Republican/Conservative gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino says he is “mad as hell” and will be the people’s champion. He pledges to take a baseball bat to Albany corruption. Paladino promises to take out the trash as well as reporters who cross him. He rages against the political machine, Albany corruption, politicians, immigrants, and media elites.
Mr. Paladino is a self-styled Howard Beale, the psychotic television news anchor, portrayed by Peter Finch, in the 1976 film, “Network.” Beale revolts against the misery afflicting working class life. Beale’s wild on-air outburst causes his network’s ratings to soar and earns him a new show as the “mad prophet” of the airways. Like Beale, Mr. Paladino’s angry message found an audience and last week it launched him past the milquetoast Rick Lazio.
I want to repeat one of my comments from earlier this week, "you could bet the house on it," Team Cuomo will not repeat the mistakes of Rick Lazio.
Lazio ignored. He didn’t engage Paladino. After all, Lazio thought, the public would see Paladino as out of touch, as a loose cannon forwarding racist emails about the President, somebody who might be a good businessman, but that’s about it. Well, say what you want. The world knows who won and who was sent packing with only the conservative line in his corner.
At least for the Governor Race, throw out those normal general election playbooks.
With Carl Paladino shocking the republican establishment with his outsider victory and tea party push, all bets are off.
Let’s start with Republican candidate for Governor Rick Lazio.
How could he not see the huge 200 mile an hour “momentum” train running over him and having a nice cushion landing at the footsteps of rival Carl Paladino.
Lazio tried to ignore Paladino, to run out the clock, a sort of “Rose Garden” strategy. However mistake number one, to use such a tactic, you should be well liked by the base, and let’s face it, support for Lazio with the Republican Party Faithful has been luke-warm at absolute best. Lazio’s strategy may still barely work, but not if you believe the latest poll. It is great news for Paladino, and horrible for Lazio.
Ten years ago, I was at the Buffalo Senate Debate where a relative unknown at the time, Suffolk County Congressman Rick Lazio walked across the stage and stuffed a campaign pledge in front of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But that move, perceived as bullying, locked his place in political history as an example of what not to do during a debate with a female candidate. Clinton's support among women voters was solidified. Lazio may now again be in a circular firing squad of one.