By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
"And now Cuomo's cut a deal with the mayor of New York," Pataki told suburban Buffalo shoppers a few days before the election, "to send our tax dollars down to New York City to bail them out of their budget problems in exchange for political support."
A Times editorial this week pointedly assailed D'Amato, whom it will not endorse, for these poisonous ads, but took a different tack with the governor. In its bottom paragraphs, the editorial said Pataki couldn't "dodge responsibility," and that it was "incredible" that he was "allowing" the state party, which sponsored the vilest of the recent ads, to get so nasty. The editorial did not note, as a Times reporter had the day before, that Pataki had displaced D'Amato as the party's "chief fundraiser," making him the guy who picked up the tab on ads that portrayed "Sheldon Silver and the New York City liberals" as "sharks."
Nor did the Times cite the track record of anticity attacks by Pataki chronicled on its own edit page:
No pretense will make George Pataki an evenhanded governor. Neither can an ad make this a boomtime, other than on Wall Street.
Rudy Giuliani was the preordained winner of 1997, with every newspaper in his pocket from the outset, but at least he had what appeared to be a record of achievement. The people, rightly or wrongly, credited him for the dramatic reduction in crime. The force of his own personality--everything from his energetic visibility to his blunt and often brilliant rhetoric--made him look like a leader.
Pataki is the antithesis of Giuliani. He has fashioned a make-believe record from the slightest economic uptick, for which he bears no discernible responsibility. He is rarely seen or heard, here or in Albany. The mandatory Sunday Times Magazine cover salute could not get beyond its title--"Bland Ambition"--to find a heart or a head worth knowing. It was one thing for the grand masters of the GOP to invent a gubernatorial candidate in 1994 and program him to wage a virtual three-sentence campaign whose core premise was that enough money and more-than-enough-of-Mario was all they needed to win. It is another thing for Pataki to be stuck on the same three sentences four years later, offering only the vision of more tax cuts if we give him a second term.
The city media will try to protect us from the truth for another few weeks, just as they successfully camouflaged Giuliani in 1997. But George Pataki's indiscriminate assault on welfare, parole, CUNY, the tax base, school construction, legal services for the poor, and campaign-finance reform make him the most conservative governor in state history. Even the Times's fig leaf of liberalism--Pataki's pro-choice posture--is in grave doubt in view of his support for a so-called partial-birth abortion bill that the paper suggested would "outlaw most procedures used after the first trimester of pregnancy."