It’s seems to be a common theme with Tea Party candidates and their supporters: they’re so upset with the establishment and government ineptitude that they’re doing something about it. In short, they’re unleashing a righteous anger to institute change.
Or, as one Tea Party candidate who won last night put it, “We’re mad as hell.”
That’s the rallying cry of New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who stunned the Republican Party by beating former congressman Rick Lazio to win his party’s nomination.
How did this happen? Paladino is a fiery politician who seems to have mimicked the anger of his constituents: “They say I am too blunt. Well, I am, and I don’t apologize for it. They say I am an angry man, and that’s true. We are all angry.”
True to form, one voter in a Buffalo suburb, who didn’t describe himself as a Tea Party supporter, told the New York Times that he voted for Paladino “because he’s mad as hell and so am I.”
Paladino’s rhetoric may have roused his supporters, but it is his platform that might be drawing them to the voting booths. He has has promised to “take a baseball bat to Albany” to clean it up, cut taxes by 10 percent in six months, eliminate public pensions for legislators, and use eminent domain to prevent the construction of the Ground Zero mosque.
The result: Republicans, not just “tea partiers,” supported him in droves on Tuesday night — he beat Lazio by an almost 2-1 margin.
Still, there are skeptics who think Paladino doesn’t have a chance of beating Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the son of popular former governor Mario. As the Times put it: “His defeat of Mr. Lazio, 52, raises the possibility of a lopsided general election contest with Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, … who has amassed a $24 million war chest and whose commanding lead in the polls has lent him an air of invincibility.”
Echoing those sentiments, one Lazio supporter in Manhattan told the Times, “We just handed [Cuomo] the governorship.”
New York Daily News columnist Bill Hammond agrees. “Carl Paladino loves to bluster about going after Albany’s powerbrokers with a baseball bat,” he wrote in a column today, “but the only thing he’s likely to beat to a pulp is the state GOP’s credibility.” He added that his nomination “spells almost certain disaster” for those that will have to defend him until November.
Hammond goes on to use words such as reckless, hallow, dumb, unworkable, illegal, and demagogic to describe Paladino’s ideas. He uses terms such as wackadoo, train wreck, and blow-hard to describe Paladino.
But if past rhetoric is any indication, Paladino will probably cherish the criticism. On Tuesday night, he delivered a message to those who didn’t support him: “You’re welcome to join the people’s crusade. … Come aboard, you’re both welcome and needed. If we unite, we’ll win. We’ll re-build New York.”