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For All Nails #25: All Politics is Local

Great Neck, Brooklyn City, NY, NC, CNA
14 November 1972

Paul Markey was a nervous man.  He was about to meet the
most important client of his fledgling political consulting
firm, Markey Research.  And this client was not only the
person who could make or break his career.  She was the fabulous
Miriam Levine, Mayor of Brooklyn City, _de facto_ head of the
New York provincial Peace and Justice Party, the most prominent
woman (all right, the only prominent woman) in CNA politics, and the
constant featured subject of the dime papers.  Recently, they said,
she had broken off with the conductor of the New York Philharmonic,
the latest in a series of high-profile lovers.

Still, Paul reflected, she was a politician, and he understood
politicians.  He could count votes with the best of them, and now
with the GC-3 he could count them faster than the best of them.
And for all that the PJP talked about a new model of politics, in
Brooklyn City the old model was still going strong.  Miriam Levine
ran Brooklyn City.  She controlled the government jobs, which gave
her the money to run her campaigns, the organization to hit the streets
(particularly to get her candidates on the ballot under New York's
Byzantine petitioning rules), and the network of influence and bank
of traded favors in the provincial and state legislatures [1].  Her
father had set up the network back in the Dewey years, and it now
worked for her though the name on the ballot was "PJP" rather than

"Mr. Markey -- sorry to keep you waiting."

The man who spoke was the owner of this fine house with its fine view
of Long Island Sound.  He was a distinguished legal scholar, had briefly
been Mason's Solicitor General, was titular head of the provincial party 
that had hired him, and had a title granted by the King himself.  But
Sir Benjamin Anthony might as well have not been in the room.  The Mayor's
face was familiar from vitavision, of course, but something about her in

"Sir Benjamin, Your Honor, thank you for seeing me."

"Well, we have some decisions to make and we hope you can help."  That
voice, that welcoming smile.  This was ridiculous, Paul thought.  The
Mayor was forty-eight and looked nothing like the centerfolds in his
Mexican magazines or the coeds at Champlain.  But that smile made him
feel as though he finally had the attention of the prom queen...

"Right.  Well, we've done surveys and close analysis of prior returns
for the entire CNA, with particular attention to New York province."

"What's your take on the national picture?"

"I agree with most of the other speculation you've heard.  The absolute
worst-case scenario for Monaghan is a gain of three seats [2].  My best
guess is 89, could go as high as 94.  Those seats are coming mostly from
the Liberals -- you're going to gain here and in Manitoba but get wiped
out everywhere else."  He wondered briefly if the bluntness offended her,
but she seemed to like it.

"But we're right -- why don't the people want us?"

"That's the big question, isn't it.  My take is that the PJP's fundamental
message is that the current government is scary.  You're telling people to
be scared that Monaghan will get us into an atomic war, to be scared that
Tim Liddy has an overhearer in their bedroom, to be scared that the big 
combines will ruin the economy for the rest of us."

"And so?"  Her eyes were so big!  He was getting distracted...

"The problem is that Monaghan is fundamentally not a scary man.  We've done
some surveys where you talk to the same people over time.  When tension with
the USM goes up they trust Monaghan to deal with it and his numbers go up.
When tension goes down they give him the credit and his numbers go up.  If
we had direct voting for GG he'd win in almost every district, maybe even one
or two of yours."

"You think so?"

"It's always speculative to map a survey question to a real ballot, but yes.
Fortunately for you, Council races are local.  Didn't your father say that
all politics is local [3]?"

The local issues in Brooklyn City involved whether the city should sponsor
offensive public art, or whether to register Sapphic partnerships.  Sapphists
were a tolerated curiosity in most of the CNA, but in Brooklyn they formed
a significant voting bloc...

"He did indeed.  He could tell you little details about every neighborhood
in Brooklyn -- I still remember as many of them as I can.  On election night
he'd get the first few wards worth of real votes and tell you everything that
was happening everywhere in the city.  Can you do that?"    

"Probably not as well as he could, no, but fairly close.  A lot of what he
did was integrating information and recognizing patterns.  My grandfather  
worked in the Beliveau machine in Montreal and told me a lot of stories.  In
the back of the smoked-meat shop where they watched the returns come in there
was an old Chinaman [3a] with an abacus, working away with the numbers.  Did 
your father have an old Chinaman with an abacus?"

