Disgusting. Outrageous. Disgraceful.
Choose whichever word you’d like to describe the depths to which some Queens political activists have sunk in two of the borough’s most important primaries, in which voters cast ballots today, Sept. 13. They all work.
On the Republican side, the campaign of Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes, the party leaders’ choice, has stooped as low as it can in attacking his opponent in the 15th Senate District, City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Ozone Park.
Last week the Reyes team called Ulrich a Communist, even mailing out a fake photo of him wearing Soviet-style medals like Stalin reviewing a Red Army parade.
This week it reached even lower, claiming in large type on a flier that Ulrich “goes both ways.” The fine print says the loaded phrase refers to Ulrich’s alleged flip-flopping on issues such as gay marriage, but everyone knows what going both ways really means. The mailing blasts Ulrich for all kinds of gay-friendly things, even for having dinner with a married gay couple — Sunnyside Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and environmental activist Dan Hendrick.
So Republicans can’t even associate with gay colleagues? In New York City. In 2012. Are you kidding? Reyes also criticized Ulrich for hiring a gay staffer, raising two questions: Is the councilman supposed to ask applicants their sexual orientation? That would be illegal. Is he supposed to fire anyone he discovers is gay? That would prompt a lawsuit bringing such a huge payout that the $103,000 the Assembly paid to the women who accused Vito Lopez of sexual harassment would be a drop in the bucket by comparison.
He also takes Ulrich to task for allegedly mocking former Sen. Bob Dole, who endorsed Reyes, because the councilman tweeted a joke this newspaper made about Dole’s last known endorsement having been for Viagra. But we never impugned Dole’s service to the country, in World War II or as a senator, as Reyes claims. And guess who else has made jokes about Bob Dole’s Viagra ads? Bob Dole.
Reyes is doubtlessly making such desperate moves because he knows Ulrich is going to beat him badly. His mailings show him to be morally bankrupt, something voters should remember if he ever runs for another office.
The Ulrich-Reyes contest isn’t the only primary that’s been dragged into the gutter. Equally disgusting is the flier distributed by a supporter of state Sen. Shirley Huntley of Jamaica — yes, the one facing two felony charges. Written by a black man for a black audience, it claims that the indictment of Huntley, who, like her two opponents, is black, is a “political lynching” aimed at affecting the vote.
If there’s one thing more insulting in politics than one Republican calling another one a gay Communist, it’s one black Democrat saying another one is benefiting from a lynch mob. The Rochdale Village official who wrote this in the housing complex’s newsletter should be ashamed. Of course, he probably did it because Huntley has secured $55,000 in grants for Rochdale’s social service organization in recent years. And the Huntley campaign should also be ashamed because it refuses to disavow the newsletter.
Before any of these fliers were issued, the Chronicle had endorsed Sanders and Ulrich in their respective primaries. These tactics only deepen our belief in those endorsements.
As to the people who prepared and authorized these fliers, you’re the lowest of the low. Just think about the pain you’ve caused in the pursuit of power. You have nothing to be proud of, not in the realm of politics and not in the sphere of humanity. Crawl back under the rocks from which you came and never trouble the good people of Queens again. They’re smarter, and better, than you.