The Lower Hudson Journal News reported last week that Yonkers Councilman John Murtagh has been working the GOP’s current Bill Ayers angle against Barack Obama. What gives it more oomph in this case is that the Weather Underground, to which Ayers belonged, firebombed Murtagh’s home in 1970. (Murtagh’s father was a judge who was trying some Black Panthers.)
Murtagh has demanded Obama “level with the public about his relationship with a man who is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks against government targets — and in the case of my family home, where they attempted to kill us.”
Murtagh is also running for Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ State Senate seat. The Ayers thing at first doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with Stewart-Cousins, who apparently neither belonged to nor knows any Weathermen. But it may have something to do with the quarter-million-plus the state party has poured into the Murtagh campaign. Many conservative papers have been using Murtagh as a poster boy for the Obama’s-terrorist-pals angle. If you’re of a cynical turn of mind, you might also note the relative melanin content of the two candidates.
But rather than attempt to ease away from the issue as a distraction, as Obama and his seconds have done, Stewart-Cousins is hitting back hard. She accuses the Councilman of “becoming a tool of swiftboat-politics.” She also points out that Murtagh may be said to have terrorist ties of his own: the Wall Street Journal reported that Murtagh legally defended without charge one Reverend John T. Murphy, whose anti-abortion group used intimidation and threats to try and close down a Garden City clinic.
Stewart-Cousins says she’s surprised that “Murtagh does not consider his efforts on behalf of an individual who led a protracted effort to terrorize women and their health-care providers a cause for concern to the voters of the 35th Senate District.”
In May Stewart-Cousins reported that someone had fired shots through the window of her office — charges which both her building manager and local police at first disputed, but later investigated, though to no result we can find. Similar claims were made by Malcolm Smith and Shirley Huntley, two other leading black Democratic State Senators. At Room Eight, abortion foe Doreen Ball claimed Stewart-Cousins’ charges were “at worst, completely fabricated,” and that the damage to her windows was “possibly” caused by “a bb gun” or by “landscaping rocks caught under the wheels of delivery trucks.”
Hearing shit like this makes us happy to be living in a more quietly corrupt polity like New York City.