Paladino: Clean up the Republican Party First
Many years ago William Ernest Henley, in the poem Invictus, wrote that we are the masters of our fate, the captains of our souls. Republicans must heed that wisdom today.
The Cuomo SAFE Act infringement “big mistake” has given Republicans an enormous opportunity to capture and use the wave of outrage it has evoked to end the Albany establishment’s predatory era of fiscal irresponsibility, economic decay, malaise and dysfunction.
Loyal Republican legislators have risked their political careers to promote honesty in government and protect our constitutional rights. Nevertheless, to maintain what’s left of the family fabric, foster a growth economy and give citizens hope for the future, the Republican Party must restructure now. Rank and file (Real Republicans) need leaders to disengage the Republican In Name Only (RINO) old guard and re-define the Party’s values to engage the Party as a viable participant in the 2014 statewide and Legislative elections. If not, Republicans will lose those races and if that is the future, the Conservative Party should move up to line 2 and become the opposition.
Real Republicans, disillusioned and unable to identify with their Party, believe their vote is meaningless. Many no longer vote nor do they encourage the registration of their families and friends. They can’t define what it means to be a Republican, or for what the Party stands when Republican legislative leaders give democrats the votes to pass their entire liberal agenda.
Ed Cox, Republican State Chair, with little or no help from Republican legislative or county leaders, is all alone advocating Republican values and the removal of Sheldon Silver. Showing little respect for the Party, only five legislators and five County Chairs attended the State Committee annual dinner this year.
RINO legislators publicly promote a defensive, conciliatory posture against the ruling liberal movement, cloaking their complicity in Albany’s corrupt feeding frenzy and protecting the status quo and lack of adversity saying it is what it is and they can’t change it. As poster children for term limits, they are products of conditioning over time and an electorate devoid of self esteem which sets a very low bar.
RINO legislative leaders like Dean Skelos, Tom Libous and George Maziarz, the Senate Republican leadership, and Assembly minority leader Brian Kolb represent everything that is wrong in Albany. They fail in their primary responsibility to lead an opposition. On their watch, the Republican-controlled Senate has disappeared.
In 2011-12 Skelos had one of the three votes it took to do anything in Albany. Instead of using that power to effectively advance Republican values, his hallmark was spineless appeasement. He made England’s Chamberlain look like a choirboy saying he had no cards to play and if he didn’t follow Cuomo’s lead, Republicans would lose the Senate. He not only lost the Senate majority but did nothing to build the party or promote a platform. He gave Cuomo every opportunity to pound his chest and declare himself the “most progressive governor “in the most progressive State” in America.
Skelos, Libous and Maziarz kept deniability and voted against the gay marriage bill but promised payoffs to four Republican Senators, including Mark (always for sale) Grisanti, to vote for it. They also let Cuomo tell the public he solved a non–existent $10 billion budget deficit; pass pension reform which reformed nothing (he could have converted exempt, non-union State employee pensions to defined contribution); have a $2.5 billion tax increase which they called tax reform; and pass the SAFE Act, which Cuomo now says he didn’t read because it was drafted by Bloomberg people. Skelos could have required a referendum but instead allowed a Message of Necessity (on Cuomo’s farcical plea for urgency), denying legislators and the public an opportunity to read and comment on the bill.
If Skelos had provided a real opposition government in 2011 and advanced Real Republican values using his Senate trump card as Warren Anderson and Joe Bruno did so effectively, vital issues would have been aired, the upstate economy would have a pulse, Republicans would have increased their majority in 2012, and Jeff Klein and Company would be irrelevant.
Upstate RINO Senators who voted against the SAFE Act only did what they were supposed to do. If they weren’t brain dead and had courage, they would have denied Skelos another term. They take turns at who takes the heat and who walks on the issue of the day, happy so long as their favorite lobbyists and lawyers get the big retainers. It’s called the Albany 2 Step. Why do we need RINOs if they vote like democrats anyway?
Sen. Martins promised loyalty to Conservative Society for Action members who secured his election, but later changed his tune when Skelos promised him money from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee to get re-elected.
When their ranks thin to the point that they become inconsequential and the money is gone, the parasitic RINOs will drift off, leaving a decimated Republican Party and New York as a one party state. We allowed them to become who they are and unfortunately they define our party today. Eight of nine Republican Senators from Long Island actually followed Skelos over the cliff to vote for the SAFE Act.
RINO County Chairs like Jay LaValle (the self- absorbed Suffolk County opportunist), Vince Reda (the Rockland County shoplifter), Bill DeProspo (Orange County’s Pistol-cam man,) Jay Saville (the indicted Bronx County Chair who doesn’t even live there), Gordon Brown (Wyoming County’s windmill boy), Joseph Mondello, (Dean Skelos’ muscle) must also be replaced.
