Tag Archives: ridiculous

The Trump Gambit

5 Dec

Yesterday a junket of desperate Republicans met with noted Birther and tack merchant Donald Trump, urging him to run for governor of the state of New York against Andrew Cuomo. Among them was local political consultant and public relations maven Michael Caputo and birther tea party freshman Assemblyman David DiPietro. 

In this episode of “let’s recruit the rich guy“, the Republican left on the sidelines is Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a solid Republican executive with wins under his belt, but little name recognition outside of downstate.  Astorino also doesn’t plaster his name on all kinds of stuff or have a billion dollars, nor is he the Sarah Palin of billionaires. But New York State Republicans are not beneath screwing the guy who earns something in favor of the self-funding rich guy. Right, David Bellavia

New York State has a population of just under 20 million people, almost half of whom live in the five boroughs of New York City. Add a million from Westchester, 1.5 million in Suffolk County, 1.4 million in Nassau, 317k in Rockland, 375k in Orange, and 100k in Putnam, and you have about 13.5 million of 19.5 million residents living within the immediate New York City metropolitan area – people who largely have no use for Albany or upstate in general, not to mention western New York. 

Trump’s especial brand of anti-Obama birtherism plays well for like-minded fellas like David DiPietro and his tea party cohorts. While much is being made of the duration of yesterday’s meeting, and the fact that Trump is no longer ruling anything out, this may have something to do with Trump’s new feud against Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman’s office recently brought a $40 million fraud lawsuit against something called “Trump University” – or as the AG called it, a “nationwide scam” and  bait & switch fraud. Trump just this week filed an ethics complaint against Schneiderman, citing the prominent case of Argle v. Bargle

Really what this amounts to is recruiting a richer, downstate-friendly Carl Paladino. Trump is just as plainspoken, just as filled with scandal, just as flawed as our local loudmouth developer, but the difference is that Trump has name recognition downstate, to whom Paladino was a profane stranger, and Trump has actual friends in downstate media – even the NY Post was against Paladino. 

Donald Trump is the dream candidate for the angry, defeatist white male upstate voter with a “repeal NY SAFE Act” lawnsign because to the WBEN listener Rus Thompson set, Cuomo is the devil, and Obama isn’t even human. They aspire to be just like Donald Trump, and they love that he thinks like they do – and he has the money and name recognition to not care what anyone thinks. His downstate bona fides explain why he’s being wooed. 

Donald Trump would accomplish nothing in New York State. He would do nothing for education, for the poor, for upstate’s economic malaise, for Buffalo, or for anyone except the tea party and the ultrarich. I will also bet you that part of the strategy is a fusion party line or two, meaning that Trump would take advantage of the single-most corrupt process in New York politics. 

The headlines yesterday should have read, “Lawmakers to Massage Trump Ego, Trump Reacts Favorably”. 

Legislating a Simple Thing Proves Difficult

11 Feb

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From an article in the New York Times in May 2007:

Speaking of pay, Senator Antoine M. Thompson of Buffalo, a freshman Democrat, made a fiery speech on the Senate floor last week, denouncing the bill to increase legislators’ salaries when it came up for a vote in his chamber. He cited the lack of raises for Buffalo city workers, police officers, teachers and sanitation workers, and said, “I can’t in good conscience vote for myself, or anyone else, a raise.”

That led Senator Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, to pose a question:

“Why did your conscience allow you to be a sponsor of this bill?”

Indeed, all 29 Senate Democrats, including Mr. Thompson, had co-sponsored the bill days earlier, but, in a speedy turnabout, almost all of them ultimately voted against the measure, as the governor urged.

“Sir, as you may know, we get information on a regular basis, and when I found out the exact content of the bill I was in complete opposition,” Mr. Thompson explained, a deer-in-the-headlights expression passing over his face.

And so it was yesterday that no one could get a straight answer as to how Antoine Thompson voted on the question of expelling girlfriend-slasher/batterer Hiram Monserrate from the New York State “Senate”.

