Friday, September 20, 2013

Bill Thompson "Tone Deaf" Campaign Deficiencies Exposed in NY Times

...and UFT support shows how tone deaf they are. David Chen in the Times reported the other day - A very revealing article on Bill Thompson's faults and failures -- all of which were not noted by the equally tone deaf UFT.
Mr. Thompson never articulated a clear message. “Muddled” was a word used by many. He developed a centrist platform, better suited to a general election than a Democratic primary, opposing tax increases while Mr. de Blasio hammered away at income inequality.
Well, you know, no matter how much Randi and Mulgrew talk about social justice income inequality, always watch what they do, not what they say. Thompson walking the middle is the way the basically conservative Unity people go. You won't see the UFT calling for protests or raising political issues about the thieving banks. Or the defense budget. Better watch schools being killed than challenge the old status quo.

But you know my feelings.

An undemocratic totalitarian state like the Unity Caucus/Unity Caucus crew running the UFT for over 50 years can't/won't hear voices because they don't have any forums where they can be heard. Just read James Eterno's account of the special DA to endorse De Blasio where they wouldn't allow even one speaker to oppose and Mulgrew trampled all over Robert's Rules of Order in doing so. (Robert is very upset.) [UFT DELEGATES ENTHUSIASTICALLY ENDORSE DE BLASIO FOR MAYOR BUT MULGREW ONCE AGAIN STIFLES ANY DISSENT -]

Here is the article, a good one - other than quoting the ed deform supporting loser Basil Smikle who challenged State Senator Bill Perkins because he dared hold hearings on charters. (And a little birdie once told me about an interesting relationship between Smikle and Al Sharpton - but I won't go there.)

