Tag Archives: GOP

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

Trump: An Exercise in Brand Destruction

18 Jan

Dear New York State ultra right-wing Republicans: 

Andrew Cuomo is right. 

The reason you’re so angry? You know he’s right. 

But I would say the state GOP is split into three distinct factions, not just two. 

In 2010, the Republican Party was divided between the wealthy, country clubby downstate moderate Republican hierarchy on the one hand, and a brash, obscene, bellicose, ultra right-winger who energized (and was energized by) the Palinist wing of the tea party.  The glibertarian Paulist wing of the tea party also backed Paladino, somewhat begrudgingly. What all this amounted to was a complete blow-out whereby Democrat Andrew Cuomo defeated Carl Paladino 61% – 34%. 

Paladino was largely self-funded, and could buy himself all the media attention he wanted. His only disadvantage was his own mouth. And the policies he espoused. New Yorkers rejected him convincingly. 

Now, the ultra-right Palinists are thisclose to recruiting Donald Trump to run for governor against Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is, I’m sure, not relishing the fight because Trump has many advantages over Carl Paladino; for instance, Trump has an international brand; Trump is reasonably well-liked by people, regardless of his weird politics; Trump knows how to make headlines, and do so positively for himself; Trump has been vetted in the media for decades; people know Trump for fun things that have nothing to do with politics; he is a known quantity downstate;  and, Trump has the New York Post in his pocket. 

Trump has some negatives, too, though; for instance, he has no filter between his brain and his mouth; he can be not just exceedingly rude and hostile, but downright vicious when dealing with people who offer him even mild criticism; Trump has been scrutinized as a tabloid celebrity, but not as a serious candidate for elected office; Trump does not play well with others, and is used to getting exactly what he wants (or can buy); Trump is likely to mirror Paladino’s bellicose attitude and alienate many voters; Trump’s utterly bizarre and inexplicably vocal birtherism will make Obama voters (62.6% of New Yorkers voted for Obama vs. 36% for Romney) reject Trump outright; and Trump has never, ever before paid a stitch of care or attention to anything west of the Hudson and/or north of Saratoga when it comes to New York State. 

If Republicans think that Trump can win (if he runs), they may be right – he has a chance. But it won’t remotely be the cakewalk they’re thinking it’ll be.  Cuomo isn’t warm and fuzzy, either, but he is a centrist Democrat. 

New York State is overwhelmingly populated by Democrats. The vast majority of New York voters are located within the New York City metropolitan area and media market. These people know Trump, and while upstate flirts with this pretty TV celebrity, he’s old hat downstate. Many of them are likely to not take him at all seriously. 

All of these hypotheticals are naturally based on the assumption that he’ll run. He won’t if there’s a primary, he says, and the country clubbers that run the New York GOP aren’t warming to Trump yet. I’m not so sure he’ll run – this is already a huge publicity stunt for him, and running is secondary. What a wonderful branding exercise. 

But is it? Is Trump ready to sacrifice his brand further by wading into hyperpartisan politics? As an Obama supporter, I’ve already resolved to avoid anything with Trump’s name on it like the plague; I see his relentless birtherism as thinly veiled racist xenophobia, and I see his rejection of irrefutable evidence as a huge character flaw that disqualifies him for public office, and the money I earn. If Donald Trump thinks that the President is a foreign national who is ineligible for the Presidency in the face of a certified long-form Hawaiian birth certificate, that calls his judgment and credibility into question. Now expand that aggressive ignorance into state politics, and he’ll alienate Democrats and moderate Republicans even more. 

Oh, and here’s a tip, tea partiers: stop calling Andrew Cuomo “il Duce”. He was duly elected, and you maintain a right to hate and criticize him. He is, therefore, not a fascist totalitarian dictator. But he is Italian. Your defamation of Cuomo with this false, childish, base slur will not ingratiate you or your candidates to New Yorkers of Italian descent. This bigotry is vile and beneath you; you might as well call him a mob boss or depict him as an organ-grinder as soon as you’d depict Obama as an African chieftain or with a watermelon

Because for all the bleating about the NY SAFE Act, this race will be decided in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. The rural areas will go for the Republican, the urban areas will go for the Democrat, and these key suburban swing counties could go either way. Right-leaning upstate counties simply don’t have a lot of people. 60% or so of New Yorkers are registered Democrats. 30% or so of New Yorkers are registered Republicans. The Conservative and Independence Parties are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the Republican Party, so add another 5% on the Republican side. That’s the gap that Trump would have to win, and Cuomo made the point that he’s too extreme. 

