Political Machines and Drama Queens

8 Aug

Jim Ostrowski is a hypocrite.  He is a drama queen who hurls invective and insults at people with whom he disagrees.  He calls people members/tools/shills for the political class if they challenge him.  He doesn’t think liberals or conservatives are politically wrong or misguided – he thinks we all have a mental disease.  He refers to even the mildest criticism as an “attack”.  If you disagree with him, you are someone who has been brainwashed by the government schools and you can’t think logically.

Drama queen?  Yep. He fancies himself a revolutionary, and any good revolutionary will tell you that it’s an easier game to play if you can claim victimhood.

He’s also predictable.  You see, he linked to two fundraisers for people whom he would typically refer to as members of the political class; a $20 beer blast for Mickey Kearns (BOE disclosures here) and a $75 soiree for Shelly Schratz (BOE disclosures here).  I posted one today for Brian Higgins.  It’s the first political fundraiser I’ve posted about in literally months, if not a year or more.

But you see, Ostrowski and the Tea Party movement will be targeting Brian Higgins’ family picnic fundraiser this Wednesday.  By supporting Higgins, along with about 74% of the voters in NY-27, Ostrowski suggests that I am a tool for him; a shill for him.

Let’s cut the bullshit, shall we?  Neither Brian Higgins, nor any of his people, nor his campaign, nor ECDC, nor DSCC, nor anybody else asked me to post about that fundraiser.  I did it because I saw it advertised on another site that does charge candidates for advertising events such as this, (a website coincidentally owned by one of Ostrowski’s legal clients), and I know that many people who read my site support Higgins, and that they might be interested in attending.  Plus, there’ll be fantastic political theater there, what with the protest and all.

Do you think that people who pay $35 per head / $60 per family are there to gain undue influence on Brian Higgins, a guy who has $800k plus in his campaign coffers?  I’m sure some of them do.  I’m sure some will come from organizations, unions, businesses, and companies that do business in the district and want Higgins’ ear.   So what? $35 doesn’t buy a whole lot of access; the quo is going to be kind of paltry in response to that quid.  So, let’s examine Ostrowski’s temper tantrum:

I have always thought Buffalo Pundit was a tool for Brian Higgins (and the machine generally) and now he goes and proves it.

I guess I have to link to it but I hesitate to do so since posting on that site is now a crime if you are a libertarian.

See, it has the victimhood and false insults right from jumpstreet.  If Ostrowski had a modicum of reading comprehension ability, he’d know that we haven’t instituted any moderation policy here yet.  We asked our readers what they thought; many are afraid to comment because people like Ostrowski will insult them.

Pundit paints a Norman Rockwell vision of this influence-peddling event, it’s a family picnic.

Yeah, I thought about that when I decided this event needed to be picketed. I would have preferred the fat cat cocktail party at the Buffalo Club where the rich bankers could reward Brian for the millions in bailout money.

Would have preferred.  So Ostrowski considered the fact that it’s a $35 family fundraiser, and realizes that it’ll seem silly to hurl invective about who owns Higgins.  Because in this case, it’ll be defined as, “anyone who wants to go and can pay $35”.  So, it’s bad for a politician to take thousands from fatcats, but it’s also bad for a politician to take literally tens of dollars from regular folks.  Gosh, given those restrictions, only the aristocrats would be able to run for office.

But Brian has been hidin’.

You see, I had been searching for a Brian fundraiser for many weeks and found none. Then, this one came along. I got wind of it before it was made public. As far as it being a family event, my view is this. I take my family to numerous political events and am never ashamed to do so. I assume that other parents will exercise similar judgment. In any event, it’s always an invaluable educational experience for the kids. I assume it will also be an educational experience for those who bring their kids to his fundraiser.

As Free NY showed a while back, the vast majority of people who donate do so because they are looking for a return on their investment. That is, they are looking for a special advantage not to be shared with the public generally. It’s a sordid affair really and they have always gotten a free ride on these things.

