Tag Archives: rus thompson

Ballot Access & Fusion: Keeping New York Corrupt

10 Jul

It’s petition day throughout New York State, and we’ll learn soon enough that Governor Cuomo will have a primary challenge from the left, and that locally, the Democratic race for the 63rd Senate District (Tim Kennedy, incumbent) is going to be especially fun, as will the Republican challenge to Mark Grisanti, as perennial party-switching candidate Rus Thompson clumsily attempts to manipulate the corrupt fusion system to try and oust the sane guy. 

But it’s not only electoral fusion that’s corrupt and awful, so is the petition process itself. It’s hypercomplicated and deliberately designed to be a minefield for the unwary. It’s not only time to abolish the electoral fusion system and shut down the Wilson Pakulas and backroom deals, but also to simplify the ballot access system to make it easier for candidates to run. The rules for petitioning should be simplified and written in plain English, and there should be an alternative whereby a candidate simply pays a fee (set on a sliding scale, depending on the scope of the office).  Hey, if the state needs another source of revenue, there you go. 

As it stands now, our petitioning process should rightly be named the Election Law Attorney Full Employment Act

As for SD-60, where Grisanti will possibly face off with Rus Thompson, here’s the entire campaign in a nutshell.  I don’t know about you, but I’d choose the calm, professional man in the suit over the wildman in a sweatshirt. 


“I Am Sickened By This”: Right Wing EmoCringe

13 Sep

Here is a perfect example of knee-jerk, fact-free, emotional, feeling-based hatred of Obama. There’s something sickening, alright, but it isn’t the supposed absence of “enough flags for Rus Thompson to not become physically ill”. 


The outrage grows: 

WHERE IS THE FLAG? Our correspondent is sickened!


Voice of reason criticizes getting “crazy”:

Forget the fact that Obama has a flag on his lapel, for God’s sake. There’s a flag embedded within the Presidential seal on the bug on the screen. The apparent optics of having a flag in the shot is so important to Rus Thompson that he says he becomes physically ill at its absence. This is, people, utter and sheer insanity. 

Diagnosis: Acute Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Prognosis: Poor.

RX: 10mg Chillaxa PRN

Tea NY: Tantrum Advocacy

29 Apr

Some people have facts and rational factual, legal arguments on their side, while others have volume and little else. 

On Friday afternoon, a western New York tea party group nominally led by Paladino chauffeur Rus Thompson, brought a contingent of about a dozen people to hold a protest outside the local office of State Senator Mark Grisanti. 

Grisanti is already on the tea party enemies list thanks to his vote in favor of marriage equality a few years ago. Now, the target on his back is bigger still thanks to his vote in favor of the NY SAFE act – the recent gun control legislation that has sent a lot of gun enthusiasts and right wingers into a fury. 

Before NY SAFE, New York already had among the most restrictive set of gun laws in the country. For instance, you’re not allowed to own a handgun unless you apply for – and receive – a permit to do so. New York followed the prior federal assault weapons ban, and NY SAFE strengthened it further.  Rifle magazines are never allowed to contain in excess of 7 rounds of ammunition. Semi-automatic rifles or shotguns with certain features (e.g., pistol grip, flash suppressor, bayonet lug, etc.) are banned, but if you owned one prior to the law’s passage, you  get to keep yours. A person’s weapons may be seized if there is probable cause to believe that the person is about to commit a crime or is mentally unstable. In New York State, the government has discretion in issuing pistol permits or conceal carry permits. In New York City, the rules are more restrictive than that. 

What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand? 

Well, the right of the people to bear arms is restricted, not infringed. It is up to the courts to determine whether a restriction is a 2nd Amendment infringement. Furthermore, each state’s laws differ on gun ownership and possession. Usually, conservatives cheer that sort of 10th Amendment state’s rights sort of thing, but perhaps that cheering is absent when the states choose policies with which the right does not agree. 

When Rus Thompson and his band of a dozen SAFE Act opponents protested outside Senator Grisanti’s Buffalo office on Friday, the Senator did something that doesn’t happen that often – he went outside to speak with them. It is amazing to see what happens next. As Senator Grisanti begins discussing whether the SAFE Act will be repealed (it won’t), Mr. Thompson begins screaming at him, quite palpably for the benefit of the cameras. One supposes that Mr. Thompson thought he was scoring points here – that the general population would see this a brave exercise of 1st Amendment rights – getting right in the face of an elected official. 

