nov. 4, 2010, 2:38 pm
tom from bay ridge/ridge blvd says:
Mr. McMahon will go down in history as both a coward and a fool for failing to stand up in support of our GREAT President's initative on health care. In a district where so many people HAVE government supplied free health care (NYPD,FDNY,DOE,Medicare, etc.)he actually said he was proud to be against "Obamacare" a thinly veiled racist reference. The sons and daughters of the cops and firefighters and other city workers are surely going to need "Obamacare" now that NYPD and FDNY and all gov't jobs are shrinking rapidly and the only jobs left out there for most Staten Island and BR kids are in retail-we don't even have WALMART.
Bay Ridge and Staten Island cuts its own throat once again. Let's get a Democratic Congressman in this seat with some GUTS.
Nov. 4, 2010, 4:47 pm
PMKR from Dyker Hts says:
WW - educate yourself, please. This district was drawn when Republicans controlled the state Senate and the Governor's Mansion so that there would be one fairly safe Republican seat in NYC. The only reason Fossella isn't still in the seat is because he was an adulterous drunk (and who knows, he may still have gotten re-elected if he had run!). Why do you think we've had almost three decades of Republican congressional representation since Brooklyn replaced Manhattan as the non-Staten Island portion of the district?

McMahon does NOT get a pension - you have to serve six years for that. And his family is NOT exempt from the health reform law - that's yet another myth spread by the willfully ignorant such as yourself.

The fact is McMahon did more for Brooklyn in less than two years than his predecessors did in 28 years, and I expect the same from Grimm - who is Molinari's guy down to his core. I'd be shocked if he visits Brooklyn more than a handful of times in the next two years. He'll do exactly what Fossella did - set up shop on the South Shore of SI, rack up 85% there every election, and never travel north of Amboy Road.
Nov. 4, 2010, 4:57 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
LOL, CENTER. Your "center" is so far left of center that it's close to capsizing the nation.

The next thing you'll tell us is that President Obama is not a leftist narcissist hellbent on destroying the greatest, kindest, most enlightened nation in history; turning us into France.

While I remain somewhat disappointed that the Republicans didn't take the Senate, Tuesday RE-CENTERED the nation, and put President Obama in his place--PJ O'Rourke's restraining order!

PS: I was reading that the shift that took place Tuesday was much larger even than the one the Republicans suffered in 1974 due to Watergate. THAT'S SWEET!
Nov. 4, 2010, 9:24 pm
John Cluck from Bay Ridge says:
Grimm won bigtime... and now he should change his platform. Sorry liberals but the days of your socialism are coming to an end and you can take Barack Hussein Obama with you pretty soon too.
Nov. 6, 2010, 2:08 am
Gerry O'Brien from Park Slope says:
As a political consultant, I was not involved in this congressional race, but I followed it closely and have commented on it for other media outlets.

McMahon lost this election as a result of two widely-publicized stunts that seem to have eluded most Brooklynites. Both go right to the heart of what people believe is the most important criteria in electing someone to public office: character (or as these two incidents clearly show, McMahon's lack of character).

1. McMahon mailed a flyer attacking NYC Deputy Schools Chancellor Grimm (no relation to opponent Mike Grimm) for her decision to cut school bus service across Staten Island this fall. This mailing saw McMahon repeatedly using the phrase "Chancellor Grimm" in a blatant attempt to confuse or mislead voters into believing that opponent Mike Grimm was responsible for the cut in school bus service. This was particularly sleazy, as Chancellor Grimm's boss, Mayor Bloomberg, was a vocal supporter of McMahon.

2. At a public debate in Staten Island the week before the election, McMahon campaign representatives arrived early to save a half dozen seats in the front row of the audience, directly in front of where the candidates would be standing. At the very last moment, as the debate began, the McMahon campaign operatives got up and gave their seats to the woman Grimm had divorced 15 years ago, along with her father and two brothers. McMahon's plan was to psych out Grimm by forcing him to look at his ex-wife, adorned with a McMahon campaign button, all during the debate - and hopefully, make him slip up and say or do something stupid. Instead, Grimm was gracious, publicly commenting that his former wife "looked as beautiful as the day I met her."

These two incidents, particularly the use of Grimm's ex-wife as a prop during a public debate, turned enough voters off and away from McMahon that Grimm was able to win the election.