"It was Uncle Yitzy, and he did most of it in his head, though sometimes he
used one of those hand-crank tabulators.  What's your point?"

"Up in Burlington I've got a really good abacus called a GC-3.  When you throw
the right information into it, guided of course by the instincts of good 
political people, you can spot new patterns.  We're just starting to see the

Come to think of it, those same dime papers suggested that Her Honor was a
secret Sapphist herself!  Could that be, with all those lovers, and with 
those eyes?  But according to the Mexican magazines you couldn't always tell,
and according to that picture last month they sometimes changed preferences...
Now he was really getting distracted.  Time to pull out the pretty charts.  

"Here, here's our projections for the whole CNA.  And here's the same chart 
but all the districts are the same size."

"Hmm... I like the first one better -- a lot more white [3b] on it."

"That's because these two ridings in Manitoba, which you're going to win, each
have more land area than the whole NC.  On this chart they're shrunk down to
the same size as your three seats in Brooklyn, which you can barely see on the
first chart."

"That must have been a lot of work to make the second one."

"Actually that's the beauty of a calculator.  It did all the arithmetic to 
decide how to shrink each district in a few minutes.  Then it printed the chart
itself.  You know how a telecopier puts down each drop of ink so the new paper
in Brooklyn looks exactly like the old paper in Burgoyne?  Well, the 
instructions where to put each drop don't have to come from any real paper at
all -- they can just be numbers that the calculator thought up itself."

"GC-3... That's General Computing in Burlington?"

"Right.  Actually the color printing thing was worked out at Arthur Labs, but
everyone's working together.  That's why I located my firm in Burlington.  The
people who know how to work the GC-3 best are mostly students from Champlain,
and people who have been with GC or Arthur.  The company gives us a lot of 
help, too -- they're just itching for these color charts to become a regular 
thing in business presentations."  

"I can imagine there's a lot of money to be made, and I wish you good luck.
In the meantime, what about my Council races in the province?"

"Ah, yes.  You asked me to work out the best conditions for electoral pacts
with the PC and with the Liberals.  First, there are seven of the twelve NY
seats off the table."

"My three, Brady's three in New York City, and Ciepelski in Black Rock [4]."
The provincial organizations of the other two parties were also controlled by
big city mayors.  Monaghan's friend Anderson Brady liked to play the British
aristocrat but ran his city as ruthlessly as Levine ran hers.

"Right.  For the other five, with no deal you get Long Island, the PC gets
Oneida, Mohawk, and Endicott, and Albany-Champlain's a toss-up [5].  I don't 
see much basis for a deal with the PC, unless you could convince them they have
a shot at the western seat if you drop out there.  But the Liberals are your
spoilers in all three of the races where you're behind.  I'd say offer them
Endicott, where they _should_ win if you drop out.  Then you drop out in Black
Rock, which doesn't mean anything, and ask them to give you Oneida, Mohawk, and

"Suppose I don't want them to give me Albany-Champlain?"  Oho, Paul thought.
Vernor Dean [6] was a maverick even in a maverick party, and you wouldn't think
he'd be any special friend of the Mayor, but...

"I suppose you could ask for them to drop out on Long Island instead.  But
that's going to be sort of an obvious snub, isn't it?  And he still might win
the seat..."

"I think I can handle the likes of Vernor Dean, though it's nice of you to
worry.  So you think we can shut out the PC outside of New York City?"

"Depending on Dean, yes, if you don't set it up for him."

"And what do you think of the distinguished Chancellor Dean?"

"Frankly?  He's a weasel.  He was always on his high horse about the malign
influence of government money in our calculation center and Arthur Labs, but
he was always first in line to get his cut for his own private budget.  And
I have nothing against Mason, Your Honor, but Dean takes the anti-military
thing a little too far.  There are good people in our military, and in most
places they're doing the right thing.  Do _you_ trust the Mexicans?"

"Well, my foreign policy is directed mostly at Manhatten and Anderson Brady.
Mexico's a long way away, and I just think we're spending too much money on
scaring them with troops and ships when we've already got the damned Bomb.
But you're right, that's no reason to run against the troops themselves -- 
that's plain wrong and worse, it's bad politics.  But enough about him.
What's a nice Jewish boy like you doing carrying around a name like Markey?"  

