Lincoln at Union Square

Photo copyright © 2017 by Gerry O’Brien

Living Room, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

James Stranahan, Father of Prospect Park

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

Citizen of Brooklyn

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

The Party’s Over (for me)

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Forty years ago this summer, I became a Republican voter in New York State.

Since then, I’ve been a Republican candidate for City Council and State Assembly, a State Committee Member (in two very different districts), Secretary of my local County Committee, and a Reagan Delegate to the 1984 Republican National Convention.

Today I leave the G.O.P. to become an Independent (or Blank, in New York election parlance).

It’s not just the imminent nomination of a man so vile he isn’t worthy of shining shoes at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (though it was the final straw). More about him, shortly.

I am troubled by religious extremists in the G.O.P.  Their ideology mirrors that of terrorists we fight around the globe. It includes suppression of women, intolerance, and the blind rejection of known scientific fact.

America’s founders established separation of church and state to avoid the sectarian bloodshed and divisions prevalent in so many nations.

Today’s Republican Party is beset by phony preachers and religious extremists who want to blend church and state.  Their presence at the highest levels of government makes it impossible for Republicans to speak with any integrity or independence in the war on Islamic terror.

If you think joining religion to government and politics is a good idea, take a closer look at Ireland’s last 400 years. Or today’s Middle East. My ancestors came to the New World in 1792 to escape religious divisiveness in Europe. Why would we invite it to America?

For all their talk of freedom and individual liberty, conservative Republicans get downright ornery when real people try to live their own lives. These same conservatives find many people’s personal choices offensive, unusual, or just too different for them, and now they claim religious exemptions to justify their bias.

God is not an excuse to refuse service to anyone in a commercial business, anymore than God is an excuse to blow up buildings and airplanes. Render unto Caesar, as a famous carpenter once said.

Democrats have their own massive problems with identity politics, so joining them is not an option for me.

I’ve always been an independent-minded person. Now my party enrollment (or lack thereof) can be a more accurate illustration of my independence.

About Trump: I understand the anger his supporters feel. Hell, any American voter who isn’t angry today hasn’t been paying attention. The system has failed us. Completely.

The solution is not to hire a con man whose family has been financing that same failed system since the 1950s.

The answer is to elect a President who can inspire us, like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt all did.

Imagine for a moment that Trump were to meet any of those legendary former Presidents. It would not end well for Trump.

Washington would horsewhip him. Lincoln would pin him to the mat and muss that bizarre orange hair until Trump confessed to being a fraud. And Roosevelt? TR would knock Trump out with a single punch, like he did to another loudmouthed bully back in his cowboy days.

Trump is beyond an embarrassment. He is a crude, disgusting man who treats women like meat, mocks the handicapped, and shouts juvenile insults at anyone who crosses him. Trump is ignorant about so many issues, (including what the nuclear triad is). And the story of his business success is pure fantasy.

He’s conned you, folks. 

You want to give this lunatic control of our armed forces and the nuclear launch codes? Have you not seen the Mad Max movies?

A Trump Presidency is a threat to more than just the Republican Party. It puts America and our modern world in grave peril.

I don’t know who I will vote for in November — I may write-in someone — but I could never, would never, ever vote for Donald Trump.

And I won’t be a member of a political party that would nominate or endorse him. America comes before Party.

As the old saying goes, a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something. I’m a political consultant here in New York, so I have a good idea how leaving the G.O.P. will impact my bottom line. So be it.

To my friends staying in the Republican Party: I hope you somehow manage to stop this madman, and that our nation survives. As for me, after 40 years as a Republican, the Party is over.

#NeverTrump

The modern day Jimmy Stewart

John Kasich in Brooklyn, NY

John Kasich in Brooklyn, NY

American Graffiti

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

WCBS TV discusses Trump & the 2016 Presidential Race with me

Reporter Tony Aiello asked me about Trump’s decision to boycott the latest GOP Debate on Fox News.

My response: “If he can’t handle a hostile debate, how’s he going to handle China or Russia or any of the other 1,001 problems that are going to confront the next president of the U.S.?”

What I also told him, which ended up on the cutting room floor, was:

  1. This gives the real candidates (such as they are) a chance to talk to voters.
  2. Trump has only a fraction of the number of paid staffers on the ground in Iowa as some of the other candidates. You don’t win a caucus (which is an entirely different animal than a Primary) with robocalls and TV ads. Not that Trump has spent much money on them either.
  3. There’s a difference between a candidate who is angry
    (and there’s certainly enough wrong with our country today to make voters angry) and a candidate who is hateful and downright mean, like Trump. Americans are not going to entrust the nuclear launch codes to someone who is prone to fly off the handle and attack people.

The Odd Couple of Politics

Crain’s New York Business ran an excellent piece by @RosaGoldensohn on the recent war of words between Donald Trump and Mayor de Blasio.

Some of my colleagues and I were interviewed for the story, which you can read at the link here:

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151208/BLOGS04/151209874/for-de-blasio-trump-is-the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving

Today is the 152nd Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

 

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Abraham Lincoln, highlighted in sepia tone, at Gettysburg.

 

Has anyone seen or heard anything in the media about today’s anniversary?

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.