No one suggested that people should feel ashamed for bringing their kids to Higgins’ fundraiser.  I think the concern is that some of the protesters might yell something inappropriate for kids’ ears.  That will probably look bad, but it’s up to them.  There will be cameras there, after all.  Also, the event is open to the “public generally” so the “public generally” can attend and pay, and get the same advantage as any other attendee.  Now, is political fundraising a “sordid affair”?  I guess so.  But campaigns cost money, and the easiest way to raise funds is through fundraising.

BUT NO LONGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Higgins needs to go. He symbolizes all that is wrong with Buffalo. The life-long machine politician, master of pork and patronage and tool of the plutocrats.

How can he be a tool of the unions and plutocrats all at the same time? Because that is the nature of the corporate state. The corporate state is a marriage of big government and big business with unions a junior partner.

He has been in power for 22 years and he is neck-deep in blame for the decline of Buffalo–the fact that we have the most expensive and burdensome government outside of NYC. The fact that we have the highest rate of union membership in the country. The fact that we have declined for 50 straight years. The fact that we have the highest rate of government workers except for possibly New Orleans!

I don’t have time here to go into all his specific policy failures. We have done that over the years. Suffice it to say that almost every thing he does is a policy failure. His one good idea–getting rid of the Skyway, turned out to be a hoax and he is now supporting a moronic elevated highway at the foot of the Skyway that will make eliminating the Skyway very difficult. I heard one of the plutocrats on the radio the other day suggesting the Skyway is there to stay.

Get all that?  Big business is in cahoots with big labor and the politicians to keep the “corporate state” alive.  Also, no one said the Skyway is there to say.  The point that was being made is that Canalside has to plan under the assumption that the Skyway is going to stay, because there’s no plan in effect yet to remove it.  You have to plan for reality.  Same thing with the elevated Route 5.  You can’t design a road to accommodate a massive change that hasn’t happened, and isn’t slated ever to happen.  But Ostrowski can’t be bothered with facts and accuracy, when emotion, victimhood, and exclamation marks will do.

Also – Higgins has not been “in power for 22 years.”  That is a lie. Higgins was in the Common Council from 1988 – 1993.  He then went on to obtain an advanced degree from the Harvard School of Government.  When he left the Common Council, Buffalo’s business and community leadership named Higgins “Buffalo’s Best Lawmaker”.  He returned to government in 1999, serving in the state Assembly until his election to the House of Representatives in 2004.

As for the notion that we should run against him, that’s classic machine propaganda from Pundit. The machine knows the game is rigged. That’s why they want us to play. But we have decided to play a different game on our turf, at places and times of our own choosing.

Get used to the brave new world of direct citizen action.

Let’s get right out of the way that there’s a poignant irony in a libertarian invoking the title of Aldous Huxley’s ode to totalitarianism to describe his plans, but yeah – we live in a country where you run candidates against other candidates.  In order to run those candidates, they have to do retail politicking, convince people that their ideas are better, raise money to get the word out, and everything else a candidate has to do.

Dan Humiston was the last guy to run against Higgins, and he was a self-funded multi-millionaire.  A conservative republican, he did as badly against Higgins as I did against Ranzenhofer.  I don’t know about Humiston, but I blame only myself for my loss – not some nefarious conspiratorial triad of politics-business-unions.  Not the Republican machine.  Not anything except I simply didn’t have the ability or time to really do the stuff I needed to do on the one hand, and the fact that people preferred the Republican incumbent.

Certainly I could have blamed everything and everyone.  I could have been a crybaby drama queen victim.

So, no, Jim.  I’m not a shill for the political class, I’m not bought and paid for by the political class, I’m not a member of the political class, and I’m not a tool for the political class.  I’m a political blogger who has electoral preferences that differ from yours.  I do think Higgins is an excellent representative in the House, and also have the self-awareness that my opinion is not the only correct one; I don’t think that people who disagree with me have a “disease” that needs “curing”.

But just like Ostrowski’s buddy – the AM radio host who has proven himself to be a rather stupid fairweather patriot –  Ostrowski sees the world in black and white.  If you disagree with him even mildly, he’ll basically say you’re…well, he’ll all but call you a psychopathic asshat.  (Sound familiar?)