"Ah,... it _was_ Markievich -- my grandfather wanted to fit in with the boyos
in East Montreal [7], I guess.  But how could you tell?"

"You think a Jewish woman doesn't know right away?  _Shul_ or Temple? [8]"

"Temple, since right after our family left Russia..."

He noticed that he was no longer particularly nervous at all.  It seemed that
talking shop with a charismatic woman was just talking shop, after all.  He
began to hope that he had secured a valuable client and, just maybe,
even made a valuable friend...


[1] The major subdivisions of the CNA are called interchangably "states" and
    "confederations".  The original colonies are called "provinces" and are
    more important than the NC and SC state governments.  (***Note added later:
    This is true for the SC but not the NC, see Sobel page 57, particularly
    the phrase "to this day".  The provincial governments in the NC are
    nontrivial but much less significant than the NC government.***)  The SC  
    was province based from the start (Georgia troops took NO in 1795) and 
    the central functions of the NC government tended to pass to the 
    national government after the Second Design.  The other "states" have 
    strong central governments.  Sobel's terminology is far from consistent.

[2] The 1968 election put the Council at 80-53-17 (PC-L-PJ).  There is some
    question as to the plausibility of the breakdown of CNA population into 
    the states -- Sobel sometimes seems to pull numbers out of a hat.  But
    we'll at least make the NC's 35 seats (16-10-9) canonical.  Furthermore
    here is the division of these seats into provinces:  ME 1 (0-1-0),
    NH 1 (0-1-0), NY 12 (5-3-4), MA 4 (2-0-2), RI 1 (1-0-0), CT 2 (2-0-0),
    NJ 5 (2-2-1), PA 7 (3-3-1), MD/DE 2 (1-0-1).  [Note added later: one
    MA seat has been given to DE, leaving MD with two of its own.]  These are 
    based roughly on OTL population with some allowance for earlier 
    suburbanization and dispersion.  Maine has its OTL name though it 
    separated from MA after the PoD.  Its loss of around half its OTL land
    area to Nova Scotia actually has relatively little effect on
    poulation.  Maryland is much less populous than in OTL because Baltimore
    is a smaller city (Norfolk, Charleston and NO took away many of its OTL
    internal migrants) and Washington isn't there at all (Georgetown and
    Alexandria are quite small cities).  (The later post #40 has further
    population statistics and revised 1968 election results.)

[3] Tip O'Neill said this in OTL. 

[3a] (added after original posting) 
    This term, offensive in OTL, is the standard way to refer to a Chinese
    man in the FANTL.  There are small Chinese communities in most major
    cities in the CNA, though in general immigration restrictions and the
    lack of any Pacific ports have made Asians far more rare there than in
    the OTL USA.  Asians in the USM are a matter for someone else...

[3b] (added after original posting) 
    The original posting had green as the PJP color, but it is established
    later (#82, footnote 6) that green is the Liberal color and the PJP
    uses white.

[4] The center of the megacity at the west end of the Mohawk Canal was the
    village of Black Rock, on the north side of OTL Buffalo.  Black Rock
    absorbed the smaller cities of Tonawanda and Buffalo Creek and later
    extended its city limits to Niagara Falls (which developed a bit earlier
    than in OTL) and OTL's Southtowns.     

[5] "Oneida" is OTL's Syracuse -- the seat includes Rochester.  "Mohawk" is 
    the various cities in the Mohawk Valley, "Endicott" (OTL Binghamton) is 
    the largest city in the Southern Tier, giving its name to a district 
    that streches to the Catskills.  The Albany district includes half of 
    OTL Vermont, of course. 

[6] The anti-ROTC chancellor of Champlain University, mentioned briefly in #3.

[7] For some time Quebec was the only Catholic-majority area in British 
    America, and it encouraged Irish immigration.  There are lots of French-
    speaking Murphys and Sullivans in FAN's Montreal...

[8] So far all the Jews we have met in FAN have been rather secular, "Temple",
    belonging to the analog of Reform/Conservative (which still retains the
    loyalty of most secular Jews).  I leave to others to trace the history
    of the more Orthodox branches -- didn't the Lubavitchers start before the

Dave MB