Friday, December 02, 2005

Will Pirro Put On Pataki's Apron And Bake Cookies?

Pirro feels the heat

Westchester DA to meet with Pataki to mull idea of abandoning GOP race for Hillary's Senate seat, instead vying for attorney general

This story was reported by Albany bureau chief ERROL A. COCKFIELD JR., GLENN THRUSH of the Washington bureau and MICHAEL ROTHFELD
It was written by COCKFIELD and THRUSH.

December 2, 2005

ALBANY -- Pressured by fellow Republicans to scrap her challenge of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro will meet this morning with Gov. George Pataki to discuss the fate of her tottering campaign.

Pirro huddled with advisers yesterday, anguishing over whether to stay in the race or quit to run for state attorney general, as many Republicans have urged her to do, sources said. The abrupt turns of mood came on a day in which confusion seemed to reign in her camp.

A top Pirro adviser said she wanted to discuss her political future with Pataki, whose support has waned in recent days. But as of last night she had no plans to quit.

"She got together with her people, debated the pros and cons, and decided to stay in it for now," the official told Newsday.

When asked how long Pirro would remain in the race, the person replied, "Who knows? Ask me in a month."

A Pirro switch would be another in a series of embarrassing setbacks for the Republican Party as it struggles to field candidates for 2006.
This last paragraph intrigued me, and reminds me of something: where's Al D'Amato in all this?

See, when D'Amato was running his crooked political machine out of Long Island, the Republicans regularly registered unusual strength in a highly Democratic state...well, state-wide at any rate.

See, New York state as a political entity is fractious: the large urban areas are overwhemlingly liberal and Democractic, while suburban areas tend to be moderate Republican, and rural areas make the South look like urbane outposts of genteelity.

Having residence in all three sectors, it can be quite confusing!

However, when Alphonse ran the machine (which included the current governor, George Pataki, a shiftless nobody destined to be mayor of a small hamlet in the lower Hudson Valley, until a larger political machine dragged him mfrom obscurity, propped him up in front of a camera and managed to have him beat arguably the most popular governor of the past thirty years, Mario Cuomo), Republicans were nigh unstoppable. Even Rudy Giuliani had to genuflect at Mr. D'Amato's feet and kiss his pinky ring, when in truth, his job called for him to squeeze the shady crook until blood came from his ears.

D'Amato effectively retired in 1998 when Chuck Schumer beat him for his Senate seat, despite Rovian-type campaign ads and a whisper campaign upstate about "the Jew from Brooklyn".

Pataki won re-election last go-round without D'Amato (2002) because he was running against nobody (well, actually, Peter Vallone, Speaker of the NYC Council, which meant nothing outside of the Bronx and maybe Queens). He would have faced a formidable challenge from Elliot Spitzer, a tough-as-nails state attorney general who also had serious street cred as a liberal, ground Pataki can visit with his pro-choice stances.

But note this: even Rudy Giuliani got nailed in the downdraft of the vacuum that D'Amato's absence left in New York politics, failing to even secure the Republican nomination in 2000 to run against Hillary Clinton when he publicly announced he was divorcing his wife before telling her personally.

Apparently, Rudy felt he was Caesar, that New York City was ancient Rome, and that a man could divorce his wife merely by saying, "We're divorced" three times.

(Aside: Let him run for President. I would gloat at the ad campaign that would run against him.)

The political disintegration we're seeing in New York State is a direct result of D'Amato abandoning the wheel and leaving no one (or at least anyone competent) behind in charge to lead. We're now seeing the Bruno/Pataki Albany faction trying desperately to maintain control over a bunch of unruly children who see opportunities and want a piece of the action, primarily from the Hudson Valley districts where moderate Republicans really can run and win.

Too, I think the Democrats smell blood in the water, and are challenging what had previously been held as "safe" Republican seats. Sue Kelly, for example, New York's representative from the 19th district, faces a formidable challenge from no less than five Democrats vying to run against her, including John Hall.

This is a party in deep trouble, and it doesn't bode well for Bush and the GOP national committee that this tempest is unavoidable and happening so close to a major election that will be a referendum on Bush's second term. I can hear the spin doctors grinding their "Well, you know, all Presidents lose seats in their midterms and Bush is no exception" plaint.

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