Physical threats. A goofy lawyer. Accusations that our local papers are lying. Complaints and compliments about Registrar DePaul. Political consultant Shawn Millan's compelling indictment of the elections office. This all made for a long night. DePaul and her Bucks County mouthpiece, brought in as a "buffer," spent most of the evening popping up and down like bobbleheads, trying to drown everyone out. The elections panel refused to let that happen. Peg Ferraro and Greta Browne repeatedly had to remind DePaul to let others speak. Finally, an exasperated Jack Bradt told DePaul, "We want to hear from the audience." I'll give you a blow by blow account, but that will have to come later.
Right now, I want to focus on events that occurred before last night's raucous meeting ever started. I knew it was going to be a rough night. The entire right side of the room was filled with DePaul supporters, including mostly the people who work for her. The left side of the room was full of Republicans, the League of Women Voters, voter rights activist Alan Brau and me. Express Times reporter Sarah Cassi shunned the press table, sitting instead in the back of last night's very vocal and rowdy peanut gallery, soaking in the ambiance.
As I picked my way through the crowd to find a seat, I saw something I hadn't seen in previous meetings. Northampton County Democratic chair Joe Long was in the house! He didn't look too happy to be there. And when he saw me, smoke started blowing out his ears.
"Oh, there he is. Hey Bernie, I hear you're gonna' have me for lunch." (Oh shit, he saw my Hannibal Lector post!)
"Actually, I said dinner." (I'm a cocky bastard.)
"You think you're pretty funny, don't you?" (Not amused.)
"It's called humor, Joe. You should try it sometime." (Still cocky.)
"I'll fix your humor. Anytime you're ready, just let me know." (Now the steam is coming out of his moustache, too!)
"Pardon?" (I heard him, but always say that when I'm puzzled.)
"Anytime you're ready." (Idiotically triumphant. I wonder if he's packin'.)
Later in the evening, when I was addressing the committee myself, I mentioned Long's threats.
"That's not true. I have witnesses."
Earlier this week, an unnamed local party boss tried unsuccessfully to muzzle blogger Richard Wilkins. Democratic party bosses are very upset with bloggers for calling public attention to their attempts to fix the primary. Having failed at that, Dem party bossman Joe Long is now resorting to physical threats, and right before a public meeting!
These heavy-handed intimidation tactics might work in the loansharking business or against union scabs. But Joe, goon squads are a just a tad out of place in a democracy.
Besides, they've got the wrong guys. First, they go after Wilkins, who in fairness has been Joe Long's only pal in the blogosphere. Brilliant. Then, the party boss distinguishes himself and his party by physically threatening me. Hey Joe, we're just passing on info we got from LVDem. He's the real rat. So break his legs, damn it.
Maybe I'll challenge Long to a duel or something. I've been practicing with my lightsabre all night.
And so the battle rages.