For some people, the rent may still be too damn high, but for Carl Paladino and his campaign, the gubernatorial debate was a wash. Jimmy McMillan became the face of New York gone wild, and the only thing that the press wanted to talk about. (What? After that event did you really think everyone would suddenly start obsessing over pension guarantees?) Once again, a New York Republican was left grasping at straws. But, at least this time, he wasn’t also the butt of all the jokes.
The potency of strange third parties are usually not in dispute — a mix a political expectations and savvy leadership can go a long way, as the experience of the Working Families Party in New York has shown. Unfortunately for Republicans, the WFP does not provide a good example of what to with do an extremely embarrassing candidate, with serious baggage, who can’t win and threatens to bring down the rest of the party’s chances. With Paladino, the hope now is that people won’t care.
It’s created a strange situation where Paladino keeps on going after Cuomo, with full vigor, as the press cares less and less. We know what’s he’s do so far. As one Buffalo resident put it to the Times, “then he’s making gay slurs, he’s threatening to beat up that guy on camera, and people see all that. You don’t want a mobster as governor.” It’s not easy for a candidate to straddle the line of respectability so clearly, especially while making accusations about how the other guy spends his money and Paladino hasn’t been able to do it. Nan Hayworth, the retired ophthalmologist running for a seat in the northern suburbs of New York as a Tea partier, has had to play hide and go-seek with Paladino’s support — the voters may be mad as hell, but they’ve also realized that a man angrier than them might not be the safest choice for the state. While Hayworth plays coy about Paladino, she has been able to rack up support from a more powerful place: The future Speaker of the House. Next week, Rep. John Boehner, the Republican minority leader will be coming to town to raise money for Hayworth. Even if someone’s ashamed by Paladino, it’s not a problem so big that a few Republican donors can’t fix.