Politics Mondays: Lenora Fulani Is Here To Stay Despite The White-Bread Naysayers by Richard Carter
“You’re good, kid. But as long as I’m around you’re second best. And you might as well learn to live with it.” – Edward G. Robinson, “The Cincinnati Kid” (1965)
Here’s a flash for Frank McKay (sic), state chairman of the Independence Party, as well as U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and State Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer: Lenora Fulani is not going away, no matter how much you rag on her. She’s here to stay, so you might as well learn to live with it.
Aided and abetted by a scurrilous editorial in the scurrilous New York Post on Feb. 13, McKay, Clinton and Spitzer have shown their true colors in an ongoing effort to ring down Dr. Fulani. And their reason is obvious. They are deathly afraid of her.
As Democratic mainstays, Clinton and Spitzer are alarmed that many Black voters eschewed their party in the last mayoral election and voted for Michael Bloomberg on the Independence Party line. Thus, they have tried to influence McKay to undermine the dynamic Dr. Fulani’s demonstrated ability to provide other viable options for Black voters.
Clinton and Spitzer are petrified that Black people, whom the Democrats have long taken for granted, may continue to bypass Democratic candidates in favor of those who run as independents. And nobody would be hurt more than the wannabe president (Clinton) and the wannabe governor (Spitzer).
As a result, Fulani says, MacKay and white upstate Independence Party leaders attempted to dilute the strength of downstate Black members through a resolution to dissolve the heavily Black local organizations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, placing them in receivership. In the wake of the resolution, Fulani and the party chairs in the three counties initiated legal proceedings by filing a Show Cause Order in Brooklyn Supreme Court for an immediate stay to block implementation of the resolution.
“These actions by Mr. McKay are part of a power grab which disenfranchises tens of thousands of New York City voters, including in the minority communities,” Fulani explained. “We stand firm for the principle that the independent movement will be democratic, diverse and free of major party control.”
On Feb. 10, a stay blocking implementation of the resolution was granted by Judge Joseph Levine. On Feb. 16, after hearing arguments in a courtroom packed with city party members facing disenfranchisement, the judge reserved his final decision until later.
In a recent appearance on “Inside City Hall” on NY1, Fulani called McKay’s actions “a direct and illegal power grab within the party organization which violates the party rules and the Constitution of the United States.” She added that it was “a move to make the Independence Party an all-white party and a move against the Black community.”
Joining Fulani on the program was Atty. Harry Kresky, who resigned as counsel to the party after he was not consulted prior to the resolution being presented to the executive committee. Kresky called the resolution “blatantly illegal and contrary to the rules.”
And the New York Post is, well, the Post. Ugh! Its anti-Fulani editorial rhetoric remains reprehensible. This is how the paper’s Feb. 13 hatchet-job began:
“Slowly but surely, and not necessarily for the purest of motives, New York’s Independence Party is severing its ties to extremist hatemonger Lenora Fulani, who
exercised almost dictatorial control over its affairs for more than a decade.
“Party officials recently voted to disband their own leadership structure in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, saying Fulani has been running them like a cult.
“That still leaves her in control of the powerful Manhattan chapter..but there is no denying that Fulani is no longer the political force she once was, and that she no longer enjoys a stranglehold on the state’s third-largest party.”
The editorial goes downhill from there. After reading it, anyone of any political persuasion who retains illusions of fairness and logical thinking on the part of that newspaper had better get their eyes checked. In a word, the New York Post sucks!
As an unabashed admirer of Dr. Fulani, I again take strong exception to the unwarranted public criticism she has been receiving over comments she made in 1989 regarding Jews and the state of Israel. This is the underlying reason she and five others were removed from the executive committee of the Independence Party last September.
At that time, Fulani said to the party’s state committee: “I am not an anti-Semite. Anti-Semites hate Jews. I’ve spend the last 25 years working closely with Jewish colleagues and friends. My mentor, Fred Newman, is a Jew. Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York city, whose campaign I am vigorously supporting , is a Jew. One of my closest advisors, Jackie Salit, is a Jew. Many of the volunteers and supporters of my youth program are Jewish. My record on these partnerships and this bridge-building is clear cut.”
As Fulani emphasized on NY1, nearly 75,000 votes were cast for Bloomberg on the Independence Party line on Nov. 8, 2005, a 26 percent increase over 2001. This included some 47 percent of the city’s Black voters and was largely due to Fulani’s grassroots efforts, and it scares the hell out of the Democrats like Hilary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer.
Finally, there is little doubt that the main reason for the negative press, which, by the way, is not unusual for this brilliant, outspoken political strategist, is because she is a strong, no-nonsense Black woman. So strong she makes the city’s political establishment and lockstep white news media nervous. And that’s the name of that tune.
This op-ed appears in The Amsterdam News.
Monday, March 6, 2006