Chris "Hymietown" Collins

26 Oct

It was via Twitter that I found out that County Executive Chris Collins made a tragically inappropriate “joke” at a Republican function last night. I think that this epic gaffe may very well forever cloud any chance that Collins may have had for securing a statewide office of any sort.

To this day, Rev. Jesse Jackson is answering for his “Hymietown” remark – a dumb thing he said in 1984.

It’s probably a bad idea for any politician to discuss the prophecies of Nostradamus at any political event, if the politician intends to be taken seriously. Even if it’s a joke. It’s an even worse idea to suggest that a contemporary political figure is the third in the trilogy of anti-Christs prophesied by Nostradamus; Napoleon and Hitler widely regarded as the first two. To suggest that an Orthodox Jewish New York State politician is the anti-Christ is a failure of massive proportions.

As promised and predicted, here’s the link to the post you link to when someone compares someone to Hitler. Just substitute “Obama” with “Silver”.

The joke wasn’t funny, and it was massively offensive and inappropriate. It’s cringe-worthy, like something written into a Ricky Gervais comedy. Like when the Office’s Michael Scott quotes a Chris Rock routine. Collins was right to apologize, and it’s good that he’s being called out on this not just locally, but statewide.

Now, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is a lot of things, mostly not good. He’s an entrenched machine politician who is no friend to Western New York. He is a big part of the problem that is Albany. He is not a good government guy; he’s a power guy. He is a person I’d very much like to see electorally removed from his position of power in Albany. But he’s not Hitler. He’s not the anti-Christ. Silver is, apparently, rightfully incensed at Collins’ insult.

And this gets back to Collins’ shtick, which was worn thin on day one. He may be a brilliant businessman, and a savvy political tactician. But he has yet to learn that the kinds of things he evidently likes joking about in the clubhouse or with his teabagging pals have no business seeing the light of day.

If this is what he says in public, imagine where his mind goes in private.

Collins’ shtick plays well up here because people are so desperate for anything that sounds reasonably like “WNY isn’t going to suck so bad anymore” that they’ll buy into it. “Running government like a business” is like that. It was always going to be an uphill battle for a wealthy, unlikeable, obscure technocrat from upstate New York to make any waves in statewide politics. Now, it’s next to impossible. He’s damaged goods. How will a Rick Lazio or a Rudy Giuliani explain to the huge downstate Jewish population that he’s picking a lieutenant governor who compares a contemporary Jewish politician to Hitler? Collins explains,

While we may disagree strongly on policy matters, my statement had no place in our political discourse and I am truly sorry to both the speaker and to anyone else who I may have offended.

You’re right, Mr. Collins. Your statement had/s no place in political discourse, and you should be sorry. You should have also have had the foresight, intelligence, and decency to, I dunno, avoid saying it in the first place.

What’you want? A cookie?

One of those attending Saturday’s dinner called the statement “unbelievable.”

“It was staggering,” said the Republican, who asked not to be identified. “It took my breath away. You just don’t say something like that.”

Collins’ inner circle also was acknowledging the seriousness of the gaffe today, especially in view of the importance of New York City’s Jewish vote in any statewide election. They pointed out that his juxtaposition of Hitler and the concept of the anti-Christ with the orthodox Silver was not seen as any help to Collins’ statewide ambitions.

This kind of crap plays nicely on the Tom Bauerle Paranoid Dummy Hour™, but in the real world – among normal people – it is frankly unheard-of.

Perhaps finally, at least locally, that new chic thing of comparing everything one disagrees with to Hitler (or worse) has just jumped the shark. It’s a facile and ignorant thing that people with small minds like to do. It’s lazy. It’s beyond stupid. I hope this is the end of this ridiculousness.

22 Responses to “Chris "Hymietown" Collins”

  1. Diana October 26, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    And like you said, if he says this in public what does he say behind closed doors. People need to view this in context – the context of the way Collin’s tries to run the County, in the way he tries to muscle his candidates in, in the way he does not feel like he has to answer to anyone – especially those that elected him to office. Collin’s needs to go, but let’s start by NOT electing his candidates next week.

  2. The Humanist October 26, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    Wouldn’t a CEO be summarily removed from his position by his company’s board and blackballed in the industry for a titanic lapse of judgement like this? Oh yeah, I forgot….this is politics.

    Say farewell to your dreams of statewide office, Mr. Collins.

  3. ScotsGuard October 26, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    Dumb Dumb Dumb Comment by CC. When I hope for a change, I am stuck with all these other aholes in the NYS Senate, Assembly and Governorship.
    Centrist Voters we can’t win.. It is the rightwingnuts or the leftwingscrews. Time to get out.. and sell everything..

