Republican Revolution II: Electric Bugaloo

Posted by – September 16, 2010

Terrifyingly far-right candidate Carl Paladino crushed state GOP-endorsed Rick Lazio Tuesday night and won the Republican nomination for Governor, meaning he will go head-to-head against Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo for Governor of New York in the November 2nd election.

Photo of Republican Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino at a podium

Paladino is known for his “controversial” bigoted comments and extremist stances on the issues.

Here’s a snippet of what CBS News’ Political Hotsheet had to say about Paladino’s primary victory:

Paladino’s victory over Rick Lazio doesn’t much change Republican prospects in the gubernatorial race, with Democrat Andrew Cuomo expected to cruise to an easy win. But it could prove a drag on Republicans in downballot races in the state and also embarrass the GOP establishment.

In April, Paladino acknowledged forwarding emails including images of bestiality and derogatory characterizations of President Obama, including one offering a video clip of African tribesmen dancing that characterized the video as “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal.”

The Tea-Party backed candidate reportedly sent an e-mail depicting a horse having sex with a woman and another that included a pornographic video and the headline “Miss France 2008 F[***]ing.” He also reportedly sent out an e-mail depicting President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as a pimp and prostitute and one showing an airplane landing near black men with the caption “Holy Sh*t. run ni**ers, run!”

Paladino also made headlines for saying last month, as the Associated Press reported, that “he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in ‘personal hygiene.'” The program, he said, would be voluntary.

He waded into the debate over the proposed Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero, going even further than many other Republicans by suggesting he would invoke eminent domain laws to block what he calls a symbol of “conquest.” He believes global warming is a “farce.” He has what one New York tabloid called a “10-year-old love child.” If the state budget is late, he promises to shut down the government. He defended a friend who called New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, an Orthodox Jew, “an Antichrist or a Hitler.”

In endorsing Lazio before the vote, the New York Times said that by nominating him the GOP “could avoid the national embarrassment of a Paladino candidacy.”

The state GOP tried to keep Paladino off the state ballot, but he got enough signatures to force his way on; he was then able to capitalize on voter anger against the Albany establishment to overtake Lazio, a mainstream figure who had been widely-expected to easily win the nomination (and then lose to Cuomo). Paladino’s victory looks like more bad news for a weakening Republican party in New York – and good news for Democrats who now have a potent symbol to feed their preferred narrative that Republicans are too far out of the mainstream for most Americans.
Excerpt from Carl Paladino’s Controversial Statements Could Embarrass Republicans – Political Hotsheet | CBS News

These email forwards are real; thanks to WNYmedia, a muckraking upstate blog, you can see all of the emails here, if you can stomach hardcore pornography (including one with bestiality), vile racism and the N-word.

These profane emails have garnered LOTS OF attention; you don’t want the governor of New York, who would be responsible for one of the most diverse, dynamic immigrant populations in the world, to be neck-deep in casual racism like this! Even Murdoch’s right-leaning NY Post came out against Paladino after WNYmedia exposed the emails, and Paladino’s extramarital affairs and 10 year-old love child surfaced (while Paladino attacked Governor Paterson‘s affairs as part of “Albany’s corruption”). Given conservatives’ penchant to angrily legislate publicly against the very behavior they continually engage in privately, you can expect Paladino to crackdown on pornography and other things if elected governor.

Unfortunately, the scandalous headlines have obscured even scarier facts about Paladino: his plans for New York. He wants the state budget slashed by 20% overall, even if he has to shut down the government to do it, he wants to axe the New York Power Authority, which would presumably transfer the NYPA‘s 4.2 million kilowatts of clean hydroelectricity to profit-hungry businesses, and he wants to put poor people into “voluntary” labor camps in converted prisons. Most disturbing is his proposed $20 billion cut to New York Medicaid, which would shrink state Medicaid/DOH by 30%, and would be inconceivably devastating for those of us with severe disabilities who rely on in-home care to stay alive and in the home.

Via the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

Aside from consolidating government, Paladino said he would drive down Medicaid costs by $20 billion, which would reduce expenses for counties. The entire cost of the program is $52 billion, of which half is paid by the federal government and the rest divided between the state and the counties. Paladino said he would “slash” Medicaid and social welfare benefits, and require applicants to produce identification and be fingerprinted and drug-tested.

If we have the needed services and supports, we stay in our homes with our loved ones, producing value in our communities, paying sales taxes, property taxes, etc. But if those services are yanked out from under us, we end up in insanely expensive nursing facilities, or worse, dead. Conservatives are typically penny smart and pound foolish on this issue, and merely two years ago it was unimaginable that the hard-right agenda would have this level of prominence and influence.

