The Hynes Legacy Has Gone South

Charles J Hynes after he lost reelection photo by Arthur DeGaeta in The Brooklyn Paper

Charles J Hynes after he lost reelection
photo by Arthur DeGaeta in The Brooklyn Paper

I remember a hostage situation which ended with the gunman surrendering for a Burger King Whopper with a shake and two extra orders of onion rings. But I have also seen kidnappers bring down the house on themselves, their hostages, and the rescuers. A cornered culprit can be pathetic or dangerous. Charles (Joe) Hynes is both.

It is pathetic for him to imagine that he can win on the Republican ticket. It can’t be done in Brooklyn which goes Democrat even when the rest of the city goes Republican. He got it right for one moment when he conceded defeat on primary night and promised to cooperate on a transition. But he undid it when he broke his word and announced he would campaign for votes on the Republican and Conservative lines.

Hynes justified reneging on his promise of a smooth transition by claiming that he was upset to learn that ex-con Clarence Norman was given a prominent role by Thompson’s campaign. Then he had to eat crow and his press spokesman, Jerry Schmetterer admitted, according to the Wall Street Journal “That the district attorney doesn’t have concrete evidence that Mr. Norman played a role in Mr. Thompson’s campaign.”

In fact, according to the Thompson campaign,

Hynes’ campaign manager is a convicted felon who not only served years in prison for assault and robbery, but is also a protégé of Clarence Norman.

Thompson’s campaign is referring to is Taharka Robinson, whose consulting firm, state election records show, was paid slightly more than $165,000 over the past 12 months by Mr. Hynes’s campaign.

Hynes insists he remains a Democrat. But the only, likely beneficiaries of his campaign  are a few south-Brooklyn Republicans. According to reporter Will Bredderman,

His team said he [Hynes] has been in talks with GOP leadership about how continuing to campaign could provide a boost to Republican Council candidates like John Quaglione and David Storobin, who are seeking seats in Bay Ridge and Brighton Beach.

Meanwhile, Hynes is conducting a racially tinged campaign trying to portray Thompson as this boogey man whose associates are black criminals. Within his office, rumors are spreading that Thompson will be indicted on evidence the DA has of financial misconduct. If it were true Hynes would have unleashed the evidence before the primary. He is also spreading rumors in his office that most white ADAs will be forced out by Thompson.

Hynes somehow imagines he can energize the Republican electorate and peel off whites from the Democratic party. He may be able to peel off a few extra white votes by inflaming and exploiting racial tensions. But his southern Brooklyn strategy is doomed. It is true that the Republican party rode that strategy to national success after Lyndon Johnson passed civil rights legislation. But most voters were white, back then. Even the national Republican Party now realizes it has a problem because the percentage of non-white voters has increased and will eventually pass the midpoint. But in Brooklyn? Right now non-whites comprise almost two-thirds of the population. Moreover, the main Hasidic groups have endorsed Thompson in the November election. Many of Brooklyn’s whites in the hip neighborhoods on the west are strongly liberal. There is no viable, race-inflaming, southern strategy for winning a county-wide election in Brooklyn.

The most pathetic aspect is that Hynes had a chance to exit with dignity. Those closest to him, who cared about him, begged him not to break his primary-night promise. But a few Republicans like Martin Golden and Dennis Quirk convinced him he had a chance. They exploited the vanity of this declining man by offering him a little more glory on the campaign trail at the expense of his standing with many of his oldest friends and political allies.

For over a century the Republican Party had the Black vote as the party of Lincoln. But on the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington the only Republican on the stage was a statue. Hynes entered office as a hero to many African-Americans because he successfully prosecuted the racist hooligans in Howard Beach who chased Michael Griffith to his death. He is going to leave office despised by those who first elected him and cut off from his old political network.

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9 thoughts on “The Hynes Legacy Has Gone South

  1. Although I don’t care much for Thompson, Hynes has sold his soul to the Devil and has to go.

    It is extremely unlikely that Hynes can pull off a win although not impossible. If Thompson were to self-destruct like an Anthony Weiner, and you never can know what kind of skeletons can emerge during a campaign, don’t forget that Republican Bob Turner did win Brooklyn, although granted Bob is a
    really nice guy with no baggage like Hynes. He is so nice in fact that the hard core Left could not level any personal attacks against him.

