Ken Thompson announcing his campaign; inset: David Greenfield
What’s more important in an election than good ideas, strong qualifications and an unyielding dedication to the public good?
In Brooklyn politics, the answer is party loyalty and backroom deals. And nothing has made that clearer than the current race for Brooklyn District Attorney.
Exhibit A? Yesterday, Councilman David Greenfield swapped sides in the race, endorsing Democratic nominee Ken Thompson.
Greenfield had previously endorsed incumbent Charles Hynes in the Democratic primary, and spoke forcefully against Thompson in a campaign of fear, telling constituents that Thompson would “target the Orthodox Jewish community” if elected.
So what’s changed? Oh, just the political parties. After suffering defeat in the Democratic primary to Thompson, Hynes regrouped and is running on the Republican and Conservative tickets.
And now, in the general election, the field remains the same. The same two men, the same records, the same qualifications, the same ideas.
It’s the same race.
But while Southern Brooklyn legislators by-and-large backed Hynes in the primary, touting his record, experience and judgement, they’re now forced to eat crow. Thomspon beat their man and sits on their party line.
So do they show conviction and stick with the man they previously said had better ideas and a stronger record?
Nope, they jump ship and rally around their party.
Greenfield’s not the only one. He’s just the latest in a long list of Democratic elected officials bending over backwards to not sound ludicrous.
Some other examples? Councilmembers Vincent Gentile and Lew Fidler, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and Democratic county boss Frank Seddio. In fact, the only Southern Brooklyn Democratic legislator we know of who continues to back Hynes post-primary is Councilman Michael Nelson.
He’s term-limited out. And I suppose he’s not looking for a job with the party come 2014.
Greenfield, meanwhile, said the change of heart came after sitting down with Thompson and getting to know him personally.
“I will tell you that I actually have had the opportunity on several occasions now to get to know Ken Thompson,” Greenfield said at a press conference yesterday, according to Politicker. “Consistently, across the board, the feedback that I’ve gotten has been incredibly positive and I, myself, have been impressed. Ken is somebody who has a stellar background as a law enforcement official.”
Of course, Thomspon had a “stellar background” before the primary, too. But it seems Greenfield didn’t do his due diligence before the primary endorsement. Instead he saw opportunity to undermine his rival, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and score points with the county party.
And this is the way endorsements work. It’s rarely about who’s the best qualified to serve the community, but who’s in the best position to benefit the endorser. Today, that’s Ken Thompson.
To the candidates reading this: this is why I ignore your endless pleas to cover your endorsements. Call me when it means something.