Republican Revolution (1994), which Rick Lazio was a foot soldier for in Congress, and wanted budget cuts, elimination of welfare, law and order and anti-union laws, is no longer conservative enough for Republican voters. You have to hate much more to be a real conservative. This is like one of Robespierre’s purges of earlier revolutionaries; it’s not enough to support the revolution and oppose the enemy, you have to show a frenzied enthusiasm for every facet of the revolution and consistently revile the enemy publicly, or face the guillotine. Paladino painted Lazio as a “liberal Republican” throughout the primary, an INSANE claim, and won because a huge plurality actually believes this. Rick Lazio must feel like his head’s rolling down the palace rug right now, poor bastard. Republican Revolution of ’94 wasn’t enough; now, foaming ultra-conservatives demand Republican Revolution II!

It seems the entire country has lurched to the right; America is being driven insane by economic anxieties and the drastic changes in so many things (the economy, technology, politics and society). All the changes have triggered a huge reactionary push-back, but, even more, a tectonic shift that makes the nuttiest elements in politics more powerful than even four years ago under the Bush Administration. For such an extremist candidate to win the GOP nod, even in New York, with its proud tradition of moderate/liberal Republican governors and senators, for the right-wing nuts to conquer the home of the old Rockefeller Republicans, you know that politics has shifted DRAMATICALLY.

The right-wing nuts are more powerful now than four years ago, even though with Obama (hope and change!) the exact inverse was supposed to be the case. Support for the First Amendment is shockingly low, and support for discrimination is shockingly high–just look at the support for a nationwide ban on mosques, espoused by former Speaker Gingrich. Why has politics slid so easily to the far-right?? WHY IS THIS? what happened?!

My theory for what happened is basically: it’s Democrats’ fault! Even amidst soaring, Bobby Kennedy-esque optimistic rhetoric, Democrats delivered the same crappy, tepid leadership and status quo, making lies out of “yes we can.”
Obama isn’t up for election on November 2nd, and that makes it BAD for Democrats’ chances, because none of the people running have Obama’s rhetorical gifts, and most of what’s left for voters is the Democrats with long records being corrupt and craven and ineffectual and impotent, the Democrats suck at campaigning and suck even more at governing, Like Charlie Rangel, along with the rest of the leadership (Pelosi, Reid, etc.) who are deeply corrupt. They gave up 3/4 of progressive aims on the health care bill, in exchange for campaign bribetributions. We ended up with a love letter to the health insurance industry, one of the most evil industries in the world (I believe that one day there will be a memorial for all the victims of this industry). The vast majority of the health care bill’s crazy $1 TTTTTTrillion price tag is subsidies to the health insurance industry, a sector that is already bloated, inefficient, and unethical. When you subsidize something, you’ll inevitably get more of it; in this case we’re subsidizing EVIL. If there were any justice, the health insurance cartels would be broken up via antitrust actions (like what happened to Ma Bell), rather than maintaining stable monopolies in each state. But wait, the health insurance industry is specifically exempted from antitrust law, and the Democrats chose to leave it that way!
Those who were suspicious of the health reform effort had their suspicions confirmed, and then some; the health reform bill truly does increase the power of health insurance companies over our lives. Democrats could have done health care reform the right way, guided by their better angels, and be heralded as heroes in this election; instead, they used Massachusetts’ fascist RomneyCare as their model and refused to adopt and build on proposals from a more classical liberal view, like Sen. Ron Wyden’s plan. Democrats were on their worst possible behavior, showing the whole world how craven and corrupt they can be. That means Democrats’ credibility is shot. Thus we have no real counter to the unAmerican monsters dominating the Right (when internment camps for Muslims and nationwide bans on mosque construction become mainstream in your party because no one will “refudiate” such extremism, you are officially monstrous). The Democratic party doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to fight back; hell, they cowered instead of force a vote on health care for 9/11 rescue workers!

We liberals now have no choice but to abandon the binary, up/down, Democrat/Republican, black/white, thinking that leads us to act as if we only elect more Democrats, everything would be peachy. We know that a progressive agenda is desperately needed in this country, but go wrong in assuming that the Democratic party will always pursue those goals. We need to primary the hell out of a lot of seats until we can purge the corruption and get some actually good candidates elected.

Meanwhile, we’re boned. We’re going to see a repeat of what happened to the Democrats in the ’94 elections, that ushered in the “Republican Revolution” (Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Tom DeLay & company). At that time, the Democrats had caved to their corporate masters as well, and liberal voters were dispirited, while conservative voters were in a frenzy. The same thing is coming to you live on Nov. 2nd. But, of course, Republican Revolution II: Electric Bugaloo is looking much scarier–they’ve gone all Jacobin; it’s dogmatic purity or the electoral guillotine.

some of the players in Republican Revolution II: Congressman John Boehner, media wanker Tucker Carlson, and dark queen Sarah Palin

Once Republican Revolution II starts, John Boehner will likely win Speaker of the House

Republican congressmen are already openly tweeting about what they want to do, an extended government shutdown (like Gingrich did). With the economy already tanking, a disruption in government services could trigger a disaster. But I’m even more concerned about fundamental shifts in American values, social services, and escalating confrontation with the Islamic world.

I don’t feel like I am living in “the age of Obama,” already I feel like I am living in the age of Glenn Beck.