Unfortunately for Mr. Thompson, that’s not at all how it came across. The Senator calmly hands out a statement and engages, occasionally, in debate with Mr. Thompson.  By contrast, Mr. Thompson is having what can best be described as a temper tantrum. He is screaming wildly at the Senator who reacts calmly but, at times, firmly. It is all a show that Mr. Thompson stage-managed for himself to make the news. Here it is, and the video speaks for itself. 

The animus that the tea party has for Grisanti is longstanding and pointless. Grisanti’s district is made up mostly of Democrats, and Grisanti is a moderate Republican. The likelihood of an ultra right-wing candidate winning that district is remote. In the video, Grisanti says he came outside specifically to confront Thompson on something he wrote online about Grisanti getting in another Senator’s “face” over gun control.

 So, Grisanti supposedly “yelled” at Senator Marchione to “back off”. Here’s what she has to say about it, 

So, that’s a lie.  

There’s a poignant irony at the end of the tape, when the assembled sweatshirt wearers are left taunting Grisanti – a two-time winner of a contentious state Senate election – with “loser”. Yet Grisanti is the only one seen in the video who seems dressed for work, and has someplace to go. Check out how a few other people (casino fight guy excluded) seemed interested in genuinely speaking with the Senator about the issue, but Mr. Thompson drowned out their conversation with screamed non-sequiturs. One man, Rick Donovan, claimed to be an Independence Party representative and yelled at Grisanti about petitions and betrayal. Donovan manages a Facebook Page for the “Independence Party of America” that has a whopping 17 likes. He ran last year – unsuccessfully – as Republican and IP candidate for Assembly 141 (Crystal Peoples-Stokes). On his Facebook page, he deftly identifies the largest issue facing the 141st Assembly district – the wholly and exclusively federal matter of immigration. 

Enlightening stuff. 

So, what is going on here? Looks like there’s a political club operating in New York State that is soliciting donations. In a reflection of their utter failure and decline, of the four political committees registered with the state Board of Elections containing the word “tea” in their name, only one is still active – Mr. Thompson’s “TEA NY PAC“. The other three, Elma’s “Tea Party Coalition PAC“, the redundant “Tea Party Conservative PAC“, and the “Tea Party Taxpayers for Liberty” – all formed in reaction to President Obama’s election – have been defunct for at least two years. 

The address for the “Taxed Enough Already NY PAC” is on Grand Island, where Mr. Thompson lives. Perhaps a reflection of what a political powerhouse and game-changer it is, it has $548 on hand, according to its January campaign disclosure report. In 2010, a Steve Garvin from Derby contributed $15,000 to Thompson’s group. $14,980 of that went to pay for radio spots during the 2010 general election.

Garvin gave to Lenny Roberto in his 2010 run against Brian Higgins. His only other contribution on record is $100 to a town-level candidate

In 2011, Thompson’s wife contributed $100 to offset bank fees from Citizen’s Bank and to pay a late filing fee fine to the Board of Elections. There were no other contributions in 2011. $100 was again deposited in 2012 to avoid bank fees. 

In the July 2012 periodical report, almost $1,370 in unitemized contribution were reported, as were $700 in expenses. Since then, Tea NY has been operating off the remaining $800 or so. It spent absolutely zero money on anyone or anything during the 2012 primary and general election campaigns. It spent $166 in late 2012 for an event.

Hardly the way to influence elections or policy. 

So, when Thompson emails his list claiming poverty and that it’s “impossible” to “wage a proper offense without the proper resources,” why didn’t he raise money – or spend any – to “wage an offense” (or defense, for that matter), in the 2012 election? 

Maybe Mr. Thompson can wage his offense simply by screaming intemperately at calm and knowledgeable elected officials. That’s free. 


Paladino and Thompson Either Lied or Hacked

5 Mar

In Sunday’s Buffalo News, Bob McCarthy lazily transcribed tea party guy and Paladino henchman Rus Thompson thusly: 

[Rus] Thompson said the Paladino campaign engaged investigators to track the email trail.

“So we know where it came from,” he said.