For Thompson, a Disappointing End to a Not-Quite-Compelling Quest

Maybe it was not that surprising that William C. Thompson Jr. would come up just shy. 
It was not just that he pulled in far fewer black and Latino votes than his advisers had confidently predicted for him in the recent Democratic primary for mayor. Nor was it that he fell a few thousand votes short, over all, from forcing Bill de Blasio into a runoff, one in which he would have faced long odds anyway.
Instead, when Mr. Thompson abandoned his quest on Monday, in a disappointing coda to a campaign filled with what ifs over everything from demographics to his message, it presented a microcosm of a dutiful but not-quite-compelling career.
Whether he was the smart-money pick, as he was this year, or the underdog, as he was when he lost to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009, Mr. Thompson could never quite concoct the right recipe to parlay his two terms as a steady New York City comptroller into something grander. 
A product of Brooklyn machine politics, Mr. Thompson believed strongly in by-the-book tactics, like gathering institutional endorsements. Yet he never led in a single poll. He never surged or collapsed, unlike some of his rivals. And despite campaigning for 24 hours straight, not once, but twice, in the past six weeks, the mild-mannered Mr. Thompson could never convince voters that he had enough political thunder. 
“He is a very smart, very talented public servant who has done everything people would want him to do, but it always seems like it’s not enough,” said Basil A. Smikle Jr., a Democratic consultant who teaches at Columbia University and the City University of New York. 
Even on the eve of the primary, Mr. Thompson struggled to connect with voters who should have been in his column. At a deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, he had just uttered a quick hello and reminded people about Election Day when Stephon Zephyr said: “Excuse me, Big Guy, you running for mayor?” 
Mr. Thompson, surprised, said yes. Then, in barely audible tones, he talked to Mr. Zephyr, a 26-year-old plumber, for five minutes, about jobs and gun violence. After Mr. Thompson left, Mr. Zephyr shrugged: “He sounds good, but he didn’t say much. He just brushed me off.” 
On paper, Mr. Thompson entered the campaign with many advantages. He had won the admiration of Democrats for coming closer than expected to unseating Mr. Bloomberg four years ago. And in a city where minorities are now the majority, Mr. Thompson, the son and namesake of a respected judge and former legislator, stood out as the only black candidate, with a long résumé in both the public and private sectors. 
Counting on demographics to give him an edge, Mr. Thompson amassed an impressive list of endorsements: party stalwarts like Fernando Ferrer; fiscal watchdogs (Richard Ravitch); black pastors who had backed Mr. Bloomberg in 2009 (former Representative Floyd H. Flake); and key unions (the United Federation of Teachers). One of his biggest fund-raisers was former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, the Republican power broker.
Together, they argued that Mr. Thompson, who at 60 was the oldest major Democratic contender, had the best experience and the temperament to govern. 
But his establishment-friendly strategy had blind spots, according to more than a dozen people, both affiliated with and independent of the campaign. 
“Billy Thompson is as decent a man as you will find in New York City politics,” said Neal Kwatra, a Democratic consultant who did not work for any mayoral candidate. “But Billy and his team were captives of a bygone era of coalition and identity politics.” 
Foremost was the assumption that people had cast a pro-Thompson vote in 2009, rather than an anti-Bloomberg one. Nor did Mr. Thompson take seriously the theory that Mr. Bloomberg’s margin might have been diminished because some of his supporters, anticipating a blowout, did not bother to vote. 
Those assumptions may have given Mr. Thompson a false sense of security, even as he faded from public view for three years.
“He showed up thinking, ‘Well, now, it’s my turn, because you guys like me, you really like me,’ ” said Christina Greer, a political science professor at Fordham. “But a lot of New Yorkers seemed to say, ‘I can’t remember who you are.’ ” 
Another problem was that Mr. Thompson never articulated a clear message. “Muddled” was a word used by many. 
He developed a centrist platform, better suited to a general election than a Democratic primary, opposing tax increases while Mr. de Blasio hammered away at income inequality. His thread-the-needle position on the stop-and-frisk police tactics, in particular, exasperated many minorities and liberals. By contrast, Mr. de Blasio positioned himself as the tactics’ fiercest critic. 
“People were saying, ‘We may have a black candidate in the race who we may like, but we also have a candidate in the race who more closely represents the issues that we care about,’ ” Mr. Smikle said. 
Mr. Thompson was also handicapped by the perception, whether fair or not, that he did not campaign as hard as his rivals. He never stood out in a very large field, as attention shifted from Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who was seeking to become the first female and openly gay mayor; to former Representative Anthony D. Weiner, whose effort to come back from scandal won him media attention; and then to the 6-foot-5 Mr. de Blasio, with his mixed-race family and compelling television advertisements.
From the start, Mr. Thompson’s political operation appeared to be plagued by some of the same problems as his campaign four years ago. His commercials had a generic feel: one relied on a spare, white digital background; another, featuring the candidate’s daughter, struck many as a late and lesser version of the popular ad Mr. de Blasio ran featuring his son. 
At times, Mr. Thompson acted as if he were already in office. At virtually every campaign stop, he was introduced warmly by a local official, like Assemblyman N. Nick Perry of Brooklyn; Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president; or State Senator José Peralta of Queens. When he earnestly toured a restaurant wholesaler in the Bronx, flanked by prominent supporters, he did not actively solicit the support of employees.
By the campaign’s homestretch, Mr. Thompson, though his public poll numbers were still static, seemed to continue attending to basics. In contrast to most other campaigns, in which daily conference calls are a staple from the outset, the Thompson team did not begin the routine until two months ago, according to advisers and supporters. Only in the last few weeks did Mr. Thompson, whose grandparents immigrated from St. Kitts a century ago, start a formal effort to win over Caribbean-Americans.
As the campaign began to fall apart, senior advisers openly puzzled over his approach on the stop-and-frisk tactic. It won the candidate endorsements from police unions, but it confused his message where it mattered most: with black voters, a majority of whom voted for Mr. de Blasio, whose opposition was crisper and had a harder edge.
Mr. Thompson never once hinted that he was worried about failing to make the runoff; as late as the day before the primary, he spoke confidently of eclipsing 40 percent and facing a Republican in November.
“New Yorkers know what they’re getting with me,” he said during a rally in East Harlem. 
But on Monday, as he withdrew his candidacy after a disappointing primary performance, he was wistful. Asked why he fell short this time, he demurred, saying, “I’m not one of the political pundits.”
“That’s the one thing about elections,” he added. “There are no guarantees.”


  1. Tone deaf? The UFT leadership? How can you possibility say that?

  2. It is not Robert's Rues of Order. It is Roberts' Rules of Order. As in General Henry Roberts. A little wrong is still wrong.

  3. Actually, you are wrong it is Robert's Rules. You were right about the General Henry part. I guess that makes you developing in the new system.

  4. Call it what you want. Mulgrew doesn't follow it. Better to call it Mulgrew's Rules of Order.

  5. The UFT was responsible for the loss 4 years ago by stating that Thompson didn't have a chance of winning. And, Thompson himself must have believed that because he fell flat in the debates against Bloomberg. Imagine if both Randi and Thompson actually took that campaign seriously.
    This campaign will be one for the history books because Quinn also lost votes due to her muddled message. And it also proved voters do care how one conducts themselves in private life. I for one am glad de Blasio won because the other candidates were in their own fashion a take off on Bloomberg.


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