Here’s what Cuomo had to say in remarks that enraged many New York right-wingers: 

You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.

… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

If they’re moderate Republicans like in the Senate right now, who control the Senate — moderate Republicans have a place in their state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate Republican; but not what you’re hearing from them on the far right.”

Republicans can take umbrage to that, but it’s a fundamentally true declaration. New York Republicans may enjoy the extreme hatenouncements of pretty billionaires and petty millionaires, but your average New Yorker is pretty middle-of-the-road. Pataki won because he wasn’t an extremist. Cuomo won because he wasn’t an extremist. It’s about the center in New York, and Trump may have had appeal there before the birtherism, but now he’s just Paladino with a cleaner outbox, a TV endorsement, and more money in the bank. 

Oh, by the way, the New York State Attorney General is suing Trump for defrauding students through a now-defunct “Trump University” which took money in exchange for nothing.  

So, my initial prediction is that Trump won’t win because (a) there would likely be a primary; and/or (b) he doesn’t need the headache. If I’m wrong and he does run, then I think he outperforms Paladino, but doesn’t defeat Cuomo. The reason why? Trump is being backed and promoted by a small minority of a small minority political party – a fraction of 35% of the state population. 

You guys are great at buying your own BS, and because you only credit right-leaning media and reject any sort of critical thought or debate, you think that you “surround us”. The problem is that the numbers are not in your favor, and the ease with which you descend into crass, ugly rhetoric doesn’t help. This is before we get to the actual policies you espouse, most of which would never fly in a cosmopolitan blue state like New York. 

So, good luck with this, but you might want to consider ways in which centrists and liberals might be attracted to Trump, rather than alienating them right from the start. Have a great weekend!

Love, BP

The Suicide Caucus

8 Oct

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Making Romney Relatable

29 Aug

I can’t subject myself to Republican talking points for very long, and just 9 years ago, I was a registered Republican. In 2000, I volunteered for John McCain. I saw him as the last gasp of rational Republicanism against the Christianist conservative movement embodied by George W. Bush. The reasons why I can’t bring myself to watch or pay attention to gavel-to-gavel Republican convention coverage now are not dissimilar from the reasons why I don’t watch cable news anymore; we have a Democratic Party and a Batsh*t Crazy Party. 

But I watched Ann Romney’s and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s speeches yesterday. 

1. Both speakers worked from a TelePrompTer. When Obama uses one, Republicans mock it and imply that it is bad or inauthentic. What gives? 

2. Ann Romney seems like a nice lady. I have no doubt that she loves her husband very much, and that she’s very supportive of him. How odd it is, however, that in lieu of humanizing Mitt Romney, they sent Ann out to explain how human and relatable he is. She also rushed through her speech so quickly that it was as if she was allergic to words. 

3. Sarah Palin is completely absent from this shindig, and Romney’s choice to wear red – a color Palin also prefers – served almost as a subliminal message that the party will pander to the tea party – but only so much. Gone are the days when Palin would be a marquee speaker. 

4. Make no mistake: Mitt and Ann Romney never wanted for anything. They never had no money, and they never had to worry about how they would make ends meet. While Romney started her speech by talking about “love”, she quickly segued into a soliloquy about  the travails of the American bourgeoisie – a class to which she hasn’t belonged since meeting the candidate, her husband. She told us how she could relate to problems lots of mothers throughout American have – but for one. Money (or “resources”, if you prefer). These people have no idea. 

5. What I mean by the “no idea” quip above is this: Romney spoke about how humbly she and Mitt lived while together in college. I mean, they had a makeshift desk made out of sawhorses and a piece of wood! The difference, of course, is that the Romneys chose to live humbly, all the while cashing in Mitt’s stocks when money was needed. Choosing to live humbly is wildly different from having no choice but to be poor or worrying about money and jobs. 