I wrote about that here, yesterday. Paladino and Thompson both cite the release of the emails as being the last straw in the Higgins – Paladino relationship, because Paladino accuses Higgins of leaking them. Thompson tells McCarthy that they had proof via some “investigation”. 

But others who were involved in that campaign say there was no such “investigation”. 

Anyone with even minimal knowledge knows that you can’t “investigate” and “track” an outgoing email trail unless you have access to the recipient’s email. One can’t go into Paladino’s outbox and determine what the recipients of a particular email did with it. You can’t determine what any of the recipient’s recipients did with a particular email, etc. If Paladino felt it was embarrassing and caused “anguish” for his racist, pornographic emails to reach the general public, it was his responsibility to not share them. 

On the other hand, if Paladino and Thompson are alleging that an investigator really did learn who sent the email to me, the only way that could have happened is if they hacked into or otherwise illegally accessed my personal Gmail account – i.e., committed a crime. It’s lose:lose. Had Bob McCarthy verified the information his dopey source mouthshat at him, he could have factored that into the semi-informed, drool-moistened nonsense he wrote regarding a turning point in the relationship he was profiling.  

Here’s what McCarthy’s source had to say for himself when challenged yesterday

That’s pretty definitive and not open to interpretation. Rus KNOWS. 

Watch Rus take the “investigation” bike and start pedaling backwards: 


The timestamp is about 3 – 4 hours later than EST, and as of this morning there’s no reply to that. Why? Because there is no “investigation”. There was no fantastical “tracking” of what one of the people on Carl’s email list did with the emails once they received it. They can’t produce the name of the person who disclosed the emails to me, and they have absolutely no proof that Higgins or his staff provided me with the emails. 

When you let sources lie to you on the record, and you don’t reach out to other people involved to verify the information, you’re committing some pretty shoddy “journalism” there.

Rus Thompson is the Author of Inside WNY Politics

31 Aug

In this week’s printed edition of Artvoice, editor Geoff Kelly wrote

Hurrah for schoolyard politics: Paladino’s assault on Maziarz is recapitulated over at insidewnypolitics.com, a political gossip site that most believe to be anonymously authored by Tea Party activist Rus Thompson, who was Pladino’s driver during the developer’s gubernatorial campaign. The newest addition to the assault is a link to this site: maziarzhasfailed.com. The splash page for that site features a grinning picture of Maziarz withthe caption “Do You Know GEORGE?” with his name spelled in rainbow colors. The soundtrack is “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers; there are links to Log Capin Republican sites in the middle of the page; at the bottom of the page is a timer counting down 13 days, at press time, second by second, until “The Maziarz Closet Opens”—this time, “Maziarz” is spelled in rainbow colors. Presumably, the site intends to “out” Maziarz as gay two days before the September 13 primary.

Insidewnypolitics: it’s like Illuzzi without the right-leaning gossip. It’s like Gramigna without the left-leaning gossip. It’s “rumored” to be run by Rus Thompson, but he denies it and there’s no independent way to verify the rumor, right? 

Two reasons why it’s 100% written by Rus Thompson to promote whatever the Paladino/Palinist tea party agenda is on any given day: 

1. A few months ago, a source formerly close to the Paladino camp (and no, it wasn’t Michael Caputo) informed me that the site was written by Carl and Rus. There was a dead giveaway that came up shortly thereafter. There was Rus patting himself on the back for a post at his own blog, and then spelling the President’s name with a zero in place of the “O” in “Obama”, which is a favorite of Rus’.

Click to enlarge

2. Just this week, compare this entry at insidewnypolitics:

Click to enlarge

To this entry at Thompson’s Facebook page: 

If you’re going to operate an “anonymous” political hit website, you’re going to have to do a better job at being anonymous. In any event, I have all the confirmation I need to confirm that Rus Thompson operates insidewnypolitics as a mouthpiece for the Palinist wing of the tea party as spearheaded by Carl Paladino. 

Call Out the Goon Squad

31 Aug

Do you like or agree with George Maziarz? Maybe on some things, not on others. Do you think he should leave office? Possibly. 

Do you think it’s appropriate to insinuate that Maziarz is gay, referring to him as “Boy George“, or “Georgy Girl”, and threatening to “open the closet”, complete with a countdown clock? 