Voters in Brooklyn may not have known about these two character-defining moments in the campaign, but Grimm clearly impressed voters who did know about them.
Nov. 6, 2010, 3:08 pm
John Lavelle from New Brighton says:
As a Staten Islander, I must agree with Mr. O'Brien. The Staten Island Advance wrote articles and editorials condemning both these incidents. They also added another mailing that tried to tie Mr. Grimm to BP to the list. Mr. McMahon could have won reelection with out these incidents. These incidents were sophomoric at best and had no place in a race of this magnitude. Further, Mr Grimm's response to the incident with his ex-wife was the best line of the campaign- "She looked as beautiful as the day I met her,"- very classy and above reproach. This race had been tightening over the earlier incidents, but this incident in particular and Grimm's response put it over the top.
In addition, I am a liberal. Mr. McMahon represented me in the council. He is no liberal, you do not know what a liberal is then. I never voted for him in any election prior until this very right wing candidate (Mr. Grimm) a puppet of Guy Molinari was nominated by the republicans. If Michael Allegretti was nominated, I probably would have skipped the line as two centrists with not so dissimilar views would have been facing each other. Mr. Grimm's 5k victory, which I think will get smaller after all the paper is counted, is no great mandate. He does need to come to the center or he will not last long.
Nov. 6, 2010, 11:35 pm
Robert P. from Bay Ridge says:
Well, let's all watch as the worm turns. These right-wing Republicans you people are enamored with are already talking about cuts, cuts, cuts... Medicare! Social Security! Defense!

Cut the size of government? That means more unemployed.

Cut services? Yes, as long as they don't affect me!

Medicare? Ohhh... listen to the old folks howl.

Cut billions spent on the war machine? Watch out, here come the terrorists!
Nov. 8, 2010, 4:44 pm
Tom Hilton from Bay Ridge says:
The utter nonsense from liberal newspapers such as this one is why I long ago founded the popular Facebook page, "Mike McMahon--The Truth About His Leftist Record". His talking point about being a "centrist", and "independent", is one "The Brooklyn Paper" continues to parrot. For that same paper to mention his alleged "integrity" and "common sense" after his sleazy and dishonest campaign that made both local and national news is ridiculous.

McMahon, the liberal, gave Pelosi everything she wanted from him including a 92.2% voting record and support on all her bills. Obamacare? McMahon said NOTHING on his website or Facebook - until after she got her needed 216th vote. Then, he refused to support repeal or defunding. That vote was a sham.

McMahon was always a fraud, and he was bested in all the debates with Grimm and the forum. I heard them all. McMahon's despicable lying personal attacks on the NY1 debate were an outrage.

You were presenting biased pro-McMahon stories almost from the start, and offering opinion as news. Now, you lecture us, and engage in the demagoguery as the bitter resentful Leftists you are.

Despite his huge advantage in money from his union pals, PACs and the Turks, McMahon lost. He did not deliver what he promised especially in jobs. He lied about closing the landfill, saving the Boy Scout camp, and voting for Deem and Pass, and other issues. His cheap tactics regarding Grimm's ex-wife became a national story. But after all that you praise McMahon and lecture us. Keep it up. That same attitude cost your side scores of seats in the House. And we want more in 2012.
Nov. 8, 2010, 6:58 pm
Tom Hilton from Bay Ridge says:
I must say this honestly. The first two paragraphs of your editorial nauseated me in both their deceit and in their adoration of McMahon, one of the most smug and condescending people I have ever met.
Nov. 8, 2010, 7:27 pm
Peggy Padovano from Staten Island, NY says:
I agree with Tom Hilton. I lived in Bay Ridge for 30 years before moving to Staten Island. I was also a volunteer for Michael Grimm. For those of you who don't know him and are believing what rags like this are writing, Michael Grimm is a man of character and integrity. Something Mike McMahon knew nothing about. We were constantly told to take the high road while McMahon continued to pull out Grimm lawn signs, spread lies through his literature and finally the nail in the coffin the ex-wife stunt. I was at Wagner and saw the whole thing unfold. Michael Grimm did not even flinch. You see, what McMahon didn't count on is a guy who has been shot at, blown up, deep undercover with the FBI infiltrating the Mafia is used to this kind of stuff. I think he delivered the best debate of all. I would like to thank the classless Kim's for pushing undecided voters to our side. Michael Grimm is strong, determined and fearless and will represent all the people of both Staten Island and Bay Ridge on his own. You see he is nobody's puppet.
Nov. 8, 2010, 7:44 pm

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