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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dertinger the Carpertbagger

On his third try, Charles Dertinger was finally elected to the highly dysfunctional Northampton County Council. He's that guy with campaign signs that simply said, "Charles," as though he was a member of the Royal family. Remember them? I still see a few from time to time, languishing in cornfields. Those signs remind me of Charles I, and the one thing I remember about him is he lost his head.

Well, those signs aren't going to help Dertinger in his next election. Within months of his election to County Council, he's now facing another "Charles," i.e. Charles Dent, in a battle to become the next U.S. Congressman from the Lehigh Valley. He's waging a write-in campaign because, astonishingly, no Democrat is running in the primary.

The Morning Call calls Dertinger a "faithless politician," and for good reason. He's deserting 17,000 people who voted for him in the vain hope he would actually spend some time on County Council.

Dertinger's few months on Council have been a betrayal of all the principles of the Democratic party. He engaged in back room shenanigans to make appointments to Council vacancies, violating the state's Sunshine Act. He stabbed County Exec Stoffa in the back by rejecting his selection for Director of Administration. He supported a nonsensical code of civility that actually muzzles citizens and provides for suspension of any Council member deemed to be bad boy, effectively disenfranchising those who voted for him. His actions betray a basic misunderstanding of democratic government.

I might be inclined to overlook these glaring defects if Dertinger actually had an agenda other than his own advancement, but he does not. He never spoke out against the Iraq war. He has taken no positions on any national issues. There are no letters to the editor penned under his name. He is very much a Democratic Lynn Swann, hand-picked to do the job by party bosses.

On top of everything else, he's a carpetbagger. He's a New Yorker who still works in Jersey, and only 17% of the contributions to his county council campaign are local. Even the affidavits to his campaign finance reports are acknowledged in Jersey.

I'm sure he'll be able to get 1,000 union write-in votes, but he stands for nothing except his own unbridled ambition. It's a shame that this is the best that local Dems have to offer against Charlie Dent. It's an indication that local party leaders are completely out of touch with the people who put them there. And who's running for the Democratic state committee? Why, none other than Charlie Dertinger.

Greta Browne is also waging a write in campaign, but she's the same person who betrayed Greens in the last Congressional race by throwing her support to Driscoll when it was too late for Greens to offer another candidate.

Charlie Dertinger or Charlie Dent? I think I'll write in "C.D."


Anonymous said...

Ugh, Bernie. Charlie Dent has been a faithful Bush supporter in Congress. I agree the options are not at all inspiring. Perhaps folks ought to consider writing in John Murphy who's running a tell-it-like-it-is campaign as an Independent.

Anonymous said...

Well, sorry, I spoke too hurriedly, forgetting Greta was in this race, too. She is certainly an option --no slight intended-- despite her regrettable endorsement of Driscoll last time around.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, my problem w/ Greta is that she really let people down last time around. Driscoll never even condemned the war in Iraq, and she still supporterd him, and when it was too late for the Greens to do anything about it. It's funny that the 133rd has 4 Dems vying for a state rep while the 15th US Congressional district cvould not lure a single progressicve candidate. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand its more Democrats who obsess over Browne's sleaving the race in 2004, not Greens.

I spoke with her today about it and she was bemused that Democrats would trash her now for her leaving the race in 2004 to help them.

I've writeen a few things on the race in favor of Greta.

Greta Browne vs. the 2-Charlie horse race

3-D Write-in's @ PA-15th Congressional District

Pennsylvania Democrats for impeaching George W. Bush

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for your links re Greta. Actually I read them before composing my post on this subject. I support NONE of the candidates seeking this office. Greta has absolutely no credibility, especially after betraying Grens in the last Congressional race. In fact, the only reason she is making a stab at a Democratic write in is because she'll never get the signatures she needs as a Green. She is one of the main reasons why I returned to the Democratic party.

Dertinger, who has a far greater chance than Greta, is equally lamentable as a candidate who stands for nothing but himself.

Dent has turned out to be far nmore conservative than I expected, and I am very disappointed that party leaders could think, for a moment, that Dertinger would present a serious challenge. It makes me wonder whether they are working for Dent.

Thanks again. I appreciate your message, but not your messenger.

Anonymous said...

I can't be the kind of absolutist that you are. There are no absolutes in politics.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I respectfully disagree. From what I see of your fascinating blog, LeftIndependent, you understandably distrust our two major parties. Yet you are willing to overlook glaring deficiencies in a third party candidate simply because she is neither elephant nor jack ass. That's absolutism in one of its purest forms.

If truth be told, we have no viable candidates in the 15th. That's the reality, buddy.

Anonymous said...


When I spoke with Greta she told me that her pulling out in 2004 was not a zero sum game. She got Driscoll to adopt an environmental issue that was primary to her campaign and she got Driscoll to endorse two other Green candidates. That is how politics works.

And yes, I do turn a blind eye to the imperfections of less polished and perfected candidates if those dcandidates 1. are not Democrats or Republicans and 2. move my agenda forward.

That is politics.

Personally I believe that all political parties are a festering disease on the body politic of America. If I hold to that 100% in the current reality I might as well rip up my voter registration and give up on democracy.

Politics is the art of compromise.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This "deal" to endorse two Green candidates must have been done very quietly because I see no evidence of any Driscoll endorsement of any Green after scouring the Internet with a google search.

You state you will overlook imperfections in a candidate so long as that candidate is not Republican or Democrat. If you think about it, that's an absolutist view.

Our major parties are diseased wrecks . But if, as you say, politics is the art of compromise, you should be willing to look at a candidate from any party that furthers whatever your personal agenda may be.

The unfortunate reality is that none of the candidates in the 15th race offer any hope. It happens, especially in a system designed to favor the two major parties.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the email. As someone who voted for Charles Dert, I must say I have lost what little faith I had in him. He has turned out to be just another pompous ass, political hack, with no clue. Keep up the good work.
Joe Cap