Notes on the Democrats' Rollicking Fiasco at City Hall
From time to time it happens in one-party banana republics that the one party becomes so arrogant and insular it transcends malevolence alone and achieves malevolence plus farce.
Some random notes on the Morelle-made mess at City Hall:
• Joe Morelle and his crew at Democratic HQ are relentlessly determined to install a Mayor without a legitimate election, which in this case means a Democratic primary. So determined, that Morelle would rather incur all the embarrassment and ridicule from the Tom Richards resignation debacle than let City Council cure the Hatch Act problem by simply appointing Richards as Mayor. But that would mean a Democratic primary and general election. And the voters must not have a voice.
• So intent is Morelle on bypassing his own party's voters, he'd sooner see Richards damaged politically, and his reputation tarnished, which is what has happened, than be presented to voters in a legitimate election.
• Morelle doesn't have the political juice he wants the world to imagine. Richards resigned one jump ahead of an adverse Hatch opinion from the Office of Special Counsel. That Morelle couldn't put the fix in for the "right" opinion from a Democratic-controlled office -- it's a certainty he tried, and that it had been Plan A -- shows how the Party's higher-ups regard him.
• As Corporation Counsel, Richards had to have known about the Hatch Act and its strict, if silly, application. The idea that a seasoned political hack like Joe Morelle didn't know about it can't be accepted seriously. Had they gone to the Office of Special Counsel for a Hatch opinion months ago, they'd have avoided all the public humiliation and trouble that's ensued.
• We've learned that the Office of Special counsel provides just that kind of advice, for the asking, letting prospective candidates for office know about Hatch problems before they embark on the campaign trail. As our colleague Rich Tyson noted, Morelle and Richards are either utterly irresponsible or utterly incompetent not to have done so.
• The utterly irresponsible or utterly incompetent crew of Morelle and his Merry Men are the very people the Democrat and Chronicle wants to see replace Maggie Brooks and the Republican county administration, in order to "restore public confidence" in county government! (We didn't know the public had lost confidence in County government. We bet that Brooks's poll numbers show otherwise. Very otherwise.)
• The Democrat and Chronicle, doting matriarch of the local Democratic family, has struggled valiantly to smooth things over and soothe the troubled family group. The headline wasn't "Richards Resigns," but "Carballado Appointed," as if the comic opera at City Hall were in the natural progression of orderly public administration.
• Speaking of the D&C, it must be panic time over there. Quickly, now -- must find another nickel-and-dime error at a Republican-run agency to knock the Mayoral Follies off the front page. Maybe Maggie Brooks didn't renew her dog's license in time. A flagrant violation of law! Requiring oversight. That's worth at least 3 front page stories, 2 editorals and the intervention of the Attorney General, isn't it?
• Tuesday's press conference: we haven't seen Morelle looking this worried and depressed since Election Night of 2009, another landmark in his tenure as Monroe Democratic Chief. By now he must be yearning for the good old days.