Unity My Ass
Today the Democratic Party of Guam thanked Madeleine Bordallo for asking for an investigation of 2010 election fraud allegations. It was a subtle reminder of her “vow” last month to island Dems who felt she has played virtually no role in real Democratic politics except to come in, on occasion from the fringes, for meager campaigning stops. Local Democrats have asked her to use the authority of her position in Washington to seek federal scrutiny into serious allegations of voter irregularities that include double voting, fraud in Barrigada and Yigo, improper ballot security, illegal purging of registered voters, and buying votes, among other allegations.
IT WAS just a few weeks ago that Democratic island leaders gathered in Sinajaña. More than 200 Democrats gathered to attest to a new-found committment towards party unity. Congressional Delegate Madeleine Bordallo and former Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez shook hands vowing mutal and full support of the pale election reform bill passed by the legislature, but naturally vetoed by governor Eddie Calvo.
That a unity effort is necessary, itself is testament to the factionalism that Madeleine has furtively fostered from the fringes of the Guam Democratic party, starting only months after the demise of her late husband, the former governor, and legendary man of the people, Ricardo “Ricky” Bordallo.
Carl is, inarguably, Guam’s only living statesman. Agreeing to surrender what would surely be a successful bid for Congress 2012 for the sake of fostering real party unity, and trusting nothing more than a feeble handshake reaffirms that fact; particularly as Gutierrez is no doubt aware of the duplicituous behind-the-scenes machinations that Madeleine has arsenaled over the years to confound him and most anything he chose to do.
The former lieutenant governor’s demure tactics of factionalization of the Democratic party to foster a very rewarding political career would not continue if real unity - and thereby organizational strength - siezed island Democrats and their leaders.
A discernible pattern of divisive Democratic politics is clear even in the waning months of her last term with former governor Gutierrez.
With party factionalism the dynamic that has driven Madeleine Bordallo’s political trajectory for decades, it is unrealistic to expect she will or can really do anything meaningful like real election reform from the fringes of the Democratic party where she is concreted.
In April 2001, with less than a year and a half of her second term as lt. governor, a key special advisor to her office resigned, accusing her of working to undermine the governor’s efforts to coalesce the party ahead of upcoming elections.
James Sablan, a Democratic stalwart and devoted supporter of the late governor Bordallo, cited among other reasons for “great concern” the former lt. governor’s refusal to follow a directive “to provide factual information and that documents be made on a timely and accurate manner,” relative to partisan inquiries from the legislature in 2002 pre-election posturing mode.
Sablan goes on in the resignation letter to express disillusionment in the former local TV hostess’ failure to cooperate in promoting Gutierrez’s “one policy” approach. Madeleine demonstrated this in subtle ways, such as the octogenarian fashion horse’s refusal to return to Guam (as requested by the governor) to avoid turning over executive administration to the Republican Speaker Tony Unpingco during an upcoming trip by the governor.
“The decision to change your arrival date (to Guam) for the third time - and only if seat 1A is available - has caused greater tension and stress to the staff and put me in a very difficult predicament with governor and the airlines, to say the least,” Sablan wrote.
“The governor had to reschedule his travel plans to avoid any reoccurence of the public embarrassment by the Speaker (as Acting governor),” the Democratic heavyweight said in reproach to the divaesque lt. governor.
He continued, “With only 15 months left of the Gutierrez-Bordallo team, I would like to see that the lt. governor’s office work in conjunction with policies of the governor, as it should be.
“Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that this will really happen and I can no longer work under this environment. It is not within my person to continue to allow the compromises that jeopardize my relationship with you or the governor to continue. Therefore, is in the best interest of all parties, and particularly mine, I will be requesting the governor to transfer me to an agency that can best use my financial and administrative abilities.”
While many sincerely hoped that Carl had finally armwrestled Madeline back into the Democratic fold from the far edges of the party, to stand up once firmly for the very principles that have always been the bedrock of the Democratic party - voter rights and election reform - I doubt it will produce any substantive work from Madeleine on the issue.
Guam voters rallied to Ricky Bordallo’s cause not because they condoned his corruption or incredibly horrible suicide during rush hour traffic in a political spectacle far too over the top. Rather, because he fought hard for himself, he fought hard for them. His own personal battles became the battles of the people of Guam.
Carl is like Ricky. He fights hard. He is a true statesman, an internationally honored leader and hero - and a fighter. Stepping aside with a shaky handshake and nod from Madeleine may demonstrate a degree of magnanimity few other than Carl possess, however it is foolish strategy.
Factionalism as politics is successful for the congresswoman. The only team she has historically shown any firm, productive interest in, is her own. When all the braying about unity dies down the Democrats will remain divided, directionless and cheated out of our right to “one man, one vote” accountability.