Dan Burke: The Democratic Party’s Pariah.
You’d think things couldn’t get much worse for recently defeated Monroe Council Candidate Dan Burke. But you wouldn’t think that Burke would make himself even more of a pariah to the party that revoked their endorsement prior to the recent election.
The Monroe Democratic Committee, days before the town’s election, rescinded their endorsement of Dan Burke as a candidate for re-election to his Monroe Town Council seat (see the original article and the committee’s statement here). The move was a rebuke of Burke’s decisions, positions, and overall record. It further cited Burke’s support of the 164 acre annexation of land by Kiryas Joel from the town of Monroe.
Prior to the election, Burke had little support from Monroe voters who demanded change rather than more support for the policies of Supervisor Harley Doles. Although largely symbolic, the move signaled a clear statement that even his own party wanted to distance itself from the incumbent. Dan Burke was defeated by nearly a 2:1 margin, with districts outside Kiryas Joel holding few votes for the one-term Democrat.
The committee’s statement didn’t make much difference. But it didn’t keep Dan Burke from removing it from the Monroe Democratic Committee Facebook page within hours of it being posted. What it symbolized was that Dan Burke was suddenly a desperate man without a party, much less party support.
Rather than a gracious exit, Burke is now asking for the Democratic Committee leadership to be ousted from their current positions, and his brought his request to the Orange County Democratic Committee (see the recent article from the Time Herald-Record here). His assertion: Disloyalty.
Apparently, Dan Burke believes that the party should blindly support any of its candidates, regardless of stance. That’s an idyllic view. Burke refuses to consider his own Town Board record, one that gave no consideration to the Democrats of Monroe outside of Kiryas Joel. He also refuses to consider that no one would step up to challenge an incumbent and show even more party disloyalty. And Burke forgets that, regardless of party position, most voters in Monroe were not going to support Burke at the ballot box. There was a very good reason for that.
Dan Burke wasn’t loyal to the voters of Monroe.
Burke’s record was to not consider any view other than his own or that of Harley Doles, and voters knew that. Burke never listened to constituent feedback, or perhaps couldn’t hear it. Moreover, he was unable to provide positions on issues that didn’t mirror those of Harley Doles or Gerard McQuade. Voters were far more informed and engaged than he expected.
So when Dan Burke refers to the word ‘disloyalty’, he fails to recognize his own flaws and mistakes. Or flatly refuses to.
And the Monroe Democratic Committee called him on that. In a six page statement entitled “Dan Burke Disloyalty“, Chairman Tom Kemnitz countered with a statement that holds “Dan Burke as disloyal to much of what we hold dear as Democrats.” Kemnitz also references the ongoing investigation of Harley Doles by the state Attorney General’s Office.
On Being a pariah.
Adding insult to his self-inflicted injury, Burke sent a mailer the weekend prior to the education, begging for support, and extolling how he had read through the 27+ opinions by organizations advising against the Kiryas Joel annexation attempt, yet chosen to vote for it anyway. The icing? The return address was “Friends of Dan Burke”. Comical, since Burke never engendered himself to Monroe residents, showing his loyalty only to the Kiryas Joel political leadership. And that view was echoed across the rest of Monroe where he garnered little support.
218 votes, to be exact. When placed in another context, here’s why that’s comical.
Highway Superintendent Anthony Rizzo, who ran only a write-in campaign, received over 300 votes. Meaning that people made the effort to support Rizzo despite his lack of a ballot position. Turns out Burke didn’t have many friends.
By biting back at the party that originally supported him, then showing his own lack of loyalty, Dan Burke has become a pariah. One who, while perhaps maintaining a Democrat voter registration, will never again have party support in the Town of Monroe. His request to the Orange Democratic Committee completely disrespects the thousands of registered Democrats in Monroe to whom he showed no loyalty. Burke cannot blame his party for his failure, because he failed his own party and Monroe voters. It’s entirely self-inflicted.
We hope the Orange Democratic Committee sees this for what it is: A desperate attempt to exact revenge against those who would not support a candidate that failed them and the town. It’s making oneself a pariah, something Burke has learned to do well. We applaud the efforts of the Monroe Democratic Committee, however belated, to be relevant to the voters of Monroe. And we commend them on having the courage to make a tough public stance that might not have been popular with blind party-loyalists, but was certainly welcomed by the Democrats of Monroe.
Dan Burke could have learned something about courage from them. Instead, turned himself into a pariah.
Trust us, Dan. You already were one. You’ve only cemented that view in everyone’s minds.
Responsible replies and comments invited.