Tag Archives: LD-10

Gaffetober (Updated)

28 Oct

Close on the heels of Chris Collins’ epic Shelly Silver fail come reports that Michele Iannello is embroiled in a sensitivity issue of her own.  The Buffalo News reported this morning on charges coming from the Working Families Party and Buffalo Teachers’ Federation President Phil Rumore that Iannello ordered a couple of black canvassers off her campaign.

I contacted Michele for comment, and she directed me to the statements she made in Bob McCarthy’s report.

She said she objected to Working Families requests by door-to-door canvassers asking voters to sign a pledge promising to vote for her, prompting a split with the party.

“It’s just a difference of opinion,” she said…

“I’m an independent and don’t answer to the Democratic Party or the Working Families Party,” Iannello said.

She said she did not know where Rumore’s accusations originated.

“If they interpreted this in a different way, I’m sorry,” she said.

I didn’t call Collins an anti-Semite, and I’m not going to call Michele a racist.  I don’t think either person is any one of those things.  But in politics, perception can trump reality, and this definitely looks very, very bad indeed.  If you haven’t been following the thread at Colin’s page, you should.

This raises a couple of points, not just for Iannello, but for Collins as well.  Firstly, beware whom you piss off, because you may find yourself thrown under a bus sooner rather than later.  Secondly, if you say or do certain questionable things, expect to find them in the paper.  Finally, to my mind I find that this whole things is a cautionary tale about candidates courting and doing business with minor parties under our system of electoral fusion.  Once you turn over even a portion of your campaign to people with whom you’re in a relationship of mutual convenience, you’re going to have to play ball – whether that means accepting canvassers to whom you object for some reason, or putting up with aggressive canvassing tactics.

I distinctly recall the Mayor of Buffalo saying that blockbuster charges coming within days of an election are politically motivated.  Certainly, that possibility needs to be considered.  But if I were advising Iannello, and this wasn’t true, and the WFP was throwing her under the bus improperly, then I’d be telling her to issue a stronger response. But I’m not, and she got elected.  I didn’t.

I distinctly feel like I’m only getting half the story, so alas we’re stuck with Phil Rumore calling Iannello a racist.


Artvoice reports that the Adam’s Mark incident was not the first or only time that Collins used the anti-Christ “joke”:

But it’s clear to me that his remark comparing an orthodox Jew to Hitler and the anti-Christ was not “off the cuff” or “unscripted”; it was not a momentary lapse in judgment. The joke is part of Collins’s repertoire. He has used it more than once, who knows how many times. Perhaps he wasn’t even aware that it was offensive until the uncomfortable silence he met at the Adam’s Mark on Saturday night. Maybe he didn’t know it was offensive until Elizabeth Benjamin exposed the remarks in the New York Daily News on Sunday. Maybe he still doesn’t believe what he said was offensive.  He certainly did not recognize it to be offensive between the time he made the remark to that group of college students and the time he made the remark on Saturday. Or he did and didn’t care. The former makes him an idiot, the latter makes him arrogant and heedless.

Bruce Fisher has more in Artvoice’s cover story.