Rudnick vs. The WNY Voter, PolitiFAIL 2010, Elite Eight

30 Mar

In the final matchup in the “Other” bracket of the PolitiFAIL tournament, it’s come down the nominal leader of the business community, Andrew Rudnick versus The Voters of Western New York.

This is an interesting matchup as a sizable portion of the voting community has swallowed Rudnick’s message…hook, line and sinker.  His regular pleadings for corporate welfare, reduction in public spending (aside from projects he and the BNP favor) and tax cuts for the wealthy have endeared him to a chattering class of right wing blue collar voters.

On the other hand, we have a group of people who fail to show up en masse to the voting booth to effect the change they so desperately demand on talk radio, blogs, call in shows and on bar stools throughout the county.  Their failure to act in a reasonable way has empowered a state of dysfunction and graft so complete and so widespread that even the people of California think our state government is a mess.

Let’s break it down.

Andrew Rudnick

Andrew Rudnick is the Smithers to Robert Wilmers’ Mr. Burns.  A feckless bow-tied sycophant who collects failure the way Smithers collects Malibu Stacy dolls.


Rudnick is the carnival barker in charge of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.  He routinely claims that his organization is fighting for lower spending in New York, lower taxes for businesses, but he then endorses status quo politicians and advocates for billions in local spending.  Remember last year when Rudnick and the BNP took out a full page advertisement in The Buffalo News crowing about their pile of invisible success?  Yeah, that was awesome.

Rudnick heads a half-assed, unaccountable chamber of commerce that bleats endlessly about excessive taxes and government spending on the one hand, but demands $500 million in government handouts for its members’ pet projects on the other hand.  I’d like to sum up the message of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership as follows:

“Stop taxing us to death, you’re making it hard to do business in this state with all of your spending that does not directly benefit us and what we deem to to be the priorities.  Also, please make the money appear from thin air because as mentioned above, we hate taxes and government dependence and whatnot!”

His two-fisted ham sandwich of uncoordinated messaging earns him roughly $300,000 per year in salary and the right to stick his nose in just about every planning or governmental decision in the region.

The WNY Voter

Since 1950, the WNY region has seen its population decline by half, industries shuttered, and an exportation of our younger generations to other areas of the country.  Certainly, there are macroeconomic reasons for this continual decline, but we all bear some ownership for the problem.  To blame others or to simply shrug things off as a change in the national priorities is short sighted.

We lack visionary leaders and at critical times in our past, we have elected leaders who work for short-term, transactional accomplishments rather than those who set aspirational goals and rally the community to achieve them.  While we spend a lot of time griping, we do very little acting to effect the change we want.  It’s much easier to place an angry call to the daily conservative circle jerk on WBEN than to canvass and volunteer for candidates who might implement the changes you seek.

We’re so busy paying attention to the little bullshit battles the politicians construct for us, the picayune legislative battles, the abuse of the franking privilege, the utter contempt for reason or reality in our politics, and the shiny baubles of doomed-to-fail silver bullet projects, that they hope we just won’t see the FAIL and graft.  Results from 50 years of elections demonstrate that they have us figured out.  That we are either so beaten down, dismayed, discontent, ambivalent or fed up that we just don’t want to see the sum total of failure which comes from our failure to hold anyone accountable . We do still have a choice in our politics, we need to start exercising it.

As FDR once said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

We’d be wise to remember that.


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