Tag Archives: ECGOP

Help Us Obi-Wan Trumponi; You’re Our Only Hope!

31 Jan

Welcome to Buffalo, Mr. Trump!

I know you’ll enjoy your time at the Republican fundraiser at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens – its design sensibilities match your own. Not to mention there will be well-heeled Republican donors willing to shell out $100 – $500 to see and possibly meet you, as well as a ragtag group of not-so-well-heeled Republican activists demonstrating for your benefit outside in the parking lot. 

During the last few weeks, desperate New York Republicans have figuratively fellated you so sweetly and slowly, never breaking eye contact as they lovingly, sloppily caress your manhood. The official local party organ has given you a ton of sketchy massages with happy endings this week

It’s so wonderful to be so loved; to be feted and worshipped like a God. It’s like every western New York Republican is doing their best Princess Leia impression:  help us Obi-Wan Trumponi; you’re our only hope

I read with interest the local political reporter’s story about your 757 aircraft. I especially enjoyed the part where he transcribed a portion of the voice-over from a documentary about it. Reporting!

You are their God because you embody the ideal of Homo Republicanus. You’re wealthy beyond belief, and everything you do is done to excess. You’re on your second family, but at least you never kept it secret, unlike the last Republican to run for governor, who took to the radio this week to explain how much of a “family man” you are. How he arrived at that conclusion is a mystery. You detest Obama and gleefully call him an ineligible Communist. You can’t stand Andrew Cuomo and know you can defeat him, but you demand some sort of unity in the Republican Party as a prerequisite to running. This is clever, because a few county chairs and perhaps the state committee may oppose you, and this would give you an out. You’re a well-known brand, but because of your outspoken tea party politics, you’re not a particularly well-liked one. You hate the idea of people having access to affordable health insurance, your personal morality doesn’t match the party line, and you’re often combative and rude. 

But are we to believe that you’ll relinquish control of your companies to go to work in Albany, of all places? Let’s not forget that being governor isn’t some side gig you can do part of the day, and then traipse off to Manhattan to run an empire of tack. Politics is perfect for you, but if you win, you’d have to govern. The key to effective governing is compromise. Are you ready for that? I know you have experience cutting deals with business rivals, but can you translate that into policy? And what do you know of real people’s genuine problems? You don’t hear much from the 99% while ensconced in Trump Tower, or vacationing in Mar-a-Lago. Billionaire problems aren’t my problems, or most people’s. 

Also – that thing that Cuomo said about extremist right-wingers? You know that he was talking about right-wing politicians, not average people. You also know he was right about what extremist rightists believe; Paladino’s electoral outcome is something you might be able to surpass, but not enough to beat Andrew Cuomo. You are so far on the right-wing fringe with your politics that you’ll do great up here where the people aren’t. But downstate? Your politics suck and a great many people there already think you’re a bit of a nouveau-riche prat. 

Your visit to Buffalo tonight is the biggest speed dating event in WNY history. I think it’s great, because the disappointment will be so deep when you inevitably drop out because of work obligations, the fact that your lifestyle doesn’t need the headache of public scrutiny, or because you’ll have to disclose your financials and be expected to satisfy certain ethical obligations. 

Have fun at Salvatore’s! They have great steaks! 

Love, BP

We Get Mail (UPDATED)

9 Feb
I received the following from the Erie County Republican Party. Apparently, there isn’t a culture war the Republicans don’t like losing. Again and again. (UPDATE: A New York State mandate dating to 2002 already requires the Catholic Church to provide contraception services to their employees. The Church sued to be exempted from that mandate, and lost.)
 
Local Catholic Republicans Call Upon Hochul and Higgins to
Oppose Obama’s Big- Government Policies That Violate Religious Liberties
 

Buffalo, NY – Several Catholic Erie County Republicans Leaders have called upon the local Congressional delegation to oppose the Obama Administrations decision to require all employers, including the Catholic Church, to provide health insurance coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. By choosing not to comply with this decision that interferes with their beliefs, the move would shut off millions of dollars in funding for Catholic charitable organizations that provide help to struggling families, the sick and elderly and other needy Americans who benefit from their good works.

There’s a poignant irony at play when the Republican Party – which has for the last 20+ years aligned itself and promoted in its platform the inclusion of religion in government and civic life – complains that the government is interfering with religion. (Something about having cake & eating it, too.) A requirement that a business and employer – such as the Catholic Church – must provide the same health insurance as any other employer is not infringing on religious freedoms. After all, assuming the Catholic Church is immune from anti-discrimination statutes and only employs members of the Catholic Church (an untrue assumption), the question of whether contraception or abortion services will be used by those employees is completely moot. Right? Because we all know that Catholics don’t use birth control, don’t have abortions, don’t get divorced, and faithfully obey all of the Church’s rules.  
 

Everyone loves to be lectured by Nancy Naples!

While this topic has forced President Obama and his political machine into damage control, several local leaders have noted the silence of Congressman Brian Higgins and Congresswoman Kathy Hochul.  We have already seen Democrats who were defeated because of their government healthcare takeover vote come out and say that they “ Wouldn’t have voted for ObamaCare had I known Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic Colleges and Universities to pay for contraception…”
Interesting, since Hochul wasn’t around to vote for Obamacare.  Certainly the line between civil government and religious faith is a difficult one to walk, especially in a predominately Catholic place like Buffalo. The fundamental question, though, comes down to whether the electorate thinks that women should have access to contraception or not. This is a battle that has long been won on the side of women and I’m tickled to see the Republicans using it as so blatant a political football.
 
