Is Room 8 in Trouble? (Includes My Comments on Rock’s Sampson Piece)

I first apologize for using a different handle here, but this Room 8 meta stuff is not what my regular column is supposed to be about, and to make my column about such stuff is to let the terrorists win.  

It was very heartening when Rock reopened his comments section, because discourse is what this site is about.

It was sad that most, but not all the comments posted in response were ad hominem attacks on Rock and sycophantic response to them from Rock’s “fans.”

It would have been better if Rock and his “fans” had just ignored the insults.

This time, I understand why Rock had the comments deleted, but I still do not agree. At most, I would have zapped the offending comments, which I think is the better policy.

Nonetheless I think it is instructive to remember that the thing that caused Rock to close his comments the last time was not the works of some trolls; it was the perfectly legitimate comment I link here.

In response to which Rock, launched a series of ad hominem attacks, and then closed his comments section.

I thought this was now all water under the bridge and we could go on.

Sadly, some of you refuse to respect this site .

Like Rock, I’ve sometimes been tempted to take my business elsewhere.

But one should remember why this site was founded.

Ben Smith had founded the Politicker.

In the NYC politics of 2005, the original Politicker was like Rick’s in Casablanca:

The Place where everyone went.

Ben’s posts were good, but people really went to the Politicker to read the comments. And comment themselves.

Soon there was a stable of self-appointed regulars. Gate, Rock, Yoda, Skurnick. EnWhySeaWonk, Lead Dog, Beadie Markowitz, Marty Barfowitz, Judith Memblatt.

G-d, I wish the old archives still existed.

Ben loved us so much, he open a site for us.

Room 8 was about the people who posted comments. The take away the comments section, is to denigrate the entirety of our reason for being.

Anyway, I am not writing this to harass Rock.

Rock says “I do think people are redeemable and that’s why I engage near everybody.”

I want to engage.

Rock has commented about John Sampson . John Sampson is an important person. If one has a contrary opinion, or something to add, one should be able to do it.

I was glad to be able to do so. I see no reason why these comments should not be part of the public record, though I would have preferred that they had remained attached to Rock’s original piece.

There were a couple of other comments, some very harsh, that also made comments relevant to the original piece. I hope they were not the reason the comments was deleted.

I hope they are also reposted.

So let me reprint my original comments here

1) Rock says a majority of Sampson’s district opposes same ex marriage. I don’t really disagree. But, has I’ve said before, Sampson wants to remain as Democratic Leader of the Senate. Who can blame him? No one can remain as Democratic Leader of the NYS Senate without supporting same-sex marriage. Moreover, with the Democrats in the Majority, it was impossible for the Democratic Leader not to allow a vote.

Christ, the Republican Leader couldn’t resist the pressure to allow a vote.

Is courage a factor here? Perhaps, but I think it is not unreasonable to conclude that ambition outweighs fear, and that is the real story.

2) Will Sampson get a primary challenge?

Perhaps, but as someone who worked for a leader, who took some votes unpopular in his district because he was a leader, I can tell you that having over 100 staffers and the ability to raise a lot of money tends to diminish the fear of a primary. Marty Connor preferred facing a primary as leader to avoiding one without that job. I suspect Sampson feels the same way.

3) “One of these days I will write some of those Mitch Alter political stories if the trolls here were to ever stop messing with my blog (and comments-section).”

C’mon Rock, you aren’t the only one with stories to tell about Mitch.

4) Racetrack Empire?

This seems a tepid response from someone so adamant about Charlie Rangel. I make no presumptions about legality, but it sure stinks, was handled poorly with the press, and probably cost Democrats the Majority.

5) “The reverend (AR BERNARD) himself lives in a mansion on Long Island, but in a redistricting year like 2012, one doesn’t have to move in to the district till after the primary.”


In a redistricting year, to run in a district, one must have a residence in one of the counties in the district. Perhaps the district will expand into Queens, but not Nassau. Bernard is ineligible to run unless he moves.

If you don’t believe me, ask Mitch.

6) If Perry has two opponents, he wins, even if one agrees with him on SSM.

7) Sampson’s advisors should be concerned. Given the tremendous resources he commands, he will probably win a primary easily, but the expenditures of time and money it will require will be highly detrimental to the Democrats’ chances of picking up the Majority.

8) The gay political leadership owes Sampson, not as much as they owe Cuomo, but quite enough. They had better be there for him.