Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The candidates for governor of New York debated last night -- all seven of them, including Kristin Davis, the ex-madam and plastic surgery disaster who was brought into the race by GOP provocateur Roger Stone, and Jimmy McMillan of the Rent Is 2 Damn High Party, who was described by a New York Daily News writer as "a guy wearing black gloves and a Hogwarts beard who kept saying, 'Rent is too damn high' in answer to every question," and who's widely believed to have stolen the show.

In addition, you had a Libertarian and a Green and an ex-Black Panther from the Freedom Party, all of them offering proposals well outside the usual Overton window.

Now, if you're Carl Paladino, and you're in this debate, what does it mean? It means you don't look like the brash, iconoclastic maverick who can shake up Albany. Here's what it means, according to NPR reporter Robert Smith:

You see, Carl Paladino is famous for his outbursts of anger. He recently threatened a reporter. But on this night, surrounded by the swirl of nuttiness, Paladino looked like just another businessman from Buffalo.

Yup -- especially when all those fringe candidates attacked Cuomo and Paladino as two establishment peas in a pod.

Oh, and it didn't help that Paladino couldn't get through most of his answers in the (clearly announced) time limits.

So why on earth did Paladino agree to a debate format like this, one that allowed him to get lost in the freak show? Well, as the Daily News reported a few weeks ago, it's because this was his secret plan:

Cuomo believes Paladino wants to open the debate up to minor-party candidates, including former Black Panther Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), who is a city councilman, and former madam Kristin Davis, who is linked to the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal and is being handled by Paladino adviser Roger Stone.

It was suspected Barron and Davis would take aim at the front-running Democrat in an open debate, insiders said.

And, in fact, a few weeks ago, when Paladino delivered a surprise 3-minute address on Buffalo TV, he said to Cuomo:

Andrew: stop the political posturing and Albany games -- come out and debate all the candidates.

Why do you want to exclude the only African American candidate and the only woman candidate and the Green Party candidate -- I just don't understand?

Come out and debate like a man.

So his brilliant idea was the very debate format that ruined any chance he might have had to shine against Cuomo. What a genius.


BONUS: Here, via Gawker, is Jimmy McMillan's theme song for the Rent Is 2 Damn High Party:

Crying Out Loud by maxread

Or, actually, it's one version -- another, more Gil Scott-Heron-ish version plays when you go the party's blindingly ugly site.

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