Remember that this regulation doesn’t force the Catholic Church, which has a longstanding and principled anti-choice stance on abortion, to do anything with respect to abortion. But if you want to make sure society has more abortions, more often, then start taking away women’s birth control. The government is not, e.g., forcing Catholic Health to perform abortions or give out the pill. It’s not compelling the Church to do anything but provide its female employees with the ability to obtain copay-free contraception, if they so desire
 
I mean, thank God we have prominent Catholic females like Emilio Colaicovo and Dennis Vacco standing up for equal rights, right?  Because this isn’t about whether Obamacare is forcing the church to hand out the pill during Communion, as this GOP release would have you think.  This is about a longstanding Republican war on female sexuality, and on sex itself – one that they lost long ago, and have now found a faith-based ally to help them try and score political points in the era of the reactionary so-called “tea party.”
 
The argument they’re trying to frame is a Constitutional one based in the freedom to practice religion freely, but there’s also a Constitutional provision called the “Equal Protection Clause” within the 14th Amendment, as well a long-established right to personal privacy in matters relating to sexuality.  A rule requiring the Catholic Church to provide health coverage for its female employees that includes contraceptive and other sex-related services doesn’t prohibit the Church from continuing its longstanding prohibition on all non-procreative sex. 
 
The truth, of course, is that Catholic institutions don’t exclusively employ Catholics. Catholic Universities, for instance, hire loads of people from all faiths and backgrounds. Why should, for instance, a Jewish female professor at Canisius be forced by her employer to have no free access to reproductive medical services and medications? Does Canisius have the right to hover over their employees and ensure that they spend their paychecks only on Church-approved items? 
 
The Erie County GOP isn’t concerned about that, though. They’re not interested in a compromise, such as the one the Obama Administration is attempting to reach with these Churches (a simple way out of this would be to give individual employees the right to opt-in for reproductive services on their own initiative – that it would be available to them, but not by default). 
“While Mrs. Hochul and Mr. Higgins can be found often in front of any camera, why haven’t we heard from them on this issue?  Why do they refuse to stand on the side of decency and our faith,” questioned Emilio Colaiacovo, Counsel to the Erie County Republican Committee.  “It would appear that Congressman Higgins and Congresswoman Hochul stand with Nancy Pelosi who favors abortion on demand and other policies that violate the conscience of Catholics across the country,” added Colaiacovo.
Well, yeah. Duh. Higgins and Hochul are pro-choice. They’re also pro-contraception. Hell, Higgins voted to expand stem cell research to cure disease.  This is a surprise requiring a quote from the Republican Party’s local lawyer? What does abortion have to do with this? What does Nancy Pelosi have to do with this (apart from the fact that, as a female Californian with an ethnic name, they misogynistically demonize her even when completely beside any reasonable point.)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after first promising not to do so, have mislead  American Catholics by requiring the Church, and its institutions, to provide services that violate the conscience and the teachings of the Church.  And this is just the beginning. What’s next? What else didn’t the President and Congress tell us was in this bill?
Did you not read it? Do you need it read to you, like a very long but slightly less boring version of “Goodnight Moon”?
“This is a serious violation of the most fundamental of all rights – the freedom of religious liberty,” said Dennis Vacco, the former New York State Attorney General.  “I urge Kathy and Brian to stand with Church leaders and parishioners who find this to be an unconscionable intrusion on our first Amendment liberties,” concluded Vacco.
Not really, Mr. Vacco. The law doesn’t compel the Church to hand out the pill. It merely requires you to make contraception available to your employees through your health insurance plan.  And 98% of American women have used contraception at least once. Including Catholic women
Congressman Higgins and Congresswoman Hochul are both seeking re-election in districts that are heavily Catholic.
Yes, they are. (Hey, wasn’t the GOP all upset about how, e.g., the #Occupy movement was dividing Americans? Proposing the legislative division of Americans based on their faith would to me seem even more unfair, if not downright unconstitutional). 
“The Catholic Church provides, through its own generosity, food and shelter for the poor, medicine for the sick, education for our children, and other services for the families of our community.  It is unthinkable that Congressman Higgins and Congresswoman Hochul are more interested in party politics instead of standing up for their own faith and what is just and right,”  stated Nancy Naples, former Erie County Comptroller.  “We deserve to hear from our local Congressional delegation whether they stand with our faith community or with President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Washington interests that have ignored Western New York for far too long,” concluded Naples.
What is unconscionable and unthinkable is that Nancy Naples, who as County Comptroller presided over an epic fiscal meltdown of County Finances less than a decade ago isn’t ashamed and embarrassed to poke her head up and bluster about anything at all, but especially to politicize faith and birth control.  This isn’t about Washington interests – this isn’t about whether Nancy Pelosi gets access to the pill. This is about the interests of women
Local Catholic Republicans will continue to raise this issue until Congressman Higgins and Congresswoman Hochul advise local Catholics whether they stand with them or with Washington.
That’s incorrectly written. It should read: 
 
Local Catholic women will continue to raise this issue until Congressman Higgins and Congresswoman Hochul advise local Catholics whether they stand with a Church patriarchy or with women

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.

Paladino and the Republicans

1 Jun

Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy talks with Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin about Carl Paladino.

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Arm-twisting? At the Republican Convention? But…but the unfortunately named Mr. Cox said that wouldn’t happen!