If you’re Carl Paladino or his trusted sidekick/beholden lapdog Rus Thompson, you think it’s hilariously appropriate

Don’t they have some anal horse porn to forward around or something? Goons.

Corwin Backlash, Davis Dodders, Bellavia Battles

23 Feb

Yesterday, tea party activist and hater of tolls Rus Thompson appeared on a radio program hosted by some mulleted, paranoid, Islamophobic, little person. There, Rus explained that he was disappointed that the Republican county chairs in NY-26 had rushed to select Jane Corwin, a solidly doctrinal Republican Assemblywoman, to run for that congressional seat.

Rus said good things about Batavian Iraq War veteran – and the Yin to Jon Powers’ Yang – David Bellavia, and Kathy from Williamsville, the Dr. Laura of uninformed jingoism.  When the noxious paranoiac radio host asked Rus whether he was familiar with Corwin’s policy positions, he replied that he wasn’t. He added that he hadn’t looked into them.

Afterwards, I asked this question on Facebook:

Rus Thompson is upset at the Republican chair’s selection of Jane Corwin because he doesn’t know where she stands on issues. Also, he hasn’t looked into them. WTF.

I tagged Rus in that, so it showed up on his wall, and he replied:

Assembly Member Jane L. Corwin refused to tell citizens where he/she stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

That is true – Corwin didn’t fill out the 2010 questionnaire. But…

So why not use the 2008 courage test? No one ran against Corwin in 2010, so why would she have bothered to complete a questionnaire? http://votesmart.org/npat.php?can_id=110467#18027

It’s interesting that the Democrats are split two or three different ways in WNY, and they openly bicker & fight over patronage jobs and benefits like rabid dogs all the time.  Yet when it comes time to coalesce behind a consensus candidate for high office like House or Senate, they set aside their petty little local differences and get it done.

The Republicans have traditionally been a unified lot, bickering and fighting over jobs and benefits largely behind the scenes while putting forth a unified front to the public. However, the tea party is completely satisfied to call out the party apparatus in public and split the party; on the one hand are those friendly to the apparatus who understand that winning elections is important, but so is handing out jobs and cutting deals. On the other hand is the tea party, which is, itself, split between the Palinists and the Paulists, and insists on having a seat that it hasn’t really earned at the party’s table.

You earn a seat at that table by doing more than just agitating – you have to do the grunt work that electoral politics demands, like petitioning, canvassing, stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, raising & donating money.  The tea party thinks it’s entitled to be an equal with Nick Langworthy because it gets media attention.  But the Palinist tea partiers are just conservative Republicans, nothing more.

In the meantime, tea party hero and serial emailer Carl Paladino has endorsed Jane Corwin’s candidacy:

I’m a proud member of the Tea Party movement in New York, and together we helped change the face of Congress in November. Jane Corwin will be another member in our movement to take our country back. As the 2nd most conservative member of the New York State Assembly in rankings by the New York State Conservative Party and the #1 Legislator of Unshackle Upstate, a New York reform organization, Jane knows we need to slash federal spending, balance the budget, end bailouts, oppose the Obama stimulus package and support repeal of Obamacare.

Not to be outdone, perennial candidate Leonard Roberto has also endorsed Corwin.  (I think we just got a strong hint as to where Roberto got that $50,000 he “personally” injected into his race just a week or so before election day).

It’s fun to watch the shenanigans.

Why go public and claim that Corwin was shoved down people’s throats as a nominee when you (1) aren’t part of the official selection process; (2) didn’t participate in the NY-26 race in 2008 or 2010; (3) haven’t articulated reasons why she’s unqualified or inappropriate; and (4) haven’t even investigated her positions on issues, and claim that they’re unavailable when they are, in fact, readily available?

Jack Davis is a $3 million man without a party.  He has successfully bullied and angered the Democrats and Republicans, because in Jack’s world, money talks, period. Hopefully the Democrats don’t return his undeserved calls, which leaves him with the option of hiring day laborers to gather petition signatures, most of which will be invalid.  The magic number is 3,500, and if Jack can hire a small army of people to get, say, 10,000 signatures, there’s a good chance he finds his way on the ballot. The problem with Davis is that his anti-immigrant, anti-trade xenophobia appeals not just to rightists, but also to many in labor, so it’s somewhat less predictable how his entry in the race might affect the outcome.

