The Angry Id

19 Apr

New York State is fundamentally broken.

I believe this is a statement with which the overwhelming majority of people would agree.  The bloggers at WNYMedia.net have written several hundred thousand words about the state of government in New York, linked to hundreds of others who have done the same and we’ve attempted to propose serious solutions to those problems.

This election year, we’re coming off a series of political scandals featuring prostitutes, abuse of power, felonious woman-beating, a backroom coup in one of our legislative houses, a governor covering up domestic abuse, and a litany of other violations of the public trust.  We also face a trifecta of failure with an incredibly large state budget deficit, a scandal-ridden lame-duck Governor and an intransigent legislature which lacks the political will to make hard choices.

In short, the problems in this state are serious, and they need to be addressed by serious people with serious ideas.

We’re also dealing with a national economic recession, and a thirty year trend in the exacerbation of wealth inequality as well as stagnant middle class wages.  Many people feel powerless, economically hopeless and disconnected from power.  They blame government.

Into that void of hopelessness steps Carl Paladino and the tea party.  They are selling a remedy to the problems facing this state which amount to a promise that he will “shake things up” and “tell it like it is”.  With Carl at the front of the line, his supporters will essentially shake their fists and yell at the problem like monkeys screeching at the monolith.  This sounds a lot like the reasons so many people find Sarah Palin appealing, don’t you think?

Carl represents the collective angry id of Upstate New York and Palin serves the same purpose on a national level.  An empty vessel into which people left behind by culture and a new economy are pouring their frustrations, fear, anger and failures.  Carl has the money and resources to do what they can’t, run for Governor and fight those downstate people.   Carl will do what the powerless can’t…go to Albany, shake his fist in the face of entrenched interests and tell them “what for”.  He’ll strip the reigns of power from the three men in a room and he’ll become one man in a room and get things straightened out.

His proposals for reform?  Pablum and empty.  They read like a cribbed version of a half-assed Andrew Rudnick/Unshackle Upstate proposal.  He doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally enact Proposals 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 nor does he have the political skill to negotiate for any of them.  Not that any of this matters as I have a better shot of walking on the moon in 2010 than Carl has of being elected Governor of New York.

In comments left here, on Carl’s Facebook page and in media interviews, there is no discussion of his reform proposals or his ideas for changing the structural problems in state government (not that there are any), it’s all anger.  We’re fed up, we’ve had enough, we’re gonna drag Shelly Silver to Attica, etc.  It’s all rabble, none of it backed up with substantive discussion about proposed reforms.

I think it says a lot about the state of affairs in New York that any appreciable percentage of the voting populace sees this as a viable option.

It’s been proven in the past that anger is not a sustainable campaign strategy.  A candidate needs compelling ideas and substantive proposals while leading the citizens to achieve aspirational goals.  Especially if the candidate intends to run for statewide office in New York, where Democrats carry a 25% party affiliation advantage in recent polling and an even larger number when measuring registrations.

Anger will not carry the day on a minor party line (since the GOP Chairman has told Paladino to get lost) and he’ll be running on the Conservative line (if he’s lucky) and the yet to be formed Tea Party line (if he’s crazy).

It’s going to be a wild and crazy summer in New York State and I will enjoy watching the monkeys yell at the monolith.

5 Responses to “The Angry Id”

  1. Mike In WNY April 19, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    Cutting spending by 10% within 6 months is a serious proposal. Once in office, the opportunities will be much easier to identify. It is the commitment to the program that is valuable. The key is to get the general populace to realize that massive spending cuts are not only necessary but beneficial. There will be plenty of time to cross the “t’s” and dot the “i’s” once in office. The extent of out of control spending is massive that it could be addressed by throwing darts at the budget and good would come of it.

  2. Jen Maz April 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    I don’t know, I kind of think it’s important to have a plan before getting the job to run a state. Just sayin’. The willy-nilly “we’ll just see what happens once in office” approach doesn’t really do it for me. As for “i” dotting and “t” crossing…um, yeah, I’m sure there would be plenty of time for that if Paladino had even the slightest chance of actually becoming governor, which, (here’s where I giggle) he does not.

  3. Gabe April 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    “It’s been proven in the past that anger is not a sustainable campaign strategy.”

    It sure does in times of extreme economic desperation. I won’t name names.

  4. Bob April 22, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    So I listen to Riter most days on my commute home, and I heard Chris’ piece yesterday on the Tea Party, and the little jabs that were thrown in there against conservatives and libertarians. Since no one on the show wanted to challenge him, I thought I would throw something out there in response to that and the above article…
    The liberal left has labeled the Tea Party movement as an “angry mob”, and “crazy”, and even if they personally don’t go right out and say it, they imply that Tea Partiers (and many conservatives in general) are racists. They just can’t handle the fact that a fairly large organized group of people have banded together to protest (legally, I might add) their buddies in power in the government right now, and they have no constructive ways of criticizing it outside of name calling and smearing. Looks to me like the angry ones here are the people on the left. If the Tea Party didn’t enrage them so much, then why is it all they talk about? If it was just some little lunatic fringe-movement, then they wouldn’t need to criticize it constantly…it would do itself in. But just like little children who can’t play nice with the others, they mock and call names to those who intimidate them the most. Sure, in any group you can always find one lunatic or moron to single out, but the left just keeps bringing them up and beating it to death like they alone represent the whole movement. Yeah, Palladino is a douchebag and a foul-mouthed biggot, okay? Like the left doesn’t have loons doing stupid things, like those people chaining themselves to the fence by the White House. To imply that idiots like Palladino identify the Tea Party people as a whole is no better than me saying that all Democrats are communists. And really, outside of WNY, no one cares about Palladino.
    Here is my problem with the agitators on the left : I am a proud supporter of the Tea Party movement, I am very happy, have a wonderful family and a good job, and I am far from racist, having grown up with black neighbors, have bi-racial cousins, and many friends and colleagues through the years that were of many races. I am offended by someone that labels me as racist just because I believe in small government and conservative values. I have worked hard for my happy and good life, and I don’t want the government stepping in and dictating more of my decisions for me, and I believe that many other Tea Partiers are very similar in their view…maybe that angers me a little bit, but not to the point where I will personally attack others.
    I am not bashing you, Chris, by any means, I am just taking this opportunity to show you that using generalities like you have made are far from correct, however I do respect the fact that you do not get nasty like many others who share your views have done. I actually agree with a few of the things you have said, but just know that I don’t blame government for my problems…I just don’t want to give them the opportunity to create problems for me in the future, and I feel like that is the direction of the current administration. Bottom line is it just seems to me like the left is personally attacking the right much more than the other way around…so who really, are the angry ones?

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