At the behest of the treacherous lobbyist Al D’Amato, tied at the hip to Kirsten Gillibrand, the RINOs at last year’s convention not only denied Wendy Long a second vote opportunity to win the party’s endorsement forcing a primary, but, after she won the primary handily, they abandoned her in her effort to show America that New York also has competent people to represent them in the Senate. They will do it again if we allow them.
Real Republicans expect responsible leadership, vetting and endorsing based on merit, track record, character and ability. Career legislators, clueless of the responsibility of public service and seeking only job preservation, mail fluffy, political newsletters bragging about the few breadcrumbs that their leaders let them take home to pacify the masses. They tell us that Sheldon Silver will retaliate if they get out of line, which only defines their lack of spine and inability to command respect. With benchmarks and performance reviews, County committees must cut the charlatans loose and/or primary them. Janet Duprey is a Republican who consistently votes and acts like a democrat, but gets endorsed.
To amend a bill, Kolb requires the unanimous consent of his 43 member caucus. How further up Silver’s skirt can he get? He never uses his bully pulpit to advance or advocate a Republican agenda, or for that matter, any opposition. He tried to keep the Republican Assembly in a committee meeting while the 2nd Amendment rally, the largest in Albany’s history, was taking place outside. When Silver was on the ropes for misuse of public funds and there were calls for his resignation, Kolb instructed his caucus to say nothing bad about Silver and if asked by the press, just say that you didn’t vote for him.
Kolb is complicit with Silver because Kolb made a personal mistake and is too ashamed to own up to it. His caucus knows he is conflicted. Last year he let Silver redistrict to destroy the RINO Assemblyman Dan Burling who had dared to make an advance to Silver’s girlfriend. In return, Silver signed off for Kolb to redistrict Claudia Tenney, who was too Republican for Kolb who financed her opposition. Unfortunately for them, Burling was replaced by a Real Republican (David DiPietro) and Tenney won handily. Kolb is still the minority leader because most Assembly Republicans are weak and pathetic losers.
Kolb and Skelos don’t respect public service, seek no legacy and feel no sense of responsibility to the Real Republicans who elect them. They refuse to create a cohesive and viable plan to help rebuild and restore the Party’s identity and values nor do they advocate legislation to upset the status quo and be competitive in 2014.
Without Republican opposition, Albany’s carefree culture breeds criminality in the likes of democrats Sheldon Silver, Pedro Espada, John Sampson, Karl Kreuger, Vito Lopez, Malcom Smith, Eric Stevenson and Nelson Castro.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “How many more pending bills were born of bribery and worse how many past bills were born of bribery?” and “Political corruption in New York is indeed rampant and the show me the money culture in Albany is alive and well. . .When it is more likely for a New York State legislator to be arrested. . .than to be defeated at the polls, they (the people) should be angry.” Eric Stevenson even boasted “lots of other Albany politicians are on the take.”
Legislators are not public servants, but rather politicians who have little or nothing to say about what happens in Albany. They are too intimidated to speak up or demand transparency, don’t tell the secret back stories and games that Silver and Skelos play nor do they connect the dots for the public to raise awareness and demand that prosecutors prosecute the likes of Silver for using a taxpayer slush fund to pay to cover up sex abuse by a member of his Assembly caucus.
A good public servant would put his or her political career on the line every day to do the right thing. Our legislators allow Messages of Necessity and don’t read bills that they vote on, nor would many of them comprehend what they are reading anyway. They just do what the “three men in a room” tell them to do and we keep electing them to give us more of nothing.
At least Cuomo and Silver wear their stripes on their sleeves. We know the slithery methods, spin, illusion and theater they use to deny transparency and access to further the Albany establishment’s ability to eat at the public trough. They do it because their accepting, uninformed and complacent legislators allow it. The days when certain vital issues would rise above politics are gone.
Silver, wrote the book on Albany’s bribery, extortion and misuse of taxpayer funds. He uses spin effectively, like his proposal to invite illegal immigrants to New York to let our taxpayers pay for their education.
Other states found ways to regulate and safely allow fracking which would energize the deplorable economy of upstate New York and reverse the loss of residents and businesses. Without viable legislative argument this critical economic issue is actually being held hostage solely by the vanity, arrogance, fantasy and ego of an out of control tyrant who wants to get re-elected in 2014 and be President in 2016. Nine million people in upstate New York are made to accept and suffer economic paralyses at the whim of one man.
It’s as much about what our legislators don’t do as it is about what they do badly. They avoid vital issues. They will act out huge concern for a particular issue but then give us the same lame excuse that Silver or Skelos (taking turns being the bad guy) won’t let the bill go because it needs more work (meaning they were paid handsomely by lobbyists to hold it up.)