I don’t think Ostrowski is a psychopathic asshat, though.  I just think that he’s unwilling or unable to defend his positions, so he resorts to sounding like a warmed-over, libertarian version of Fidel Castro.  A lot of sound and politically self-righteous fury, signifying nothing.

Have fun storming the castle, Jim.

UPDATE: Jim has responded regarding his lazy falsehood about Higgins having been “in power” for 22 years. He sort of corrects himself, but not really. But he did get to call me “creepy” three times, so clearly he has successfully, ya know, brought issues to the table and engaged in political discourse instead of personal attacks. What a drama queen.

15 Responses to “Political Machines and Drama Queens”

  1. Jon Splett August 8, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    Oh man. I cannot wait for the freener troll explosion that’s going to be the comment section of this post…

    With ya 100% Alan…

  2. Byron August 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Drama queens and tools of the plutocrats.

  3. Andy August 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    I, for one, *do* believe that Jim O the clown is a psychopatic asshat. But don’t let me get in the way of the oncoming drollery. I love how he “got wind of it before it was public.” What? Were you getting some special frequency with your tinfoil hat? What a clown.

  4. Haterade August 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    Two words : George Holt

  5. Andy August 8, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    Playing on their turn all right. Astroturf.

  6. jack fate August 8, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    Given the demonstrably ugly judicial “(s)election” process on NYS. Do you think Jim gets all up in his dad’s shit about the “political class” and whatnot?

  7. Jackstraw August 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    crickets chirping

  8. jon g. August 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    i heard ostrowski isn’t practicing law anymore

  9. Dave Allen August 8, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    I’m not a Libertarian, but I’ve seen merit in some of their philosophies. That being said, isn’t American elective politics the best possible example of a free market economy? Any individual can put his name on a ballot, any individual can donate to a candidate and everyone pulls a lever with full voluntary choice in privacy, without any coercion, and the best policies/products are freely elected. It’s a wonderful system.

  10. Ethan August 9, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    isn’t American elective politics the best possible example of a free market economy?

    Really? I’m no Libertarian, either, I don’t say this to defend them at all. But ballot access is hardly something for “any individual” in this country, there are substantial barriers (largely fiscal.) We need some serious election & campaign-funding reform before we can even start to make statements about how awesome American electoral politics are.

  11. Jackstraw August 9, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    Dave- No anyone cannot. It’s a very complicated process to get on the ballot and the system is set up to favor the two main parties. Most third party candidates spend their valuable time just jumping through all the loops to get on the ballot. It’s rigged.

  12. Dave Allen August 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    But… but… but… won’t the politicians with the best platforms and ideas will gather the the most assistance, support and financial donations to assist their campaign? It’s a good thing that the business world isn’t as irresponsible and corrupt as the politicians. If Wal-Mart and Microsoft used their size and influence to crush their competitors, that would ruin all the pure free market theories…

    I need to make my snarkiness a little more obvious next time.

  13. Adam K. August 10, 2009 at 6:25 am #

    BP, why do you still engage him? It really brings the site down.

    • Alan Bedenko August 10, 2009 at 6:33 am #

      @Adam K.

      1. Partly because he’s so ridiculous to argue with, it entertains the hell out of me. I could just as easily argue with a committed Maoist or a committed neo-Nazi or any other ideological zealot, but Ostrowski’ll have to do. As long as you enter into the argument knowing that it is fundamentally impossible to argue with a zealot, you can instead focus on pointing out their obvious hypocrisies and inconsistencies. It makes for a fun way to spend a boring day. Plus, Ostrowski gets all hissy like a jilted tween whenever he gets caught writing obvious bullshit or being inconsistent.

      2. Partly because he is regrettably taken seriously by our local media. He has become the go-to person whenever someone needs a quick quote on some new tax or fee. People think he speaks for all tax-haters and is a leader of a big group. That’s diminished a bit since Paladino has started making a lot of noise, and what’s good about that is that Paladino, at least, is a successful businessman who is directly affected by this stuff (whether you agree with him or not). I think exposing people for being unreasonable, angry cranks can be a public service of sorts.

  14. Adam K. August 10, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    Just a thought.

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