By Michael Boyajian
Azi Paybrah said recently that he was going to be interviewed about the Republican nominee for governor, Rick Lazio, but that he had no idea what to say about Lazio. That is just the problem when you think about it, what can you say about Lazio.
Lazio was something of a giant killer once having knocked off popular incumbent Tom Downey in a Long Island congressional race in 1992. But that was a very long time ago and the question is what have you done since that time? The answer may prove interesting.
Lazio ran against Hillary Clinton for the United State Senate in 2000. During a debate he jumped across the stage and treated Clinton in a demeaning manner that turned off voters and solidified support for Clinton among women. How bad was it? Well the next day in the Republican heartland of Delaware County almost every home had a Hillary lawn sign with only a few for Lazio. If you scratch dirt in Delaware County you come upon Republican bedrock but that didn’t help Lazio who lost by a huge margin that November.
Some attribute it to the fact that his campaign manager was an out of touch out of town McCain supporter who did not understand New York politics but to this day Lazio only offers a half hearted apology for his actions. After this Lazio embarks upon what can only be described as a lost decade for himself. He takes a job on Wall Street but that is not a very popular profession after the financial meltdown and the worst recession since the Great Depression considering that Wall Street was responsible for the crisis and Wall Street is viewed with contempt by Main Street.
He now appears as the Republican nominee for governor and the question is why did the state GOP choose him? Was it because he was a go to guy with no one else willing to take the field? That is hardly likely considering the number of GOP candidates for governor. Was he the best in the field? Well we're not sure but the other candidates might rightly question that claim.
Many suspect the reason he was chosen was solely because of his Italian heritage. Republicans hope this neutralizes Andrew Cuomo among Italian voters creating the atmosphere of a Roman style gladiator fight between the two. But Cuomo has had a successful track record as HUD secretary and as a very popular New York State Attorney General and leads in the polls. Cuomo has no lost decade or humiliating losses like Lazio’s to Hillary. So from this vantage point it would appear that Republicans had no hopes of winning the governor’s race and just went for the loyal party guy knowing full well that like most gladiators Lazio was being fed to the lions this November. And so that appears to be the sorry fate of I Lazio.