  2. I love your blog and find you to be a refreshing voice of reason. But i think your allowing your dislike of Hynes to cloud your reasoning.

    NYC is somewhat dysfunctional in its 2-party system and often the Democratic primary winner is, defacto, the incumbent. But — nevertheless, we are set to have a general election. And the those who wrote these rules decided that from the time of the election until the inauguration IS enough time for a smooth transition. (Hynes cheats no one by staying in the race.)

    Please don’t bring petty party politics into this — that’s for politicians. The People vote, not the party. And if Hynes is on the Repubican ticket, he has every right to run — as do candidates on Third Party ticket who (usually) have a zero chance of winning.

    Those are the rules. And for you to cry “unfair” is just wrong.

    Let the system play itself out the way it is designed to do. The Voters will speak and the chips (or is it hanging chads) will fall will they fall.

    I feel you also cloud your view of a Republican winning. His running as a Republican would be like when Bloomberg did so after losing out on being a Democrat. Voters will be voting for a known entity. And its possible that they will reassess Thompson.

    I am not a Brooklyn resident and I only know Thompson as being “not Hynes”. But, so far, from his statements, i have been quite unimpressed with him.

    He too is crying foul that Hynes is still in the race, which i find a bit cry-babyish.

    His performance with the Dominique Strauss-Kahn was embarrassing. In the end, Brooklyn loses either way.

  3. Hynes made promises and backtracked. So he was intentionally dishonest or an incompetent bumbler. You have no idea how much staff in his office are experiencing turmoil about this backtracking. Hynes promised Thompson a transition office and has now broken his promise. Isn’t that moral failing even if it is legal.?

  4. Enough with Haynes already. He’s dead already but no one wants to tell him to lie down but the voters will let him know in a few weeks.

    Time for more important matters: What’s the inside dirt on Epstein? What’s coming out next?

    What about his son and daughter? When does the bell toll for them?

    • Rational Faith,

      I am not your personal information assembler, who has to tailor his work product (produced on my time and dime) to your curiosity. If you want to do the work, be my guest and if it is good I will certainly link to it.

  5. ExposingCon hit the nail on the head. I personally like Hynes in many ways but his stated reasons for getting back in the race are disingenuous at best. I get the distinct impression that there are others who are pushing him to do this for reasons that are of no benefit to the DA. If you read this blog, then you know who those players are. They have selfishly encouraged the DA to run on the Republican ticket despite his previous promises. More importantly, I predict that on election night, the embarrassment that will ensue when the DA loses by even more percentage points than in the primary, will have the effect of ruining his legacy almost entirely. Further, by doing this, he has placed his employees in an untenable position. The ones who are egging him on already know that they’re out with the Thompson administration so they have nothing to lose. They could care less about the others who will be forced to campaign for the DA in the wake of a looming Thompson win. They do not care what effect this run might have on the prospects of others to keeptheir jobs.

    Most importantly, the race angle in all of this is not a small one. I can tell you that many IGNORANT comments have been made, further fueling the belief of many in the office that several supervisors are closet racists- The only thing is that now, they have come out of their closets. This will perhaps be the worst legacy that this run by the DA will leave. When Thompson said the other day that the Kings County District Attorney’s Office was in disarray, if he only knew, he only knew, that’s not even the half of it.

  6. I suspect he does know. People on the inside have been talking to his team. He was just being publicly polite.

    • And this is why the “fixers” must stop. Too many of us know where the bodies are buried. If they keep it up, people might just cease being ” polite.”

  7. I hope to hell Thompson does some serious reviews of some of the uglier cases in KCDA. I am sure they are all over the building. In sex crimes there needs to be at a minimum a review of the Deutsch deal, the Lebovits case, the Dascalowitz case, the flubbed Mondrowitz extradition, and the sweetheart plea bargain for Yehudah Kolko.

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