Guest Author: Local Columnist Gives His Opinion on Scozzafava
The following is a column by Bob Gorman, a writer for the Watertown Daily Times in New York. He is writing about Dede Scozzafava, the Republican challenger for the 23rd Congressional District in the Empire State left open after John McHugh became Secretary of the Army. While major bloggers have called Scozzafava a “radical leftist,” Gorman presents a view that isn’t so radical.
I should add that Watertown, NY is in the 23rd Congressional District.
Four years ago, you read this in the Watertown Daily Times:
“A long line of police, prosecutors and representatives of victims’ rights organizations came Wednesday to Gouverneur Junior/Senior High School in support of legislation that would beef up the monitoring of sex offenders. The Assembly Republican Task Force on Sex Crimes Against Children & Women, chaired by Dierdre K. Scozzafava, R-Gouverneur, is crisscrossing the state gathering information and support.”
Scozzafava’s work as a minority member in the Assembly finally bore fruit months later when Democrat Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver finally released — after a long, long delay — a bill targeting sexual predators. As we wrote in December 2005, Scozzafava suggested that Silver “had finally given in to public demand for tougher sentencing and civil confinement for violent sexual offenders.”
Fast forward to today and our goofy 23rd Congressional District Race, which includes a Democrat candidate who is not a registered Democrat, and a Conservative candidate who doesn’t live in the congressional district.
Here’s what I don’t get: For the past decade, the Republican Scozzafava has stood up for every women’s rights, victims’ rights and children’s rights legislation in this state. Her fingerprints are everywhere. But now that she is running for Congress, you can’t find one member of CASA, CAVA, Darwin, Athena, victims assistance, university women or even one of our myriad Watertown book clubs that will publicly stand up for her.
If you know Scozzafava, you can speculate what’s happened. She didn’t ask anyone to stand up for her. It’s not her style.
And speaking of style: If you don’t think style is an issue here, look at what the boys clubs are doing to her in their commercials, hunching her over in a sinister way, darkening her features in some images and blanching them in others, and showing film of her in slow motion, the way TV news people edit a perp walk.
Yes, thank you, we all know. Dede Scozzafava was never asked to participate in the Miss Universe pageant.
That’s the treatment you can expect for getting a bachelor’s degree from Boston University School of Management and not spending more time at the gym.
That’s your reward for earning a master’s degree in business administration from Clarkson Graduate School of Management instead of sticking your nose for hours in fashion magazines.
And what about getting married, having two kids, being a stockbroker, a mayor and an assemblywoman who outmaneuvered one of the three most powerful politicians in Albany?
Well, it’s one thing to be Wonder Woman, but if you don’t look like her, then sister, look out.
Some stories are too long for commercial sound bites. Like this one:
Some 18 years ago, Scozzafava was the mayor of Gouverneur during the infamous, hideous, nauseating Casablanca rape investigation.
You can read all about that story in our archives as well or find a movie with Jodie Foster and a pinball machine to get the general idea.
But here’s the gist: After closing hours at the Casablanca restaurant, a woman passes out from drinking too much alcohol. A few days later, friends ask her if she remembers what happened in the bathroom that night because they are hearing talk around town that five men had sex with her.
The woman, who is no stranger to making bad choices, says she didn’t sign up for that. And so it begins. She learns the truth and she learns something else. Every guy readily admits to what he did. But 18 years ago the law and the public weren’t quite sure what to do with a woman who was too drunk to say “no.”
Some of the gang of five were the sons of business leaders in Governeur. The police chief’s son was good friends with some of the suspects. It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone, and many people shrugged their shoulders, deciding that “boys will be boys” and “girls should know better.”
So bold where the five men about their actions that one of them on national television told Katie Couric that it wasn’t rape but simply a “gang bang,” and he couldn’t understand what the hub-bub was.
I won’t go through the whole sordid case, but I will say something about Scozzafava’s style. Publicly she said little, other than to attempt to protect her community against the national media as it descended on her village to describe it as a town without pity.
But privately she was working with journalists, law officers, state politicians and anyone else who might be able to do anything to put those five SOBs in jail for raping a near comatose woman in her town and then bragging about it.
The polls say Scozzafava is going to lose on Nov. 3. The only question today is whether she will place second or third behind two men who say they are going to successfully unravel and resolve our crisis on the federal government level when neither has ever voted on and then been held accountable for utility improvements, police union contracts, snow removal, etc.
I guess it’s like they say, go big or don’t go at all.
But the real question that will be asked on Nov. 4 is why all the people whose lives were improved by Dede Scozzafava for the last two decades forgot about that on Election Day.