15 October 2010

Bipolarchy Believers 'Mad as Hell' at Self-Limited Options

Charles Krauthammer may be an ideologue, but he isn't blind. In his latest column he's just dubbed Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, as the "most suicidal candidate" of 2010 for his habit of embarrassing himself and appearing as a bully or a bigot. That may be a signal that the reactionary pundits are ready to write off the Buffalo businessman who rode a tide of tea to victory in the GOP primary. Whether they agree with Paladino's views on homosexuality or not, they seem to feel that, by raising the topic and returning to it, the candidate has made a fatal blunder and distracted the public from the issues that ought to have ensured his election.

A day before our local paper ran Krauthammer's column, local columnist James V. Franco declared himself "mad as hell" at Paladino as well as the political scene he hoped Paladino might fix. Franco is especially disappointed that Republican has gotten bogged down in cultural issues because he saw Paladino as the only real hope on the horizon for reform and fiscal responsibility.

In my mind the man had some promise — a businessman who has never held public office and who promised to shake things up in Albany. And if there was any place in the world that needed a good shaking up, it’s Albany and it will take a Paladino or someone like him to do it....He might be a bit on the nutty side, but at least Paladino would have shaken things up. Despite his reform rhetoric, I just don’t see Attorney General Andrew Cuomo doing much shaking up of anything.

"With Cuomo," Franco adds, "I fear it will be more of the same ole’ Albany." He despairs not only at Paladino's apparent self-destruction, but the parallel degeneration of the Tea Party movement that lifted him to his present prominence.

In my mind anyway, the Tea Party wasn’t a bunch of extreme right wing nut jobs it was a bunch of people sick of being taxed to death and sick of government intruding into every aspect of our lives. It had nothing to do with social issues.That foundation, so to speak, has been distorted in part by whacky candidates who picked up the banner, in part by the media sensationalizing everything and in part by the entrenched politicians who realized the Tea Party people don’t really like them much and if enough people join the cause they might lose their job. I’m talking about both parties too, not just the Democrats. Republicans don’t much like the Tea Party people either. But, then again, there is little difference between the two anymore.Regrettably, the Tea Party now is about witchcraft and masturbation, thanks to Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell, and grinding homosexuals in Speedos thanks to Paladino.

With the Tea Parties watered down or grown cold, and Paladino virtually discredited, Franco sees nothing on the horizon but "high taxes and big government and being mad as hell." Regrettably, he published this confession of hopelessness after I'd personally informed him that there was at least one other candidate who advocated fiscal conservatism, who was (to my knowledge) not entangled in social issues and (ditto) not a short-tempered punk. That would be Warren Redlich, the Libertarian candidate. I won't be voting for him next month, but given the state of the New York Republican party with Paladino as its figurehead, I consider it a public service to those "mad as hell" about taxes, bureaucracy, etc., to let them know that they still have a way to register their opinion without feeling embarrassed. The only embarrassment I can imagine coming with a vote for Redlich would derive from the silly notion that voting for the person who best represents your views is "wasting" your vote if that candidate has "no chance" to win. People who feel that way ought to feel embarrassed, but they should blame themselves, not Redlich -- and that goes for people who hold their nose to vote for Cuomo when their hearts and minds are for Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate. Paladino was never the only hope for fiscal conservatives; they never have an only hope as long as Libertarians run candidates. Republicans are their only hope only if they think exclusively in Bipolarchy terms. If they can only think that way, they deserve to be hopeless. And if that leaves them "mad as hell," it's worth my time to remind readers yet again that those three beloved words were the slogan of a madman.

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