6. A big applause line: Ann and Mitt have a “real marriage”. What’s the implication there? That the Obamas don’t? Was it a swipe at marriage equality/same-sex marriage? I have no idea, but it was a surprisingly passive-aggressive, accusatory thing to say in response to no suggestion that they didn’t. This was, as far as I can tell, nothing more than hatred.  Perhaps we should start questioning this, and demanding to see the long-form marriage certificate. 

7. Ann Romney said that Mitt didn’t have success handed to him. No, but I’d suggest that a guy whose father was governor, and the influential millionaire CEO of an auto manufacturer – a guy who attended the exclusive Cranbrook School (where he hilariously bullied the gay kids), and attended Stanford, Harvard, and BYU and went on to partner with consultant colleagues who raised millions to start Bain Capital had extraordinary opportunity – he was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. Was that handed to him? Perhaps not directly, but he was born into money and privilege, and his path to wealth and prominence was hardly steep. 

8. I happen to respect Chris Christie. I like his brash attitude, and I like the fact that he’s a bit of an asshole. I think most politicians are assholes anyway – it’s nice that he doesn’t try to hide that fact. You know where you stand with him, and you know where he stands. 

9. While Ann Romney had talked about love, Christie said we need to “choose respect over love”. That was awkward. 

10. Christie talked about how his mom had to the take the bus to various jobs – municipal bus. His dad worked at the Breyers plant – was it a union shop? Perhaps the Milk Drivers & Dairy Employees Union? Shame that people like Christie apparently came up from a working-class household that benefited from union wages, benefits, and collective bargaining, and would deny that for future generations. Unions for me, but not for thee. I think Democrats do a lousy job pushing back against union busting. If we’ve learned anything during the employment crisis of the current economic shocks, it’s that a job is certainly important, but there’s more to it than that – we’ve seemingly jettisoned any notion that the employee should have certain rights and privileges in addition to just getting a paycheck. What about a wage you can live off of? Why shouldn’t unions be allowed to represent workers to guarantee fair working conditions and labor practices? I don’t get why politicians are so proud of jobs, jobs, jobs without regard to how people are treated at those jobs.

11. Christie talked about wild spending. Ok, most federal spending overwhelmingly goes to the military. Let’s cut that in half. No administration in the last 30 years has been more spendthrift, more fiscally irresponsible, growing more government than those led by Republican chief executives.

12. Christie criticized Democrats for dividing Americans. No, this Republican Party can’t do that with a straight face and get away with it. Their entire platform is founded on class warfare, fear, and hatred. 

13. The speech Christie gave made no mention of Mitt Romney until the end. It was Christie’s opening to his 2016 run for President. 

14. Christie said America has/d the best health care system in the world. It doesn’t. Not even remotely, under any metric, and we spend wildly more than any other system on Earth. 

15. Obama leads by polls, Christie said. That sort of negates the talking point about how Obamacare is wildly unpopular, no? Cognitive dissonance and disingenuousness were everywhere last night. 

16. Shorter GOP: oh, my God, this European Kenyan usurper N0bama has destroyed America. Let’s quickly go back to the policies that led to the 2008 worldwide economic catastrophe from which the world is still hungover. 

Tonight, Mitt Romney will give his speech. Horserace-obsessed journos will breathlessly report on how big of a “bounce” Romney gets in the polls in the coming days. I will be listening to his tone, and the content of his speech. This is 1996 all over again – the Democratic President is quite vulnerable against an energized Republican base, and the GOP just picked Bob Dole 2.0 – the begrudgingly selected guy whom no one likes, but will say the right things to the right people and whose time it simply is to run. 

I’ll leave you with this scene from the season finale of Aaron Sorkin’s fantastic new series, “The Newsroom”. This illustrates the problem within the Republican Party. While the Democrats have fringe whackjobs, too, the party establishment hasn’t let them take over the show: 

Insanity Debate

9 Jan

I managed to watch about 30 – 45 minutes’ worth of the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire this weekend. That was all I could stomach.

When Newt Gingrich began complaining about the “war on Christianity” being waged by the Obama administration, I tweeted this:

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/155844805086285824″%5D

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/155846917195177985″%5D

…and turned on Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. I found it to be more intellectually honest and stimulating than the ignorance slapstick that ABC was airing.

