Tuesday, October 19, 2010


“Albany Governor Debate Verges on Farce”

So says the New York Times headline. The campaign to be governor of New York is an amusing one, looking a bit like a smaller (much, much smaller) version of the California craziness in 2003, when the Governator beat a cast of hundreds that included a porn star or two, and a bit like a British MP election, with a batch of silly, sometimes meaningless parties.

We had a televised debate last night, where the two serious candidates — current Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat, and right-wing idiot Carl Paladino, the Republican — were joined by a handful of Fruit Loops that included Kristin Davis (not the actress from Sex and the City, but the former prostitute/madam who participated in the downfall of our former governor, Eliot Spitzer; she’s running in her own Anti-Prohibition Party, and says she will legalize marijuana) and Jimmy McMillan, who has tried to become New York City’s mayor twice before through his self-styled The Rent Is Too Damn High Party.

To round it out were Charles Barron (self-created Democratic Freedom Party; former Black Panther and Brooklyn representative on the New York City Council — he also tried to be mayor in 2005, along with Mr McMillan), Howie Hawkins (Green Party; lost to Hillary Clinton for U.S. Senate in 2006), and Warren Redlich (Libertarian Party; he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Representative for his district, near Albany).

From all reports, it was not so much a debate as a comedic talk-show panel, where the panelists shouted over the questions and essentially ignored them, and turned it into something of a free-for-all. From the New York Times:

The moderators’ questions were frequently ignored. The candidates barely looked at one another. One wore black gloves and spoke of himself repeatedly in the third person. And Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic candidate and the race’s front-runner, at times struggled to suppress laughter.

And from the Wall Street Journal:

New Yorkers watching the seven candidates for governor debate on Monday night heard a former madam articulate a nuanced position on the merits of hydraulic fracturing. They listened to a former Black Panther and a Green Party activist call for massive tax hikes on the rich. And they learned that one candidate is so supportive of marriage equality, he’d let a person marry a shoe.

But for those searching for insights into the platforms of the two major candidates vying to lead a troubled state, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino, the first and perhaps last debate before the Nov. 2 election was lacking.

For most of the 90 minutes, the televised debate at Hofstra University on Long Island provoked more laughs and puzzlement than meaningful drama. And while it introduced voters to an obscure cast of characters from the periphery of local politics, it shed little new light on either of the two men who have more than a minuscule chance of winning the race.

I really don’t understand why the organizers of these things, which generally stopped resembling debates years ago, though they’re still called that, don’t exert some control over them. Maybe people have just gotten used to having everyone ignore questions and yell at each other on television now, and maybe that’s what some people want. Is it really what the majority of us want? Wouldn’t we rather see them forced to answer the questions that were asked or have their microphones turned off?

Well, amusing, sad, or silly though it may be, it matters little to me: I’ve already voted on an absentee ballot, because I’ll be travelling on election day. Figuring out whom I voted for is left as an exercise for the reader.


Brent said...

"Verges"??? I think it was way past "verges"...

Ray said...

Figuring out whom I voted for is left as an exercise for the reader.

Screaming Lord Sutch, perhaps?