Carl Paladino, The Anti-Politician

     Carl P. Paladino should win the NY governor’s seat if citizens really do want outsiders who aren’t politicians. The GOP/Conservative/Taxpayer candidate utterly disdains the make friends but not enemies approach. He views Albany as Versailles full of what he calls “the ruling elite” He describes his reform proposals as a “baseball bat” If you hang around with politicians you quickly learn that they have completely bought Machiavelli’s advice to never make waves, leave that to others who can be sacrificed when convenient.

     Paladino however is a change agent without apology. His campaign style mirrors his lawn-sign slogan: Mad As Hell. Elect me, he assures fed-up voters, and then let me “take out the trash” The Buffalo real estate multi-millionaire pledges to reduce the state income tax by 10 percent during the first six months and reduce spending by 20 per cent his first year in office. NY’s Medicaid budget is ten per cent of the fifty-state total and Paladino wants to cut it $20 billion.

     The NY Times describes these ideas as “clownish” The downstate media routinely call Paladino and his ideas “crazy” and “wacko” His Democrat opponent Andrew Cuomo warns that Paladino is an extremist, an example of Tea Party thinking that has no place in the enlightened Empire State.

     Cuomo’s platform is contained in a 250 page document called “The New NY Agenda: A Plan For Action”, a title of perhaps unintended irony. Cuomo wants to cut too but his cuts leave vast wiggle room. He promises to cut 20 per cent of state agencies and commissions, but never mentions if the folks employed by them would be cashiered. He points to the more than 10 thousand local government entities and argues that a Cuomo administration would seek consolidation.

     One promise Cuomo will surely keep involves more state partnerships to create jobs.  So even while shuttering some agencies he will create new ones. Cuomo is also endorsed by the Working Families Party founded by labor unions, ACORN and other community organizations in 1998. The Cuomo campaign notes that the WFP had to sign on to his New New York agenda before he would accept their endorsement.  The WFP website however provides ample evidence that the party wants more state largess.

     Cuomo, son of former NY governor Mario Cuomo and currently the state’s Attorney General is very much the pro pol. He presents as a benevolent, intelligent, experienced, thoughtful, moderate, trust-worthy man of the people. His well modulated voice is that of a therapist. Paladino is every bit the man from my hometown of Buffalo. He has the nasal honk, the friendliness, civic pride and love of family and friends that distingush working-class western New Yorkers. His net worth is estimated at $150 million but he is as down to earth as an assembly line worker at the Ford Stamping plant along Lake Erie.

     None of this is a facade. His charm is genuine. But he is a for real very wealthy man. He is a confident man. He is a serious man. He is in his own word “unintimidatable”  I think he is also electable. It’s anecdotal but on primary day I felt my fellow voter’s deep disgust with business as usual and deep desire for change. The pollmeisters better adjust their samples to account for the turnout Paladino will generate come Nov 2.