Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Unmitigated Horror from Buffalo

Reactions to the New York primaries from Peter Eisenstadt
So after a century, we have moved from a form of voting in New York State where you only had to do one thing—go into a booth and pull some levers—to one where you have to do two things, fill out a form, and then feed it into a computer—and the possibility of making a mistake in voting has greatly increased, since now it is far easier to vote for two candidates for the same office. I would hate to see what happens in a crowded polling place in November. I suppose this is progress. But the other story of the day is Carl Paladino trouncing Rick Lazio for the Republican nomination for governor.

Paladino is a Buffalonian, and though I live just an hour away in Rochester, I never heard of him until he decided to run against Lazio. He is an unmitigated horror, a vile racist who had the most extreme take of any NYS politician on the Lower Manhattan Muslim Cultural Center, and a candidate of undisguised white rage who offers nothing but his anger against Albany, and NYC, a walking collection of biases and prejudices.

Democrats are happy that the Tea Party surge is moving the Republicans further rightwards, supposedly leaving that ever-elusive vital center up for grabs. Perhaps, but my big fear that whether by winning elections directly or scaring the moderates, the Tea Party will just push the debate further rightwards. What is most upsetting about the Tea Party and people like Paladino they have energized is that the lesson they have taken from the past decade is that the Republican Party has not been conservative enough, that white people have to regain their rights from an America run by immigrants and minorities

I suppose Andrew Cuomo will still win easily, but he is not terribly exciting. There is much to be done, and the hour is late. Democrats and democracy in New York State are still recovering from the downfall of Elliot Spitzer, and four lost years of governance. Whatever happens, I fear our state will be far worse off for having to listen to Paladino’s frothings and foamings for the next two months.

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