Separation of Sex and State

28 Feb

That former Congressman Chris Lee was so attracted to cross-dressers and transsexuals should not be a source of ridicule and derision.  People in a free country can – and ought to have the right to –  love, or have sex with, any willing partner. That Lee betrayed traditional family values is none of our business, and that he trolled Craigslist for dates with women, and women with penises alike, is newsworthy for its lack of good judgment, but were he a private citizen it would not be our concern – no big deal. His hasty self-return to private life is now explained. As a public figure, it matters because his brazen Craigslist hookups and flailing cover-up were not just hypocritical, but indiscreet.

Likewise, it’s not the kind of sex they like that holds David Vitter, Chris Lee, and Larry Craig up to ridicule or congressional censure, but the poor judgment of hiring and soliciting prostitutes, or soliciting sex in public restrooms. As far as Mark Foley was concerned, he showed poor judgment and also abused his power by soliciting young congressional pages. That they were male ought be immaterial.  It’s 2011; it’s OK to be gay.

That local developer Carl Paladino is out partying at a local lesbian bar with women who don’t look like Cathy Hannon Paladino is and isn’t interesting.  It isn’t interesting because you can’t decipher the whole story from one photograph posted to Reddit, but what it does is at least conceptually confirm the story that comedian Kristen Becker told during last year’s gubernatorial campaign. Becker (from WNYMedia.net partner Buffalo Comedy.com), explained that Paladino had been to Roxy’s and said some not-nice and un-governor-y things to her. Paladinoists figured it was absurd to even consider that Uncle Carl would ever set foot in a lesbian nightclub.  It’s 2011; it’s ok to be gay, or curious, or straight.

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So if it’s ok for so many prominent conservative Republicans to be gay, or gay-curious, why don’t they just lay off their uncloseted brothers and sisters? Whether a Republican politician is a Bible-thumper or not, the GOP platform re-asserts the fact that gay-on-gay sex is un-American, icky, as well as being socially and politically unacceptable. Roxy partier Paladino said this last year:

I didn’t march in the Gay Pride parade this year. My opponent did. There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That’s not how God created us, and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children – and certainly not in our schools,

So, Paladino has established that gays aren’t worth giving rights to, aren’t “functional”, aren’t “how God” created them, and are a bad example. Yet he flip-flopped when it came to his own nephew, and his own proclivity to party in bars that cater to homosexual females; Paladino, who just last week wrote a lengthy missive insulting Donn Esmonde, containing a line averring that Chris Lee just had a “bad day”.

It all underscores the fact that the Republican anti-gay platform merely panders to the radical Christian fundamentalists who partly puppeteer that party. There are plenty of LGBT Republicans, and their personal, private sexual lives are nobody’s business. It’s ok to be a gay Republican.

Imagine what a better country this would be if sexuality was divorced (so to speak) from politics. If homophobia was excised from politics and from parties’ platforms, the only place it would remain socially acceptable would be in the pews, prayers, and pulpits of radically fundamentalist houses of worship. Imagine if the very first public proclamation by Republican congressional candidates didn’t involve homophobia.

The Republican Party used to stand for less government, (despite never practicing what they preach). Yet when it comes to sexuality, they out-Puritan the Puritans, which makes it exquisitely embarrassing when someone with an (R) after their name is caught outside the wife-two-kids norm.

Let Chris Lee date all the “passable transsexuals/cross-dressers” he wants. Let Carl Paladino watch all the gay porn, and patronize all the gay bars, he wants.

Whenever the topic turns to treating homosexuals like people, some cretin will chime in with an uninformed slippery slope argument about how tolerance of gay unions will lead to bestiality, pedophilia, and polygamy. It’s a false equivalence; those three activities are victimization and abuse; of kids, of animals, and of multiple women. It’s those kinds of “arguments” that hamstring rational discussion about this particular issue – because its terms are dictated and framed by the radical fundamentalists and their puppets.

Sexuality has nothing to do with running the country. It’s time to legalize gay marriage – by Constitutional amendment if necessary – and to completely separate sexuality and state. Chris Lee and Carl Paladino will thank you.