Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Sunday, October 03, 2010 :::

A couple of the states that most interest me have had interesting recent developments in their gubernatorial races.

Massachusetts has had, sort of, a three-way race. The Republican and Democrat have been leading the polls, and they and the state treasurer (Tim Cahill, but not the soccer player) don't complete the ballot, but Cahill has been considered a serious non-party candidate, though he has been falling in the polls and it has been increasingly clear to everybody that he is not going to be the next Governor. When I say "everybody", I'm not including him - he's still a nobody - but, as of a few days ago, "everybody" does include his running mate, who has endorsed the Republican (this running mate had previously been a Republican member of the legislature; Cahill was elected to his current position as a Democrat). I'm not sure whether the ballot is fixed; if it isn't, and the candidate for louie gov pulls out, I would think the candidate for governor would be knocked off as well, and Cahill doesn't seem to think he's going anywhere.

Moving west, New York has an unusual set-up called fusion voting in which multiple recognized parties may back the same candidate; the candidate is then listed once for each party, but all votes for the candidate count for the candidate - the candidate is not competing against himself. The Conservative Party gets the 50,000 votes it needs in each gubernatorial election either by nominating the only Conservative or by backing the Republican, but the Republican primary winner this year (Carl Paladino) is actually more conservative than the Conservative primary winner, who was expected to win the Republican primary. This causes trouble for both the Republicans (who would rather have one Republican on the ballot than two) and the Conservatives (who might not get 50,000 votes if the Republican is solidly conservative, even if not indisputably mentally stable, and their carriage is hitched to a different horse).

It turns out, though, that for a two-week period after New York's primary elections, the general election ballot isn't set in stone. For one thing, a party committee can still nominate someone for an office if that party doesn't have a nominee for that office. This can either happen because nobody won the primary or because someone who did win the primary then withdrew from the ballot. But a nominee can't simply elect to withdraw; he (or she) is only unnominated if he (or she) has died, moved out of state (or maybe just out of the district; at least for the gubernatorial line, it's out of state), or been nominated for one of New York's elected judgeships.

Just before the deadline last week, the winner of the Conservative primary was appointed to New York's equivalent of the steward of the Chiltern Hundreds and the Conservatives adopted the conservative, whom they had previously criticized for forwarding emailed jokes that were racially offensive or something (I haven't paid full attention to that story).

I have previously criticized Paladino in this space. I like his call for a 20% budget cut, but I lack confidence in his ability to pull that off. He is perhaps most famous for having promised to "clean up Albany with a baseball bat". This doesn't really contradict my doubts about his mental stability, but I actually count it as a point in his favor. To be sure, the image of cleaning with a baseball bat lacks the internal consistency that is classically expected of a metaphor, but no normal cleaning agent would suffice for the task he's signing up for. A baseball bat is a step in the right direction - I would recommend a plow and some salt. So I like Paladino's general outlook, but doubt his competence as an executive in the political realm (he appears to have been a successful executive in the private sector).

Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat, has been talking like a small government kind of guy. In an interview with National Review's Matthew Shaffer, Paladino has this response:
SHAFFER: Cuomo published an editorial in the New York Daily News acting like he will be a small-government, tough-on-unions type. Is that believable?

PALADINO: Ever been to the zoo?


PALADINO: Ever seen the zebra in the zoo?


PALADINO: Ever seen the zebra change stripes?


PALADINO: I’ve got the same feeling about Cuomo.
He has a point.


::: posted by Steven at 11:18 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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