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Paladino. Really?

I don·t want to get all preachy again, but: Carl Paladino. Really?

Andrew Cuomo deserves to be challenged. He needs to be vetted, his policies should be contested line by line. But so far all Republican nominee Paladino has proven he can do is stir up hate and division. For the state·s sake, let·s hope Paladino finds something else to run on.

But it looks like that·s all he·s got.

A lot of Republicans got snowed on Tuesday night.

Paladino touts himself as an outsider who is ·mad as hell· and wants to hit Albany with a baseball bat. Punchy, punchy, Hulk smash!

Yes, Rick Lazio ran a terrible campaign and, yes, he obsessed over the mosque rather than painting a coherent, policy-driven platform. He deserved to lose big.

But why would Paladino, a multimillionaire whose business relies on state contracts, really want to shake up Albany? And why would voters want to elect someone whose income relies so heavily on the state? The man has 27 contracts worth a total of $85 million leasing office space to state agencies.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has rightly come under fire for not revealing the clients he represents or his stock portfolio; that ethical mire holds a plethora of potential conflicts of interest. But Paladino recently described Silver as ·a person who would fit the bill of an Antichrist or Hitler.· So why would anyone want to put Carl Paladino in charge?

Why?

Because, like Rupert Murdoch, Paladino is a master of division. Of manipulating classes.

Paladino·the richest guy in most of the rooms on his campaign trail·is promising to slash Medicaid by $20 million, stomp out illegal immigrants and send inner-city youths to closed prisons for ·training.·


Paladino would like you to think it is the poor and underprivileged who are draining the state·s coffers·not the complete fiscal mismanagement both parties have wrought for decades. And who wouldn·t want to be for stomping out the poor, letting them fend for themselves? No one wants to think of themselves as poor, right? So blame them. Blame the immigrants and the ·inner-city· kids, too.

The people Paladino is selling this line to are, most likely, not in Paladino·s situation. They don·t have safety nets built from wads of cash. If they lose their jobs, end up in the hospital, or blighted by some other misfortune, they will probably be looking to the state for assistance. It doesn·t mean they are bums or that they should be pushed out of New York. It means they are relying on the social tools created to assist people in need, so that one turn of fate does not leave them on the street. So that they can eventually resume a place as productive members of society·even as consumers who can assist the economy·s recovery.

Do people abuse these tools? Yes. But to suggest that social services are bankrupting the state is absurd. It amounts not only to class warfare, but to hate-mongering.

·We·re going to send out a message for the whole country: New York is no longer a haven for the poor and disenfranchised and illegals,· Paladino said at a campaign event in Troy earlier this month.

·Stay home. Stay where you are. Our budget will be to serve the people of New York, not strangers.·


People may relate to Paladino because he is not well-spoken; he puts on the aura of the angry average Joe. But Paladino is far from average. He is a man who can dump millions of his own dollars into his gubernatorial campaign. Can you do that? I know I can·t.

Is your net worth estimated at $150 million? Do you have the money and ability, as The New York Times reported Paladino does, to funnel money to state legislators on both sides of the aisles to grease the machine?

Would you have the audacity to claim you are an Albany outsider after being so thoroughly involved in Albany·s favorite money game?

When Paladino says he is ·mad as hell· at New York State government, do you think he is mad about your property taxes, mad that you might lose your job?

If you were caught sending racist, sexist, porn-filled e-mails, would you keep your job, let alone consider running for public office?

It worked out for Paladino because he has money to burn. And, in the end, what Paladino will bring to the race against Cuomo will be money and personality. Personality as in the racist, poor-bashing, immigrant-loathing character that Paladino has already displayed.

·David King


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