  4. Mike In WNY October 26, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    Yes, let’s focus on a bad joke and just ignore the real issues, like Silver screwing the State for years. As long as people expend way too much energy on meaningless issues, real solutions to problems will continue to be marginalized.

  5. Mike Walsh October 27, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    “To suggest that an Orthodox Jewish New York State politician is the anti-Christ is a failure of massive proportions.”

    What a bunch of bull. Who knows or who cares if Silver is Jewish? I’d bet 99.9% of voters don’t have a clue what his ethnicity or religious affiliation is.

    What really amuses me is self-proclaimed agnostics, who can barely hide their disdain for any religions, getting bent out of shape over this. You know who you are.

  6. Eisenbart October 27, 2009 at 2:04 am #

    Who said this?

    “It’s a far cry from George W. Bush, whose inability to admit error was nigh pathological. Frankly, the President doesn’t have the Pope’s infallibility, nor should he claim to. He also should take responsibility for screw-ups and not assign them to others. Obama passes the test Bush couldn’t.”

    Now, is Chris Collins any different in any form with his obligations to the public than the president? Why is it okay for a Democrat to admit a mistake but not a Republican on any front? What Collins said was out of line and unacceptable. No questions. But when a Democrat makes a mistake and apologies, if it’s even mentioned here is okay because he said he’s sorry?

    • Alan Bedenko October 27, 2009 at 6:13 am #

      @Eisenbart: Obama was talking about selecting former Senator Daschle to a cabinet post, and later discovering Daschle had tax problems. He didn’t call a Jewish person the anti-Christ.

      @Mike in WNY: We already know that the glibertarian fringe is perfectly fine hurling the Hitler epithet at anything that moves. Move along, nothing to see here.

      @Mike Walsh: that’s probably the funniest attempt to jack a thread I’ve ever seen. Most voters in the State reside around NYC. There is a very very large Jewish population around NYC, and I’m pretty sure, from personal experience, that they’d be aware, or at least have a hunch, that Sheldon Silver is Jewish.

      Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.- John 2:22

      I said it was a dumb joke, and I said that it killed his statewide political chances. You can attack me all you want, you haven’t shown me that I’m wrong about either one of those things.

  7. Joe Genco October 27, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    Three things: One, he immediately apologized. Two, Sheldon Silver is the pathetic root of the evil in New York State government. Three, Collins’ message does not change in front of a larger group, smaller group or anything in between. It’s one of the things that makes him different.

  8. Brian Castner October 27, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    The reason “Hymietown” stuck is because Jesse Jackson is engaged in race based politics. If there is one thing everyone hates, its a hypocrite. I don’t see this sticking. It was idiotic, and dumb, and wrong, but I don’t think it reveals anything about his hidden character. How does calling someone the Anti-Christ have anything to do with not answering to anyone, or muscling people, or anything else? It was dumb, and it probably does kill his statewide office chances. But Dems, be careful what you wish for. You may be gleeful today, but this just means he runs and wins for Erie County Exec next time.

  9. acorn October 27, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    @BrianCastner – magical thinking on your part

  10. Mike In WNY October 27, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    @Mike in WNY: We already know that the glibertarian fringe is perfectly fine hurling the Hitler epithet at anything that moves. Move along, nothing to see here.

    Your abnormal fixation with Hitler is blinding you. NYS is facing far worse matters than a bad joke. If one were to prioritize the important news during the recent past, the five cent deposit on bottled water and the mandatory new license plates next year inflict real harm on the voters of this state.

    • Alan Bedenko October 27, 2009 at 10:17 am #

      Your abnormal fixation with Hitler is blinding you.

      I’m not the one bringing up Hitler or comparing contemporary politicians to Hitler. I’m just reacting to and excoriating those who do. Like you.

  11. Pete at BuffaloStuff October 27, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    @BrianCastner – Maybe you are right. Maybe it doesn’t stick, and maybe he wins again. But this does something for me. It illustrates who Chris Collins is. I haven’t liked him since he took office, and that doesn’t have as much to do with his policies as much as that he is an arrogant jerk. In my mind, this solidifies that. I understand the problems that Erie County faces, and I do not believe that Dems on the EC Legislature are doing their part to address them well. On the flip side, the crap that Collins does to get his own way….cherrypicking Konst after the deadline to remove her name from the ballot and supporting the legal process to keep the voters in the 5th District from being able to vote…..saying that there is too much waste and attacking theunions while finding SIGNIFICANT raises for his chums….. and now this. It just shows what kind of guy he really is. Maybe it won’t stick, but I’ll be happy to remind people of what kind of guy he is.

