The 2002 Wacko Awards

Liberal Party Honcho Ray Harding
photo: Cary Conover
Liberal Party Honcho Ray Harding

The Nixon-to-Hoffa Labor Shakedown Salute goes to George Pataki, who told transit workers after he was re-elected that no one would be riding in on a white horse with "bags of cash" to settle the MTA negotiations, but delivered suitcases of it to Dennis Rivera and Randi Weingarten in deals before the election. Pataki, who was as invisible as Rivera during the tumultuous transit confrontation, must have read the transcripts of Richard Nixon's 1971 conversations with Attorney General John Mitchell and another aide about the decision to commute Teamster felon Jimmy Hoffa's prison sentence. "And of course the understanding is," said Mitchell, that the union "would provide political support" in the 1972 election in exchange, with Nixon chortling that the union "would play our game now, boy."

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