The press, conditioned to the Albany 2 Step is dumbed down, immature and terribly inexperienced in their assignment, incapable of exposing the Albany 2 Step or effectively exciting the public to revolt against the status quo. They were educated and conditioned by liberals to think that the status quo is what government in New York is supposed to look like. When they catch office holders lying, stealing and cheating, it’s a one day story. They go right back and publish the next scheming press release of the perpetrator as fact. They believe that this is as good as it gets and that the only source of news is what the tyrants publish to them. Liberal and lazy publishers and editors enjoy the status quo which allows them access. If a reporter says something negative about Cuomo or Silver, who loath criticism and transparency, he or she will be punished. For the Albany press, access is more important than truth.
Without opposition or transparency, Cuomo operates with absolute impunity, dictating, taxing, regulating and smothering the every day lives and futures of New Yorkers and their descendants. The public feels defeated and powerless. The only option, for those who can, is to flee to a freer society. It shouldn’t be that way. Government should be of, by and for the people. Strong and benevolent private sector leadership could have prevented the hijacking of State government over the years.
This year’s tax and spend budget was deliberated with absolutely no transparency, public input or discussion. When it did pass, the press couldn’t tell anyone what was in it but instead told us that we should be very proud that it was on time. That’s all we heard for a week. The budget was on time. Wonderful.
Last year, at the end of the legislative session, Cuomo, Silver and Skelos just proclaimed that everything there was to do was done and they went home. This year, they gave us a distraction to get the Legislature to the end of the session without addressing vital issues. They advanced a “red herring” bill, to try to restore Skelos’ credibility, proposing to sanction late term and partial birth abortions (sticking an ice pick in the skull of a late term baby.) It was all playacting, theater and spin.
Proposing highly charged, against the grain, legislation diverts attention from the issues vital to New Yorkers. Tort, malpractice, and scaffold law reform would save New Yorkers billions in insurance premiums. Rescission of the Wick’s Law would allow taxpayers to stop suffering 50% premiums over private sector costs for construction. Stopping the treatment of public employees as “special” citizens by making the Taylor Law and Triborough Amendment applicable to only public safety employees would save billions. Making pensions for exempt public employees “defined contribution” rather than “defined benefit” would permit dramatic tax cuts.
Senate and Assembly Campaign Finance accounts receive massive funding from the 4,000 plus registered lobbyists like D’Amato and Pat Lynch to ensure that certain vital issues never reach the floor for a vote. The money in turn protects the incumbency of legislators who dance the Albany 2 step.
Albany skates on corruption because political and lazy Federal and State prosecutors in Albany look the other way and are not disposed to prosecute. Preet Bharara is the exception– relentlessly pursuing the self-absorbed, greed-driven political power brokers who have hijacked New York State government.
With the SAFE Act, the delusional tyrant Cuomo exposed Albany’s underbelly, awoke the masses and ended his political career. He tried to use the emotional trauma of the Connecticut tragedy to advance his career and satisfy his insatiable appetite for power. Cuomo was always the most liberal governor in America fooling only the press and the uninformed who seek only free cellphones and ice cream.
It’s never been about guns, infringement or the 2nd Amendment. It is about the power of one man who now hears the thunder of the grass roots electorate coming to take him down. The press is abandoning him and Silver has his own problems and can’t defend the flanks. He will become more desperate and make more mistakes as time goes on.
In an attempt to spin away from his SAFE Act debacle and prepare for his re-election, Cuomo made two horrendous deals with the Indians that he tried to characterize as “wins” for the taxpayers when in fact they were giveaways of taxpayer monies.
A month after the Onieda’s threw a huge party to honor his father Mario, Cuomo settled with the Onieda’s. He had allowed them to operate their casino, raking in billions, for over ten years after it had been declared illegal by the Court of Appeals. He intimidated and threatened the legislatures of Onieda and Madison counties to approve the deal. Then, contrary to the advise of his own attorneys, he gave the Senecas $200 million of taxpayer money to settle their illicit claims.
The “Producers,” paralyzed and unable to deal with the broken promises of the Albany establishment, upon which they stayed and built their dreams, demand honest leadership with committed values and an end of the political era of tyranny, hypocrisy, illusion and deception. They no longer want to apologize for downstate wealthy limousine liberal elitists who want the taxpayers to assuage their guilt, By making New York State a welfare nightmare.
The Republican Party at every level is in chaotic disarray without direction or identity. It will be incapable of effectively challenging the liberals until its values are first re-defined and it is re-structured as the party of all working taxpayers, including the trade unions, with real values, real families and real lives — people who want their children and future generations to have the opportunity to achieve and prosper in New York.
The reorganization of the Republican Party must begin now to prepare for the 2014 elections.
Legislative leadership must be replaced by Real Republicans and the Republican Convention in September must adopt a platform of practical and moderate 21st century values along with necessary rule changes, including one giving the State Party Chair the right to remove RINO county chairs.