  12. Mike Walsh October 27, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    “@Mike Walsh: that’s probably the funniest attempt to jack a thread I’ve ever seen.”

    I think this whole situation is funny. The media is too lazy to actually investigate and report on big problems but they’re on 24 hour watch for anybody who strays from political correctness. What’s even more interesting is how it spurs so many of you into a hand wringing fest. McCarthy’s article in the snooze is an example of piling on and inflating a story out of proportion, complete with quotes and opinions from “unnamed sources”.

  13. Brian Castner October 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    @ Pete: I agree with you: the only thread I can find betwen Collin’s idiotic comments, his sharp political elbows (Konst, for example) and his pwning of the Erie County Legislature is that he’s a jerk. I’m over that. I’ll take managerially competent County Exec who is a jerk over a union/special interest yes-man flunky who is a nice guy any day of the week.

  14. Pete at BuffaloStuff October 27, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    @BrianCastner – I guess if he was fair and consistent and actually practiced what he preached I could live with him being a jerk. I will admit that I cannot get past the raises for his pals. cannot get past it. It is business as usual, WNY politics at its best. Having his own company bid on county work until he got caught and then said no more….business as usual WNY politics at it’s best.

    We’re in the same place we always are. When it’s time to make the tough decisions we talk about the things that get people going like cutting money to parks and things instead of looking at the meaningful cuts. I know you are a conservative and for every failing I point o of CC, it is easy to point to failings of the EC Leg and the Dems, however, there’s only been one Dem EC Exec in forever and the Leg was Republican until Lenihan took over as ECDC Chair, is I recall correctly. Erie County is a bipartisan FAIL.

  15. Brian Castner October 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    @ Peter – I’ve sensed you can’t get over the raises. So do this – add up the number of raises, and figure the total hand out. I would guess 20 folks got an average of $30K extra ($100K to $130K?). So its an extra $600K? That may be high. But in any case, now compare that to the union handouts and waste in all other areas. Its a drop in the bucket of the $1B budget. And theoretically, Six Sigma has saved millions of dollars, and these new positions helped implement it. For the record, I think the actual effect of six sigma is probably inflated, having implemented similar things at my employment sites. But if you are mad about money, and you should be, there seem to be much fatter targets.

  16. Pete at BuffaloStuff October 28, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    @BrianCastner – I am admitting my hang up on that raise thing. My point there stems from the fact that I teach leadership for a living. Pretty familiar with the tenets of good leadership, be it personal, political, or organizational – and I am a big fan of “leadership by example” . I don’t feel that Collins is walking the walk he is talking when he asks people who are making less money to tighten the belt and then gives people who are making more money an increase that makes them paid over twice the local median salary to work in a position that we, who make a lot less, are paying them to do. Hard to swallow.

    I agree with you that do to the scale, the total dollars going to the unions is higher….gonna be that way when you are talking about 1000 employees versus a dozen. My point there is that Collins says one thing and does another…if it is time for belt tightening, it is time for EVERY employee of Erie County to tighten their belts, not just the people that Chris Collins disdains. In my mind, that doesn’t make him a management wiz…makes him a business as usual politician.

  17. Nope December 7, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Fuck you for comparing Lenin to Hitler.
    Oh I don’t care about Obama he’s a right winged corporate fascist but you people are completely ignorant and know nothing about the memes you’re using, this is just mindless repetition of cold war propaganda.


  1. Nostradamus Spells Doom for New York Governor Candidate « Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion - October 27, 2009

    […] blogger Alan Bedenko has some sage advice: It’s probably a bad idea for any politician to discuss the prophecies of Nostradamus at any […]

  2. Chris Collins and the Dictatorship of Petty Bureaucracy | Buffalopundit - December 2, 2014

    […] Most of you will remember his horrible thing Collins said, calling Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver t…. It wasn’t the first time he used it, and it was a theme that Carl Paladino picked up on the following year, with similar electoral effect. Even though Collins had a good 2009 election, it didn’t make him happy; it made him angry. But as 2010 began, Erie County finally settled its disputes over payments to ECMC. Soon after that, Collins conspired with the Mayor’s people and Pigeon’s people to obtain a de facto Republican majority on the Legislature. All it took was Barbara Miller-Williams, Christina Bove, and Tim Kennedy to agree to join a so-called “reform coalition”, which reformed nothing. Except hirings and firings. Tim Kennedy did this in spite of Collins’ destruction of his beloved Apprenticeship Law, in order to secure the Independence Party line and be elevated to the State Senate. […]

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