No matter what your politics are, you have to admit Republicans yesterday went for the guy with a lot more pop in his bat — literally.
Just three months ago, all Carl Paladino, the wealthy gun-slinging landlord from Buffalo who will now carry the GOP banner for governor, could muster at the Republican convention was a measly 8 percent of the delegate vote. This didn’t stop him from breathing the kind of brimstone that won the hearts of the party’s rank-and-file when they finally got a chance to cast their own ballots. He took the floor without party permission to give his own nominating speech, which included many gems like this one:
“One of my opponents wants to use a whisk broom to clean up Albany; one won’t even use a mop. I’ll clean up Albany with a baseball bat!”
Last night, he kept the baseball bat under the bed, but he steadily blasted away at the “Status Cuomo.”
He started with a bellow. “Tonight, the ruling class knows” he said, and then dropped his voice to a near-whisper: “they’ve seen it now: There’s a people’s revolution!”
“The liberal elite,” he said, “is calling me every name in the book. They say I’m too blunt, and I am, and I don’t apologize for it. They say I’m an angry man and that’s true. I am angry!”
Boy, is he ever. Listen to him back in March when he was getting ready to announce his run: “I’m gonna try like hell to send Sheldon Silver to Attica, and on the way, we’re gonna have him stop in all those little communities on the throughway and let those people beat him up.”
He also said that the day Obama’s health care legislation passed “will be remembered just as 9/11 was remembered in history.”
Count last night’s victory as a big win for the brilliantly creative political manipulator, Roger Stone , whose past electoral efforts have ranged from Richard Nixon to Al Sharpton, and his equally inventive protege, Michael Caputo. Stone is still technically running ex-hooker Kristin Davis for governor, while Caputo ran Paladino’s effort which launched with a nice long cruise along the Erie Canal on a tugboat.
By the way, Paladino is Italian for “paladin” — those courageous loners who roam far, far from home, who have guns and will travel. As the great Richard Boone warned his foes in the magnificent TV show, “If you want me to leave, you’re gonna have to make me.”
Let the general election begin!