Politics is About More than Just Process

9 Jun

Jim Ostrowski responds here to my post criticizing him (or, as Jim terms it “viciously attacking” him).

It starts out with a faux outsider’s lament:

I did not want this to go public but since I have been repeatedly and viciously and falsely and personally and now publicly attacked, I must respond.

If Ostrowski really didn’t “want this to go public”, he shouldn’t have made it public by leaking attacks on Rus Thompson to the political class’ own media outlet. Did he really think people wouldn’t react to his attack, and defend themselves?

The lord of the local glibertarian manor takes issue with my conclusion that the tea party split is due to substantive policy; Hayek vs. Palin or Libertarians vs. Reaganites.

Looks like I gave Ostrowski too much credit.

His public betrayal of Rus Thompson isn’t about policy or substance, he says. Instead, it is about process and purity – a standard of purity that, incidentally, only Ostrowski himself can ever hope to meet. Oh, when Ostrowski recruits a candidate, he is invariably retained as a consultant for them. But if that candidate is taken under the party apparatus’ wing, that consulting gig is in jeopardy or ends altogether, since Ostrowski isn’t well regarded by the local Republican committee. It’s a hate-hate relationship.

When Domagalski decides he’s going to run for Volker’s seat (thus prompting Volker to drop out), despite what Dave DiPietro does, Ostrowski lashes out. That’s because Ostrowski managed DiPietro’s last campaign against Volker, and appears to still be doing so.

While Ostrowski denigrates Rus Thompson and Lenny Roberto for being “regular office-seekers”, Ostrowski admits to only having run once “with the intention of winning”. I guess that handily omits the mid-90s run for governor. Instead, Ostrowski is a regular hanger-on to regular office-seekers. Not for nothing Ostrowski shows up and unexpectedly collects thousands of dollars at a tea party rally in 2009 that Rus Thompson organized. I’ve not seen Rus Thompson go to a Free NY thingy and do the same.

Lenny Roberto has actually garnered serious attention from the Republican Party committee, as well as the endorsement of the Conservative Party. It doesn’t get much more serious than that in local politics-land. And that’s why Ostrowski wants nothing to do with Roberto anymore. Roberto has, in his eyes, become impure – sold out to the political machine.

In other words, Roberto is trying to win an election.

Interesting to note that Free NY/Free Buffalo, under whose auspices Ostrowski collected the money, has never released a smidgen of financial information to show where its funding comes from, how much it takes in, how much it spends, and more specifically where the money went. I don’t have my economics primer, do you?

Setting aside the fact that Ostrowski’s ire is also partly due to the fact that his management of Jill Rowland’s campaign is now over due to the fact that she is running against Louise Slaughter, in whose district Rowland lives, reading between Ostrowski’s lines, the whole split boils down to some sort of irrational obsession and visceral hatred he has for Brian Higgins. The machine took away my candidate! Rus and Lenny Roberto sold out to the party apparatus! Well, to the extent they are working with the ECGOP to elect Republicans, I guess that’s true.

So, Thompson and Roberto are bad for being “regular office-seekers” and also bad for aligning with the party that can best help them attain public office. They are bad for trying to win. Notice the complete absence of substantive policy narrative in Ostrowski’s explanation. It doesn’t matter what they think, just how they operate. Only Jim and the Jimistas are pure.

While Ostrowski launches into an attack of Republican taxation and spending once they’re in office, he ignores the fact that his own group’s endorsed candidate for State Senate in district 60, Matt Ricchiazzi, writes this on his website:

So, it’s ok for Ostrowski to support a kid who backs a “massive state investment” in local infrastructure and expansion of “government schools”. That’s meets Ostrowski’s standard of purity because Ricchiazzi is eschewing the ECGOP. It’s about process, not policy. That’s why Ostrowski backs Mike Kuzma for Stachowski’s seat. He is procedurally pure, running without the support of any established political organization.

Ostrowski is in many ways the very embodiment, to its extremes, of the typical boomer trajectory. Liberal Democrat during Vietnam, morphed into a Libertarian during the “me” generation’s decade, which has ultimately morphed over time into various political constructs, all with the same underlying theme of “leave me alone so I can do whatever I want to whomever I want.”

Hence, the tea party was born, to fight the machine the GOP had become.

So I ask you, how can people who play ball with the machine remain part of the real tea party movement? They may be “winning” but they are not achieving the goals of the movement.

The Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, is a coalition. The Republicans are a coalition of diverse and various conservative, and right-of-center people and ideas. It incorporates people like Nelson Rockefeller and Rand Paul. The point of politics is to win elections in order to effect policy changes that you believe in. Not to engage in idiotic purity pissing matches.

Ostrowski will forever be disappointed by others, because no one but he can live up to his own standards of political procedural purity.

The whole “explanation” is an embarrassment.

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19 Responses to “Politics is About More than Just Process”

  1. Mike In WNY June 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    The visceral contempt for freedom in this post is extraordinary. Coalitions that exceed their moral authority need to be destroyed.

    • Alan Bedenko June 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

      No, I have a visceral contempt for disingenuous self-righteousness from people motivated by power & money, but too phony to admit it.

      Ostrowski can align himself with anyone, for all I care. His use of that insiders’ website to denigrate Rus underscores his phoniness.

      And while we’re on the topic of freedom, I’m free to criticize his phoniness and present others’ points of view. We here live outside the Ostrowski diktatura.

    • Gabe June 9, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

      “If you criticize Jim, you hate freedom!” …….. bawahahhahaa, wow you’ve really outdone yourself this time.

