S.I. GOP Hopeful Wyne: "Republican and Democrat are a Great People"
As we mentioned earlier, though two other candidates aggressively seek write-in votes in the September 9 primary, there are only two official candidates for the GOP Congressional nomination in New York's 13th District: frontrunner Bob Straniere, and Dr. Jamshad Wyne.
As previously reported by the Staten Island Advance, Wyne is president and CEO of Staten Island Heart Imaging and the borough's Republican Finance Committee Chairman. In 2003 the state Health Department put Wyne on probation for three years for "professional misconduct," but that probably doesn't matter much to the patients in his free primary, pediatric, and cardiac care clinics for the uninsured, which New York Sun columnist Alicia Colon called a "philanthropy that works."
Nonetheless both the Brooklyn and Staten Island Republicans have endorsed Straniere, which may be why a visibly nervous Wyne consented to a video interview with the Advance's Tom Wrobleski.
Wyne starts slow, saying that his "campaign's in full gear, we have a wonderful team," etc. When asked about his "billboard on the outer bridge" (of the Verrazano-Narrows, we assume), he says that since he hasn't run for political office before, "I have to get my name recognized around town."
Asked why, of late, he prefers to be known as "Jim Wyne" rather than as Jamshad, Wyne explains, "Everyone in medical school, at college, everybody here, nobody knows my name, I go by Jim, this is my nickname... And I think sometimes it's easier to call somebody from a nickname."
Later Wyne asserts that the nation's health care crisis is "the reason I'm in the politics... People have no insurance, they're losing their health care because gas prices have gotten high, the economy is slow, taxes are high, small businesses are closing... middle class American people, they cannot close their business or they can't have insurance."
But given this parlous state of national affairs, Wyne is then asked, why should voters return any Republicans to Congress? Rushing, stumbling and mumbling, Wyne first praises disgraced incumbent Vito Fossella ("He has done great for Staten Island and for country... I think we're mixing two issues together, the personal life for somebody and the political life"), and adds, "The Republican are doing great job in Washington, cutting taxes, war on terrorism, I think big thing, you know? What Democrat trying to do is giving a false hope to people, we cannot cut tax, in fact they're gonna raise taxes."
Wyne then advocates a federal tax deduction on higher education for the middle class ("Imagine, if I have a son who go to college with a fifty thousand dollar a year tuition fee, you make hundred thousand dollars, you can't send your son to Harvard which charge fifty thousand dollars. Why? Because it's not tax deductible") before concluding, "I think people have to understand, Republican and Democrat are a great people, nothing different, eventually we all American."
Given that many people have criticized Barack Obama for stammering, we can't imagine this performance will do Wyne much good. Then again, we haven't heard Straniere on the stump.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.