Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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June 5th, 2009

Wooing conservatives is the liberal thing to do

Every year I enjoy attending the Conservative Party Dinner, this year was no different. The social event held last week at the Eldred Preserve brought together a smorgasbord of Sullivan County’s movers and shakers.

An endorsement from the Conservative Party often guarantees victory, so as one would expect the event was flooded with diverse political leaders.

The Conservative Party leadership led by Robert Hoose and Steven Burke strive to endorse the best qualified candidates even if their political ideology differs from the state platform.

“Our primary concern is Sullivan County. We endorse those whom we believe can do the best job running our government,” Hoose told me.

Democrats and Republicans joined Conservatives in praising honoree Appellate Judge Anthony Kane for his impeccable service. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Senator John Bonacic, and former County Clerk George Cooke all had words of praise.

It was disheartening to many in attendance that the highly respected Judge Kane has decided to retire instead of seeking reelection.

The general rule has been that a sitting Supreme Court Judge is usually cross endorsed by all political parties providing there is a record impartiality.

In the case of Kane, not only is he recognized as being unbiased, but he is an Appellate Justice.

Over the years, our Judicial District has become overwhelmingly Democratic, and in order for Kane to have approached other Democratic Committees he needed the backing of Sullivan County Democrats. They instead endorsed legal aid head Steven Schick.

Some say it was “old party politics and settling the score of personal vendettas” that led party strongholds not to support Kane. Others claim “If you want a Democratic endorsement become a Democrat.”

Apparently that type of philosophy doesn’t stop Democrats and Republicans from seeking the Conservative Party endorsement.

Democratic insiders acknowledge Schick will have a slim to none chance of winning the Party endorsement at the State Judicial Convention.

In fact, Schick has told people if Democratic District Attorney nominee Glen Kroll, who recently came under fire exits the race, he would jump in.

And, speaking of Kroll, County Attorney Sam Yasgur was still fuming at the Conservative Party Dinner over Kroll’s allegations that he lied about the number of times he said Kroll solicited inmates at the county jail. Yasgur who is known for his honesty and political independence told me bluntly Kroll was “the liar.”

Kroll meanwhile was busy working the crowd, as was Republican nominee Chief Assistant District Attorney Jim Farrell. Farrell, who is the odds on favorite to receive the Conservative nod, was greeting those in attendance with District Attorney Steven Lungen.

Mingling was indeed the theme of the evening. Democratic County Chairman Steve Wilkinson and his counterpart Republican County Chairman John LiGreci were there, as were Board of Elections Commissioners Faith Kaplan and Rodney Gaebel.

Sheriff Michael Schiff who is up for reelection and his Undersheriff Eric Chaboty were chatting with the crowd, as was Democratic Sheriff candidate Legislator Frank Armstrong. Nancy Buck noted that Treasurer Ira Cohen could not make the event.

Practically all of the candidates for Town Supervisor were there.

Town of Thompson Supervisor Anthony Cellini who was also honored, quipped, “I hope this means I have the endorsement.” Cellini has Democrat and Republican backing. The word on the street has Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins considering a challenge on his “G Man” line.

Outgoing Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Levine had Democratic candidate Steve Vegliante by his side, but Republican Joe Perillo was close by.

Bethel Supervisor Dan Strum boasted Democrats endorsed all incumbents because “We are all working together.” Although Republican candidate Harold Russell sees things differently, Strum was seated with Council members Democrat Denise Frangipane and Republican Richard Crumley.

Calicoon Supervisor Linda Babitz and her Republican opponent Tom Bose were also courting the Conservatives, as were many other candidates seeking endorsements.

Republicans and Democrats sat together eating and gabbing away. Seated at my table were legislators Leni Binder, Alan Sorensen, Frank Armstrong and Jodi Goodman’s mother Beatrice “Pookie” Novogrodsky. I joined District Attorney Steve Lungen, Jim Farrell, and Liberty candidate for Town Judge Harold Bauman for dessert.

Waiting on the buffet line was the most fun. Conversations were interesting to say the least. Town of Thompson Justice Marty Miller even shouted that I was jumping the line.

What I like most about the leadership of the Conservative Party is their openness and sincerity. Hoose justly praised the Sullivan County Democrat and reporter Dan Hust for being fair and balanced. The same sentiment goes for the Sullivan County Conservative Party; they are without a doubt fair, balanced, and open minded. They really do know right from wrong.

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