    • Rob June 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

      Btw, are you the “Mike” who gave the “Rus Thompson is a political whore” stuff (along with a reference to the “machine”) to to Illuzzory?

      • Mike In WNY June 9, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

        Nope, I can’t even remember the last time I looked at Illuzzi’s site.

  2. Jon Splett June 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    I like how Jim O acts like he’s been your mortal enemy for 5 years as if he’s never done any work with WNYMedia.

    Pretty sure I sat next to the guy at Republican headquarters on election night while we streamed him interviewing people for WNYMedia a few years ago.

  3. Fat Tony June 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Tremendous post Alan. The fact is in the history of this country, the major parties have tended to absorb grassroots movements when they began to get traction. It’s how the parties reinvent themselves. So, someone truly committed to their cause would take satisfaction in the fact that their ideas/philosophy have garnered enough attention to move into the mainstream…..unless of course, your sole goal is something different like personal financial gain from consulting services to fringe candidates. Then you wouldn’t want the major parties to adopt your candidates….Jim O. I’m looking in your direction.

    • Mike In WNY June 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

      You might believe it is a tremendous post, but it is filled with factual inaccuracies and innuendo.

      • Rob June 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

        If it’s full of inaccuracies you should be able to identify one or two. Can you, or should we just conclude that there are none?

    • Rob June 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

      Such as?

      • Mike in WNY June 9, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

        Follow the first link in Alan’s post and you will find the facts.

  4. Mike Walsh June 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    “Interesting to note that Free NY/Free Buffalo, under whose auspices Ostrowski collected the money, has never released a smidgen of financial information to show where its funding comes from, how much it takes in, how much it spends, and more specifically where the money went.”

    This has all been documented in the past. Both Taste of Freedom events and subsequent small fundraisers barely broke even. The Freeny office had to be closed due to lack of funding. No one has received one red cent personally from Freeny. The money from the Tea Party event(which you continuously rag on about) was spent on economic primer printouts(flyers) to be distributed. You already know this.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about concerning the “typical boomer trajectory”. Most boomers I know have never switched parties or changed their political opinions to any substantive degree and VERY few became libertarians.

    I’ve seen many comments accusing Ostrowski of profiting from his political activities. All are devoid of any factual evidence. All I can say is that I would never had made the same sacrifices of time, money and lost profitable opportunities that he’s made AND he’s done it for a long time. Whether you agree with him or not you have to admire his persistence. Maybe that’s what irks you: he hasn’t gone away and won’t go away despite continuous attempts to degrade him.

  5. Mike in WNY June 9, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Boomers have witnessed the decline, the promises and all the fail – all concurrent with the growth of the state.  People get wiser as they get older.  That explains the transition to a political stance emphasizing the power of individuals over the power of the state.

    • Pauldub June 9, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

      Meaning the transition from “We” to “ME!”

      • Mike in WNY June 10, 2010 at 12:24 am #

        Actually, meaning that greater benefits, for all of society, flow from the allowance of all voluntary, consensual transactions.  When individuals are allowed to take care of themselves, without government interference, they are also better able to help others truly in need.  It is no surprise that 2009 charitable contributions were very low with the all powerful state sucking the life out of the economy.

    • Jon Splett June 9, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

      Boomers have elected shitty government for decades now and created all the problems we have. The best possible thing we can do right now is ignore your generation and move forward.

      You had your chance as a generation to do great things and you fucked it up. Get over it.

      • Pauldub June 10, 2010 at 5:28 am #

        Tis always easy to blame the previous generation. We did it. too. Blame’s easy! It’s fun. In this case, it’s also a waste of time. As in “No shit junior the things that have happened previous to you gracing the planet with your existence and reaching legal age are the responsibility of those who came before you”. Profound. Next question – what are you going to do about it?

  6. hank June 10, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    So sad to see the “Sicilian Thing” between JO and BP continues. It’s been going on as long as I’ve been reading this blog, which is about 5 years now. I think both of them want the same thing, They just disagree on how to go about getting it. And I like Alan AND JO.
    While in High School with JO, he was voted “Most Liberal” in our class. However, I was one of Bill Paxon’s Young Republicans who had no compunction about a Nixon sticker on a notebook.
    All boomers were NOT Anti War Liberals, Including most of the older boys in my neighborhood who were drafted and went to Vietnam like the good Citizens they were. Did they come back disenchanted with Vietnam? Sure did. Did they feel proud they served the country when she called, Yes. Now we have one of those boomers (Pelosi) making policy at the highest level of the Legislative branch. How’s THAT working out? Or, another boomer who gets to hear “Daddy, did you plug the hole yet???” every day. How’s HE working out.
    I am not a Freener . I gave JO a donation early on because they were looking to fix Buffalo, and he’s been my friend since 71.
    Last night on Hannity (which of course nobody here saw) a Dem strategist said the Tea Party was good for Democrats because it meant Repubs are fighting each other. And it certainly looks that way. But it appears from the election results that the Tea Party is gaining strength, and the regular repub machine doesn’t like it any more than most of you do.
    From where I sit and read every day and comment infrequently, I see that what liberals hate the most seems to make them stronger. Now the media is saying Palin is a “Kingmaker”. She’s an object of your disdain and hatred. O’Reilly has the best ratings in Cable, and you still cling to what’s left of Olbermann, nearly in the basement. Rush is a multi millionaire, and Air America is bankrupt and out of business. Does this not strike a chord?

  7. Carl June 10, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Hank: As long as CNN and HLN exist, Olbermann will NEVER land in the basement.

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