Politico is reporting that David Bellavia is “strongly considering” a race on either the Conservative Party line, or some other line. Bellavia was told in 2008 to step aside for Lee, as it wasn’t “his turn”, and he actively campaigned for Lee over the years, and organized veterans to do the same. Now, he believes it’s his turn, not Corwin’s, and he evidently feels betrayed that the party selected the well-funded Assemblywoman over him to run in this race.  National tea party consultants have injected themselves into the race and advocated for his run.  He released this statement (embed via Daily News):


In the meantime, the Democrats are biding their time, not rushing into anything for a race that hasn’t even been declared yet.  As of right now, the election to replace Chris Lee in NY-26 will take place in November 2012.

Rus Thompson for State Comptroller?

9 Jul

Yes, it’s really happening.  Let it sink in for a minute.

Rus Thompson has been affiliated with WNYMedia.net for five years.  We’ve hosted his blog, promoted his events, given him a platform (even though we disagree on nearly everything), promoted his ideas and been supportive of his efforts to get people active in politics and government.  In our assessment, he has always been an honest player and well-intentioned, even though we think he’s a bit misguided.  He’s run for State Assembly, Erie County Legislature and dabbled with the idea of a State Senate run (as a Democrat) and has failed to gain any traction.

Evidently, these successive failures have given him the confidence to run for New York State Comptroller (a job once held by Millard Fillmore) on the yet to be created “Angry Carl Paladino Fans” ballot line.

Local TEA Party organizer Rus Thompson is throwing his tri-cornered hat into the ring, running for state comptroller on a non-traditional ballot line.

Thompson, who urged Carl Paladino to run for Governor, is one of the candidates that Paladino hopes to place on his new Taxpayers ballot line when petitions circulate next week.

So, what does the Comptroller of New York State do?  Let’s check the job description.

  • Administering the New York State and Local Retirement System for public employees, with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries and more than 3,000 employers;
  • Acting as sole trustee of the $129 billion Common Retirement Fund, one of the largest institutional investors in the world;
  • Maintaining the State’s accounting system and administering the State’s $12.6 billion payroll;
  • Issuing reports on State finances;
  • Managing the State’s assets and issuing debt;
  • Reviewing State contracts and payments before they are issued;
  • Conducting audits of State agencies and public benefit corporations;
  • Overseeing the fiscal affairs of local governments, including New York City;
  • Overseeing the Justice Court Fund and the Oil Spill Fund
  • Acting as custodian of more than $9 billion in abandoned property and restoring unclaimed funds to their rightful owners

The Office of the State Comptroller also establishes regulations, issues publications, conducts training and proposes legislation to improve government operations at all levels. Headquartered in Albany, OSC employs a staff of more than 2600 people and maintains offices in New York City, as well as eight regional offices which audit and provide technical assistance to local governments throughout the State.

Aside from being generally pissed-off during his waking hours, Rus is a handyman/carpenter and is starting a new concrete business.  What qualifications he has to manage one of the largest pension systems in the world, I’m not certain.  I do know that simply yelling at the pension problem isn’t going to solve anything.

Coniglio: I’m Holding Back!

10 Jun

Not to be outdone by “don’t get between me and a camera Jim” Ostrowski, Allen “Obama is a seekrit muslin Manchooriyun Kandidayt” Coniglio weighs in on the tea party split.  Why only a tiny handful of people would want anything to do with him and any group with which he’s associated is a question for the ages.

The following was posted yesterday by Jim Ostrowski on his blog, Political Class Dismissed. This is essential reading for anyone who has been asking why the tea party movement has been split, who caused it, and why can’t they all just get along? I am going to post Jim’s entire statement because it is all essential to understanding the story, it is efficiently stated, and there are no wasted words. I will tell you that there is much more to this story and much that we have been holding back for the past several months. We will release those details when we are able to do so.

