PolitiFAIL Elite Eight: Casey vs. Brown

30 Mar

One could credibly make the argument that Casey and Brown are, politically, the same person.  As Colin Eager put it, Casey is Willie Tyler to Brown’s Lester.

Since Casey and Brown’s political histories are so tightly wound together, who is more responsible for the FAIL?

Is it Byron Brown, the likeable guy who rose from Grassroots activist to Gorski aide to Councilman to Senator to Mayor?  Or is it Steve Casey, who has gone from Gorski aide to Brown aide?  Is it Byron Brown, whose Senate career highlight was a few streets being re-named, or Steve Casey, whose entire career can be summed up as: Steve Pigeon wannabe.

The best analogy to pop culture I can make is to suggest to you that Steve Casey is Grima Wormtongue to Brown’s Theoden.  Not a perfect analogy, and exquisitely nerdy, but it takes up the issue of evil, which the Lester/Willie example doesn’t.

Casey’s misdeeds are legion, and they are the stuff of Buffalo political legend.  Live in his neighborhood and dare to put up a political sign in support of a candidate whom City Hall doesn’t support?  Watch out.  Piss him off at City Hall?  You could find your computer vandalized.  Write something unflattering about the Mayor?  No soup for you.  He allegedly managed Brown’s mayoral campaign on the state’s dime, on state time.  He led city inspectors to harass a neighbor whose garden he didn’t like.  He took a good idea – Citystat – and made sure it was thoroughly politicized beyond all recognition, thus rendered toothlessly useless.

Like the portrayal of soup guy Al Yeganeh in Seinfeld, Casey’s the Byron Nazi.


This is all a long-winded way of saying Steve Casey is a Volkeresque, Pigeon-flavored asshole, and one wonders why Byron Brown lets it happen.  Unless Byron Brown is also an asshole.  In which case, who’s the bigger asshole?

Who is our political goatse?

There are no stories, necessarily, about Byron Brown doing similarly petty things.  By all accounts, Byron Brown is not just a guy who you want to like – he’s a guy most people do like.  He has stumbled with the handling of his kid’s joyride, and the BERC disaster was truly epic, and one gets a very strong sense that it was just the tip of a corrupt iceberg.

The problem here pivots back to Casey .

Part of the reason for Byron Brown’s presence this far in the tournament is that he is an enabler.  He’s like the wife who knows that daddy beats the kids when he gets drunk, but keeps buying booze anyway.  Petty power plays are like crack to Steve Casey, and Byron Brown is the guy who gives him a lift to buy his shit.

The rumor going around this past year had to do with the fact that the city suddenly found itself without a lot of department heads and key appointees – they saw City Hall as a mere stepping stone.  Byron would sit in as like a caretaker mayor for a term, not make any big mistakes, and then move on to Congress, thus paving the way for Antoine Thompson to become mayor.

A more arrogant and chilling scenario, I could not paint.


So, the issue is: who is more at fault for the general disappointment – the failure, the broken promises and crushing of the high expectations people had for the Brown administration?  Is it the puppet or the puppetmaster?  Is it the shrewd, sharp-elbowed, tactician, or the mild-mannered, likeable enabler?

This one, dear reader, is harder than it seems.


2 Responses to “PolitiFAIL Elite Eight: Casey vs. Brown”

  1. Red Sweater Fan March 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    What’s a “Pigeon-flavored asshole”?

    • JD1 March 30, 2010 at 5:57 pm #


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