In his eight long years at the helm of the local Dems, Joe "Bossman" Long has alienated Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham, Northampton County Executive John Stoffa and state party boss T. J. Rooney. His penchant for preselection of candidates in smoke-filled bars has resulted in disaster after disaster at the polls. These include Charles Dertinger (Congress); Sam Bennett (Congress); Glenn Reibman (County Exec); and Ann McHale (County Exec). Our fearless leader's most recent trick was to manage somehow to lose all five at-large seats in November's County Council race, giving Republicans a first-ever 7-2 edge. Even Northampton County's bench is now Republican. As if that were not enough, Long has made at least three appearances before a statewide grand jury investigating deceptive campaign practices.
So on Saturday, when Northampton County Dems met in a smoke-filled Nazareth bar again, it should come as no surprise that only 24 committee people bothered showing up. Of course, it's likely that only a few were even notified. County Exec John Stoffa, who happens to be the highest ranking Democrat in Northampton County, was snubbed. I live just a block away, and considered crashing the party myself. But these local apparatchiks have a history of ejecting contrarians, even their own committeemen. I stayed away.
Obviously, it was mostly a gaggle of Joe Long sycophants, not Democrats. But even among this crowd, a dim light had gone off. Maybe they should think twice about telling the rest of us how we're supposed to vote. So Ladd Siftar, a former County Council member who sits on the state committee, moved that the local party should refuse to endorse anyone, even in the uncontested primaries. It passed, 13 to 11.
That's right, bippy. Congressional candidate John Callahan, derisively referred to as the "boy Mayor" by state house candidate Charles Dertinger just a few months ago, made the trip up Nazareth Pike for nothing. He got piked after giving a speech to a few barflies. Does this mean that Dems support Charlie Dent?
The same thing happened to State Rep. Bob Freeman. He came up from Easton, gave a speech that went on even longer than Callahan's, has no primary opponent, and left Nazareth with nothing. Does this mean Dems support wingnut Ron Shegda?
It gets better. After refusing to endorse anyone, even candidates with no primary opponents, Bill Wallace made a pitch for the local party to endorse Charles Dertinger in the only local primary that actually is contested. That motion passed nearly unanimously.
That's right, bippy. Frank Scagliotta, a popular slate belt coach and NCAA basketball official making his political debut, has been rejected in favor of a divisive candidate who is batting just one out of five at the polls.
I spoke to a wise Democratic veteran today, who laughed and told me, "Bernie, we don't make Democrats take intelligence tests."
And this is the proof. Fortunately, Long's machine has shot itself so many times that it has pretty much made itself irrelevant.