Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Brian Lehrer interviews the CD-11 candidates

Download mp3 here. Selected transcript of bits I thought were interesting or amusing below the fold.

Brian Lehrer: What committee would you most like to sit on?

Carl Andrews: Realistically? I’ll probably get about four or five committees that I don’t particularly want. [Way to rate the job a waste of time before you've even got it. It's probably true, but you don't say it.] But ideally I’d like to be on Appropriations, Education, and [loooong pause] Human Services.

BL: Do you support the Atlantic Yards project?

CA: Yes I do. I support it because Brooklyn needs economic development, but more importantly because one of the strong components of this economic development is the housing component, which has a significant number of units set aside for senior citizens and people below market rate housing levels. One of the things we are facing in Brooklyn is a shortage of affordable housing for working-class people. When I say affordable I use the example of a family of four earning $40,000. These are the individuals, the working-class individuals, that work hard every day, don’t have health care, don’t have enough money to buy a home but still need access to decent housing.

[Don’t get me started.]

[Yvette Clarke uses the construction “impact on,” which drives me crazy.]

Yvette Clarke: Immigration reform has sort of been sidelined by a lot of the current events going on today, but it’s a real honest debate that we have to face first of all by looking in the mirror. As the child of immigrants, I recognize just how important our immigrant population is to the growth and the development of our economy and to our communities. This issue has been put on the back burner, but will be one of the first issues I’ll confront, I’m sure, as a Member of Congress.

BL: What committee do you most want to sit on?

YC: The Judiciary Committee. Because then we can continue to make sure that I am there to help shape what will eventually come out of the House with respect to a a compromise with the Senate. The House’s bill right now is so anti-American, as I call it, that there has to be an authentic voice who understands and has lived the experience of the immigrant that is productive and has been a part of building this nation.

BL: On the issue of Mr. Yassky’s candidacy, do you consider him a “racial carpetbagger”?

YC: Yes, I do. There is no doubt that David Yassky made a racial calculation when he saw that there were so many black candidates in the race. He looked at certainly the data with respect to the demographics. He then decided to uproot his family and move into the district to run. No doubt he has aspirations to serve in Congress. But why didn’t he run in the district in which he resided?

[She's being disingenuous. That district is represented by Nydia Velásquez, and he’d just be banging his head against a brick wall trying to unseat her.]

BL: Why do you think Carl Andrews got the endorsements of David Dinkins, Eliot Spitzer, and former Comptroller Bill Thompson?

YC: If you look at it, it’s pretty typical of the old boys’ club, and that’s to be expected. Carl Andrews has been a political operative within the Democratic Party for a significant part of his career, and a lot of those folks are indebted to him.

BL: How would you hope to influence national policy on education?

Chris Owens: Well, I’m going to have a lot of big brothers and big sisters, as I like to call them, in Congress, because I’ve been endorsed by John Conyers, John Lewis, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Joe Crowley, Maurice Hinchey. All these people and many more will be there to help me do the work I want to do on education. And since I’ll be at the low end of the totem pole from a seniority perspective, I’ll have relationships in place with both men and women to make sure that I am the most effective, progressive member of Congress that we could have.

BL: Why are you against the Atlantic Yards project?

CO: … It’s a denial of community participation, it is an environmental disaster, and it represents some of the worst aspects of corporate greed that we have in this city. I am not against development, I am not against jobs. Everybody wants to see something get built on that site. But it needs to be appropriate and sensible, not something that is going to be a disaster.

David Yassky: It’s not enough to just go down there and give speeches. We need effectiveness.

BL: On the racial carpetbagging question. You say it’s not just enough to give speeches, we need effectiveness. I’ll give you the same Al Sharpton quote I gave everyone else. He said, “The inference is, when someone moves into our district they’re telling us, ‘well, ain’t nobody in the district can do what I do.’” What’s your response to Rev. Sharpton, seeing as how it’s a mostly black district.

DY: I’m sure there are many people in this district more qualified than me. The issue is, who among the candidates is going to do the best job for this district?

[I like this answer because it follows a completely boneheaded thing to say ("I'm sure there are many people more qualified than me") with an oblivious enactment of exactly Sharpton's accusation. Awesome.

Of course, Sharpton's particular genius is to say things that cannot be directly refuted. I mean, how can Yassky respond? He has to make the case that he can do things no one else can do, otherwise why elect him? But if he does say so, he's a racist.


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