I would like to further add that the Tea Party Coalition and two of its members, Jim Ostrowski and me, have been under an unrelenting assault from forces allied to the political machines in Buffalo and Erie County. Not only has Rus Thompson, who for all intents and purposes is a representative and willing player for that machine, been actively involved in spreading lies and hatred toward and about us, but several of his allies from the far left wing of the democrat machine have done his bidding as well. For some reason, they seem to have become obsessed with me and waste no opportunity to take shots in my direction. I would like to thank them for that as they are proving what I have been saying all along, that the Tea Party Coalition is the last honest element in the Buffalo tea party movement. Remember, these people are friends with Rus Thompson, who has never, as far as I know, ever been attacked in any serious way by these writer/journalist wannabes who have no problem in repeating things that are fed to them by someone who has openly stated to the current Erie County Republican chairman, Nicholas Langworthy, that he is going to take Jim and me, “out at the knees”. He has been working on doing just that for the past several months.

There is a movement underway right now, engineered by Rus Thompson in collusion with the Republican Party and their chairman, Nick Langworthy, to take over the Buffalo tea party and turn it into a political machine with Thompson at the controls. Then, we would have a phony tea party which would be little more than an extension of the Republican machine, much like the Conservative party is to the Republicans and like the Working Families party is to the Democrats. The deal making has already taken place on a number of levels and on a number of occasions. If challenged by Rus Thompson or anyone else associated with his corrupt interests on any of what I have said here, I will then be forced to REVEAL EVERY SINGLE DETAIL OF ALL THE REST OF THIS SICKENING STORY. I will affirm that everything that I have said thus far and that I will say is absolutely true and I can prove it all, AND MUCH, MUCH MORE. I should hope that these people would be smart enough to understand that I am not kidding and I have had enough of their nonsense.

Because we refused to play along with them, they have set out to destroy us and they have worked at it as though it were a full time job. This is machine politics at its ugliest and after hearing this, if anyone should be so foolish as to believe another word that comes out of Rus Thompson’s mouth, or that of his little friend, Nick Langworthy, then shame on you. I can speak only for myself but I can assure you that I will NEVER play along with any of these corrupt people or any of their corrupt tactics and I would never betray the trust of the people who have been good enough to allow me into their lives and who have participated with me in making the tea party the greatest force for reform in our nation’s history. I have never been involved in politics in any serious way before this past year and I can now understand why decent people tend to stay away from it. It is a cutthroat and ruthless, rotten game where grown people who should know better, do things for which they should be ashamed. Most of them, however, are not ashamed, until they get exposed. I think, however, that some of the people involved in these things are truly shameless.

Shorter Allen Coniglio:

Jim and I wanted to create a different type of political machine.  We didn’t want to align ourselves with the existing machine, because it wouldn’t be pure enough, Jim tells me.

I think Coniglio should just stick to repeating fringe birther conspiracy theories.  This one is my favorite:

I have written several times of this exact thing, that obama and his boys would trump up some kind of event in order to declare martial law and suspend the constittution. Some have called me paranoid. One notorious liberal has called me crazy Most people think I just need to calm down. Glenn Beck recently did an interview with Newsmax and he referred to this possibility as the “Reichstag effect”, named for the burning of the German parliament building, the Reichstag, in 1933. Here it is from the Newsmax interview:

. . . his real worry is that many Washington elitists really don’t like our form of government and want to see it abolished.

“I fear a Reichstag moment,” he said, referring to the 1933 burning of Germany’s parliament building in Berlin that the Nazis blamed on communists and Hitler used as an excuse to suspend constitutional liberties and consolidate power.

“God forbid, another 9/11. Something that will turn this machine on, and power will be seized and voices will be silenced.”

It is my concern that something like this will happen in the US. I do not doubt for one minute that obama and his thugs are capable of such an action and I am more than certain that should he find it impossible to to rig the elctions in 2010 or 2012 to allow him to continue his policies or, if he finds himself on the verge of being exposed as a noncitizen, having been born in Kenya, that would be his cue. This man is a terrorist, a thug, an unscrupulous, classless human being. He will do whatever he believes he can get away with. He is not bound by any ethical or moral concerns as most people would be. Like Hitler, he will do anything to impose his will on the people of this country and ultimately, the world. Prepare yourselves. Do not abandon your efforts. Be eternally vigilant, as that is the price of freedom.


Like I said, Coniglio is the most unintentionally hilarious, deliberately ignorant local Obama-hating teabagger in town.  Good luck with that “coalition”, Jim.  Oh, and here’s a an actors’ recreation of Coniglio and Ostrowski at a donut shop:


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.