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Tunnel vision

Rep. Thomas Suozzi's head was shaved during the

Rep. Thomas Suozzi's head was shaved during the St. Baldrick's Foundation event at Downtown Cafe in Glen Cove on March 18, 2018. The St. Baldrick's shavings coincided with the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade. 

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Daily Point

Suozzi to the barricades

Looks like conservative media doesn’t like it when the armed insurrection is on the other foot.

Fox News and the New York Post ran stories Monday about a March 12 town hall in Huntington hosted by CD3’s Thomas Suozzi. The Fox News online headline about the freshman Democrat read “Democrat Suggests ‘Second Amendment’ Remedy Vs. Trump” and the Post’s was “Congressman Suggests Second Amendment As Means of Opposing Trump.”

Suozzi says it was a mischaracterization . . . sort of. “I certainly didn’t call for armed insurrection against Trump,” Suozzi told The Point.

At the town hall, video of which Fox linked to, a woman asked what could be done if a president did not listen to the courts or Congress. She asked Suozzi, “If there is a mandate from the House, from the Congress as a whole, for the president, if he does not execute that mandate, what happens?”

“It’s really a matter of putting public pressure on the president,” Suozzi answered. “This is where the Second Amendment comes in, quite frankly, because you know, what if the president was to ignore the courts? What would you do? What would we do?”

Arguing that the Second Amendment was put in place so that an armed citizenry would be able to rise up against a tyrannical government is a bedrock conservative principle, but coming out of a Democrat’s mouth, a top Republican spokesman was simply appalled.

“The video is incredibly disturbing,” Chris Martin, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee and frequent Suozzi critic told the Post. “It’s surreal to watch a sitting member of Congress suggest that his constituents should take up arms against the president of the United States.”

But far more specific threats against former President Barack Obama were not uncommon from Republicans pre-Donald Trump. The March 2012 edition of the newsletter of the Republican Party of Greene County, Virginia, called for an “armed revolution” if Obama won re-election that November.

And in 2014, former congressman Tom Tancredo called on House Republicans to impeach the president and warned that if “Republicans are afraid to challenge presumptuous dictatorial behavior, then the war is already lost and we should stock up our ammunition shelves and join a militia.”

Neither faced much blowback from the right.

Suozzi told The Point that he was answering a hypothetical about an out-of-control president, not suggesting Trump be taken out. But his campaign also released a Thomas Jefferson quote in response to inquiries about the video: “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

Strange days indeed.

Lane Filler

Talking Point

Tunnel talk

A top state transportation official came to Long Island Monday morning to talk about the next big infrastructure project proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: a bridge or tunnel crossing of Long Island Sound.

In taking questions at a Long Island Association meeting in Melville, DOT Executive Deputy Commissioner Ron Epstein said he couldn’t get into specifics about the project, saying over and over that the state is only at the beginning of a process.

At one point, he compared the crossing to the Long Island Rail Road’s third track, another major transportation project with a long and convoluted history.

“The third track,” Epstein told The Point later, “was an evolutionary process.”

The third track was smacked down by local opposition when first proposed. Years later, it finally received approval after state officials went retail big time, meeting with residents to explain the project and get their feedback — while also doling out various sweeteners to communities along the main line.

A cross-Sound bridge/tunnel goes back even further, to 1938. “We’re already hearing from people that you’re taking my house,” Epstein said about the opposition that is forming.

He promised there will be public meetings and hearings and lots of opportunity for input. He said the scoping and design process should take five years. And while he said he could not comment on the tough politics surrounding the project — not to mention any potential sweeteners — he expressed optimism.

“Over time, the benefits will be out there and people will see what the impacts are and we’ll be good to go,” Epstein said.

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

Running out of paper

More cartoons

Quick Points

Nixon campaign

  • Actress Cynthia Nixon is going to take on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a Democratic primary. Zephyr Teachout, a liberal who lost to Cuomo in the 2014 primary, will be her treasurer. Fans of historical tidbits will appreciate that Teachout is now going to appear in the same sentence as “Nixon campaign.”
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe because he “lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.” Then how is Sessions still employed?
  • First, news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller had sent a list of sample questions to President Donald Trump that he wants to ask the president. Then Trump launched a tweetstorm directed at Mueller. Who says Trump isn’t transparent?
  • The National Institutes of Health is doing a clinical trial on whether a daily alcoholic drink is healthy, funded in part by alcohol companies solicited by the NIH. Now there’s a set of research results that won’t be at all controversial.
  • GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy tweeted to President Donald Trump that if he has done nothing wrong he should want special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to be as thorough as possible. Just like Hillary Clinton should have wanted Gowdy’s endless Benghazi investigation to be as thorough as possible?
  • The predicted high temperature for Tuesday, the first day of spring, is 37 degrees. The high temperature on Dec. 21, the first day of winter, was 39 degrees. So if you’re frustrated, you’ve got reason.

Michael Dobie