By Jerry Waxman
Throughout recorded history and throughout all of literature human beings have been subjected to temptation in myriad forms. Starting in Genesis temptation takes the form of a serpent who seduces eve to taste the forbidden fruit. Throughout the Old Testament temptation then takes the form of a woman; witness Delilah, Jezebel and others who drove men to commit acts that they otherwise would not do. The men paid for these transgressions in various ways, but pay for them they did. Throw in the manifest form of the Devil and now we have a drama that plays out every day in some peoples’ lives. Forgetting the bible, history is full of heroes, who with feet of clay, yielded to temptation and paid dearly for it. Julius Caesar and Marc Antony were both seduced by the same woman, Cleopatra, which in turn brought down the demise of the Republic, and then the complete collapse of Egypt. Even today sports figures like Lance Armstrong and a bunch of baseball players yielded to temptation to make them faster, stronger, etc. at the cost of their integrity and the sporting world’s ire. As a result Armstrong has been stripped of his titles and these major leaguers may never get the chance to be in the Hall of Fame. Democratic politicians who yielded to temptation include Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer, men who should have known better. If one looks at the devil as the purveyor of immoral things, one should also know that those things have a cost. They are not free, and while you may not die because of them the devil still extracts a very dear price.
In literature the most famous example of this is Faust. Two years ago I wrote an article about Congressman Dan Webster and yielded to the temptation to title it The Devil and Dan Webster doing a word play on Stephen Vincent Benet’s short story, who stole the story from Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker. Wow! Talk about temptation! Talk about chutzpah! My temptation was that this was probably the only time in my life that I could use that title. Modern authors don’t condemn their Fausts to damnation, but they do make them suffer their consequences. Back in 1954 Douglass Wallop wrote The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, which was adapted into the Broadway musical Damn Yankees. The story line is simple- average Joe sells his soul to the devil to help the hapless Washington Senators beat the Yankees and go on to the World Series. The difference was that this average Joe, being a business type, demanded an escape clause just in case things go wrong. To insure that Joe doesn’t break the contract, the devil, Mr. Applegate, sends his chief seductress, Lola to tempt Joe and keep him in line. Joe eventually does escape his fate but not before going through a lot of turmoil. Wallopchose a bad year. Cleveland won the pennant in 1954 and lost in 4 straight to the Giants.
What’s happening right now in the Florida Democratic Party is nothing less than the classic struggle for its soul. State party elections are scheduled for Jan. 26 at which time there are two completely opposite candidates for chair. Usually things like this are pretty cut and dried with party leaders choosing among themselves who will occupy these offices, but not this year. Alan Clendenin, a Tampa area activist is fed up with FDP inertia which for fourteen years has not produced a Democratic governor and few statewide office holders since Jeb Bush was elected. That notwithstanding, the party has lost legislative seats in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by almost one million registered voters. Clendenin asserts that party insiders are comfortable with their positions and don’t care about winning elections. Clendenin has an impressive work history and his resume’ covers a lot of territory. His career as an air traffic controller and union organizer took him to the heights of his profession. Politically he has held positions in county and state party offices and he has served as a member of the Democratic National Committee.
His opponent, Allison Tant, is a relative newcomer to party politics and is looked at by party insiders as a messiah because of her connections and fund raising ability. Her supporters claim that she is a tireless worker for good causes, including children and education. She did raise a lot of money for the Obama Campaign, and she’s a whiz at organizing house parties to support her causes and raise money. The problem with Tant is that she carries a lot of baggage. She was a registered lobbyist for companies and organizations that work against Democratic principles as pointed out in this article in The Political Hurricane. At the same time her husband, Barry Richard, a principal in the large law firm Greenberg Traurig was working for George W. Bush to win the Florida recount in 2000. Strange thing is that they both claim to be Democrats. Furthermore, it seems that the entire power structure of FDP is working for her election, which is at least unethical if not illegal. There’s no concern there that anyone will lose their job if she’s elected because it seems that the entire FDP is managing her campaign.
Tant was little known outside of Tallahassee until Clendenin announced that he was going to campaign for Chair. At that time the only other contender was South Floridian Annette Taddeo, who was a favorite of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Taddeo withdrew in favor of Tant back in December and Schultz then threw her weight behind Tant. Tant wasn’t even qualified to be FDP chair until the Leon County Democrats cleared the way for her during the same time frame. The question is not why; the question is whose money is behind it? Why are DWS and Bill Nelson so avidly in Tant’s corner unless there’s loads of money to help their ambitions? There are some answers that the Political Hurricane has speculated on, yet the dots are not easy to connect so we won’t dwell on it here. Tant’s and her husband’s records are full of red flags. There’s a word for these kinds of people that we wouldn’t say in polite company, but then they are not selling their bodies-only what makes their bodies work. Clendenin’s record, on the other hand, is spotless.
Several months ago I published an article comparing the FDP to a Post World War II Studebaker. Very attractive, yet doesn’t know where it is going. This was after the October 2011 convention in Disney World which was (to me) ineptly handled and other than Friday night’s speeches by DWS and Joe Biden it was a complete waste of time. The more I know about how the current FDP operates the more I know why that is.
This is a classic right vs. wrong battle. I won’t say good vs. evil because I don’t believe that Tant either is or represents evil. I don’t know her, yet I’m sure I would like her personally, however, that is not enough to convince me that she’s the right person. The lines have been drawn and many good people have lined up on both sides of support. Clendenin’s support comes from people. Tant’s support comes from people who either seduce or are seduced by money and power. Clendenin does not seduce; he convinces people through words and appropriate action. Tant had the opportunity on Jan 4 to meet more than 50 grass roots activists at former Orange County DEC chairman Doug Head’s First Friday event. She was invited as well as Clendenin. She messaged Head that she’ll try and make it but may not be able to break away. Clendenin came and spoke eloquently, as well as making real sense. We’ll never know what Tant had to say. She happened to be at John Morgan’s (you know who he is-For The People) house addressing wealthy supporters. Morgan doesn’t live that far away, about forty five minutes at most. She just chose to be with the money and screw the little guy. They have no votes anyway. She has also angered members of the Hispanic and Black Caucuses in her “Let them eat cake” attitude when she is speaking in public.
What is astounding is the amount of Democratic Women’s groups that are supporting her. Are they unaware of her conflicts or don’t they care? It’s amazing that her gender blinds them to things that they would not countenance in a man. Given what they know about her record if Allison Tant were named Albert would that change their support? They’re going to have to do some soul searching to answer that question. Alan Clendenin is who he appears to be and this latest video says it all.
Central Florida Democrats who are not going to D.C. for the Inauguration are invited to watch it at Doug Head’s house. At that time they are going to plan a mass turnout of Clendenin supporters to be at the FDP elections on January 26. Tee shirt designs and poster designs will be available. The only way to fight the seduction of money and power is to confront it and challenge it. It happened on Nov. 6, 2012 and it can happen on Jan 26. Show up and fight for Alan Clendenin, otherwise Mr. Applegate will claim a bunch more souls.