Tom Precious in the Buffalo News reported that Thompson voted against expulsion, but no other media outlet reported that, and the official vote tally showed that Thompson had voted “yes”, for expulsion. Then the question was raised whether Thompson was in the Senate chamber at all during the vote, in which case his absence would become an automatic “yes” vote (I thought that this had been changed as part of reforms, but evidently not.)

Can you imagine that this is a question? The fact that there is uncertainty over this is just astonishing to me no matter what way you look at it.

In the end, Precious kept pressing the issue and ultimately got this “explanation“:

During the Monserrate expulsion vote Tuesday night, Thompson was mysteriously absent from his seat.

Asked how he voted after the Senate session ended, Thompson said, “I did not vote yes.”

Asked again, he said, “I did not vote yes.”

A News reporter showed Thompson his notebook with the tally of 53-8 and asked whether he was one of the eight senators who voted no.

“Yes,” Thompson said, elaborating that because Monserrate is still appealing his criminal conviction, the Senate should have allowed the appeal process to be completed. He said he favored a censure vote, instead, with an ouster effective in June, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Precious is practically cross-examining Thompson here multiple times, giving him several opportunities to understand what’s being asked and provide a straight answer. From my reading of this exchange, Thompson understood the question, said he had voted against expulsion, and even provided a reason why – that we should wait until Monserrate’s appeals of his conviction have been exhausted.

But wait, there’s more.

Thompson, however, was recorded as voting in favor of the resolution, which sailed through the Senate, 53-8.

Wednesday morning, aides to Thompson placed calls to the Senate in Albany in an attempt to get the vote changed, according to well-placed sources who asked not to be identified. The request was rejected as against the rules, the source said.

As it turns out, though, Thompson was all right with the recorded yes vote.

Now it’s just getting bizarre. The News article includes video of Thompson in the hall, milling about, but not being at his seat during the taking of any vote. It’s just strange, bizarre behavior. This isn’t an elementary school playground, and you don’t get do-overs.

Thompson’s explanation?

“I misspoke because I was tired and sick,” Thompson said of his interview with The Buffalo News on Tuesday night, when he said — on three occasions, in different ways — that he voted against the expulsion of Monserrate, who was convicted of dragging his girlfriend through the lobby of an apartment building.

Legislating is hard work, but it isn’t rocket science. Of all the decisions that may come before the Senate chamber on any given day, the expulsion of a petulant jerk who is guilty of assault & battery on his girlfriend ought to be least thought-provoking, controversial one.

Confusion?! No one else was confused.

A Low Bar

6 Jul

When Republicans cry with indignation at mistreatment of John McCain, let us not forget 2004. Back then, the GOP brought new meaning to “honoring service” of a veteran and political civility. Kerry received three Purple Hearts serving in combat in Vietnam. That’s three more than Bush, Rove, and Cheney combined. This is how, in 2004, Bush’s supporters honored his service:

So, the civility bar has been set remarkably low, and so far the only thing that’s been questioned is whether getting shot down over Hanoi is a qualification for the Presidency. When Wes Clark made that observation, Bob Dole awoke from Bob Dole’s slumber. Bob Dole said this:

“The attack by General Wesley Clark on Senator John McCain’s war record and qualifications for the presidency is beyond comprehension. Clark’s absurd remarks signal further erosion in our nation’s political discourse. He should have stayed in bed Sunday morning.

It’s unfortunate that a former General who ran for the presidency on his own war record thinks it appropriate to attack a distinguished veteran and former prisoner-of-war in this way. Senator McCain’s entire life has been devoted to public service. His achievement and experience constitute unparalleled qualification for America’s highest office.”

This is what Bob Dole said in 2004 about John Kerry’s service:

And last week, former Sen. Bob Dole, the party’s 1996 presidential nominee, brought more attention to the allegations when he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “With three Purple Hearts, he never bled that I know of. And they’re all superficial wounds.”

In other words, Senator Dole, the erosion of our political discourse was helped along by the likes of you.

I happen to think that there is no set of qualifications for the Presidency. If there were, we could just us a headhunter and solicit resumes. So the question itself is a dumb one.

But gasps of righteous indignation from the crowd that wore purple-heart laden Band-Aids ring very hollow indeed.

HT The Humanist.