Minnesota to New York…I miss Senator Pothole, aka Al D’Amato

Once again, real life rears its often ugly head and reminds us about the fragility of everything that exists. I find myself trying to have it both ways, complaining that the news is normally a bunch of nonsense, but that hard news is often too painful to watch.

The people of Minnesota are suffering, they need our support. For up to the minute coverage, one can scower http://michellemalkin.com/2007/08/01/minneapolis-bridge-collapse/ for the latest information.

I have met Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman. They are both good, decent, kind men, and they will roll up their sleeves to help the people of Minnesota. Whatever we can do to help them, we absolutely should.

For those who wish to play the blame game, terrible human beings will always exist, and rather than feed their egos by mentioning them by name, I would rather think of the good people who actually care about constructive solutions. That is what we need right now.

Michelle Malkin compared the Minnesota bridge collapse to the Northridge Earthquake in Los Angeles back in 1994. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and yet although I remember it vividly, I did not make the connection. Perhaps it is because I had only been in Los Angeles for four years, and there was not an emotional connection to the city.

I am born and raised in New York, and will always be a New Yorker, no matter how long I live elsewhere. For that reason, when watching the Minnesota coverage of the bridge collapse, I thought of the recent pipeline gas explosion in New York. Also, Earthquakes are acts of God or nature. Pipeline explosions and bridge collapses are infrastructure issues.

The I-word–infrastructure. It might be one of the least politically sexy topics that exists, but it is one of the most important. Our government is supposed to try to protect us from threats. I would say that a bridge collapsing or a pipeline exploding is a threat. This is not to place blame on anybody, but to find out where we go from here so that we can reduce the chances of something like this happening again in the near future.

I remember growing up and admiring former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato. He was loud, bombastic, theatrical, but still a nice guy…basically your typical New Yorker. The type of guy who may appear brash, but is there when you need him.

Al D’Amato’s nickname was “Senator Pothole.” Some people treated this as a pejorative, but it should be seen as a compliment. People went to him with the most mundane concerns, and he addressed them.

I remember when my parents wanted Senator D’Amato to defeat a gun control bill that they thought was bad policy. My father wrote him a sincere note stating that he “was not some wild eyed gun nut. He was a schoolteacher, a law abiding citizen, and a father of two children who simply believed that this gun control bill was a bad bill.” Senator D’Amato wrote back and thanked my parents for their support, stated that he agreed with them, and promised to try and defeat the bill. He kept his word.

Yes, D’Amato could be theatrical. He once held a press conference to announce he was in love…not engaged, just in love. When he and his girlfriend broke up, he held a press conference to announce that they still loved each other and wished each other the best. However, that same personal touch allowed him to capture 40% of the Jewish vote against a Jewish candidate in a race he won with only 51% of the total vote. Elderly Jewish women in particular, not a normal republican constituency, liked his work on breast cancer issues, as well as on Israel. He focused on the issues that did not get media coverage, but ordinary voters cared about.

We need more politicians that focus on the mundane. We need less potholes. We need more Senator Potholes. We have a presidential election coming up where issues that affect a small slice of the electorate will be discussed ad nauseum.

I am not trying to minimize the passion that people feel about abortion, but how many people are directly…and I stress directly…affected by somebody having an abortion? Gay rights issues do not affect the overwhelming majority of Americans on a daily basis.

Outside of the War on Terror and the economy, very little affects all Americans every day all the time. This is not to render those issues unimportant, but it should highlight the infrastructure issue because it is relevant right now. Global warming could happen one day. A bridge in Minnesota did collapse. A pipeline in New York did explode. Levees in Louisiana did burst.

No politician can prevent the next earthquake, flood, fire or tornado. What all politicians must do is put aside the bickering and blame on the infrastructure issue since every one of them has a responsibility to help reduce the damage caused by various unavoidable tragedies.

Members of the House of Representatives should be under the closest scrutiny. The late Tip O’Neill once said that, “all politics is local.” If the President has to keep an entire nation safe, then surely congresspeople can help keep their districts from being ruined.

I pray for the people of Minnesota, and I pray that, at the risk of boring some Americans to sleep, Senators stop trying to fix every global problem (except the War on Terror, which we must win), roll up their sleeves, and start talking to the American people about fixing potholes. Better yet, they can take a cue from Al D’Amato himself, and simply get them fixed.


9 Responses to “Minnesota to New York…I miss Senator Pothole, aka Al D’Amato”

  1. […] issue since every one of them has a responsibility to help reduce the damage,” writes the Tygrrrr Express. Posted in Gotham City, Transportation, Albany by Gail Robinson | August 2, 2007, 4:36 pm […]

  2. arclightzero says:

    thanks for the kind words, Eric. You’re talking about my home there, and while dealing with this mess it has been very disheartening that people are turning this into some sort of nutty political blame game. It’s easy to forget that there are human beings involved here, and that all politics aside, there should be some prayers in the hearts and minds of the American people…

  3. Zach says:

    nice work… its interesting… i dont know that i agree with everything but…its quite interesting indeed. we could trade links if you want…….. you can also vote for me in the things that you see on my site…if you like it…..

  4. […] Several commentators see a link between the bridge collapse in Minnesota and last month’s steam pipe explosion in Midtown Manhattan: aging infrastructure. “What all politicians must do is put aside the bickering and blame on the infrastructure issue since every one of them has a responsibility to help reduce the damage,” writes the Tygrrrr Express. […]

  5. Blogmasterpg says:

    Hi, Eric. I saw your comment in my Opinion/political blog; http://www.ARCANAINTELLEGO.blogspot.com , after that i went to read this your last post, and i saw how love you add to write your blog, and, of course i vote for you. I’d like to partecipate, but I’m Italian and my principal Blog, Arcana intellego wrote in Italian language and in an international competition We have not chance. I have 2-3 blogs in english language, but its are ‘support blog’, the only Blog that i think to subscribe (next year) in this competition is CANZONI ITALIANE- ITALIAN SONGS. blogspot.com It’s in english language and next year i think it will has more than 60-70 post (every post a singer..) OK: I’d like to make a link exchange with you in arcana Intellego the links friends are in the footer of page. I’m waiting a your answer: I’ll be happy to have your blog Link in My firstofall Blog. God bless you, Bye from Italy. PS: I write a comment on Bloggerchoiseaward.

  6. eric says:


    Someone mentioned the psychotic Michelle Malkin, the repulsive Norm Coleman and America’s dumbest senator, D’Amato in one post.

  7. Caryn says:

    Hey Eric,

    This has nothing to do with your post :) I’m just responding to your comment on my blog to let you know that yes, I’d be happy to vote for you and cross-link.


  8. mRed says:

    “eric said”

    “Someone mentioned the psychotic Michelle Malkin, the repulsive Norm Coleman and America’s dumbest senator, D’Amato in one post.

    I’d like to echo your “impressive”. In one sentence you proved yourself to be a sophmoric, name calling fool. That was repulsively, yet psychotically dumb. Impressive.

    To the real eric, an insightful article. Thank you for it.

  9. Raven says:


    I agree with arclightzero, as someone who lives only 10 minutes or so from the bridge I also want to thank you for the kind words.

    @arclightzero: Its good to see another Minnesotan. I’ve been reading your stuff, very nice. Found you thanks to this {Tygrrr Express} site in fact. Feel free to pop over to mine.

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