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The problem with Carl Paladino's anger

As a one-time resident of Buffalo, N.Y., I am accustomed to making virtues out of the city's liabilities. Snow, for instance, is testament to our resilience. The Buffalo Bills are evidence of our heart and loyalty. But, try as I can, Carl Paladino is proving to be a real test.

The Buffalo millionaire developer's come-out-of-nowhere win in the New York GOP primary for governor is roiling the state and much of the political world. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat once thought to be a shoo-in, now seems to be facing a surprisingly strong showing from a candidate who is, to put it mildly, unconventional. How else to describe a politician who fathered a child with a former mistress, told his children but then kept it secret from his wife? Or who has been known to e-mail racist, sexist and pornographic material? Or who promises a nasty race and then delivers with unproven charges that his opponent cheated on his wife? And, if that is not enough, how about threatening to take out a reporter -- all while being videotaped?

As a journalist, I'm all for colorful political figures, and, in truth, there are some endearing aspects to Paladino. The New York Times detailed the charming story of how he gave an extra Super Bowl ticket to a nine-year-old boy he saw on a New Orleans street. Likewise, the Times chronicled his unpretentious restaurant habits and the generosity of his 40 percent tips. Clearly, those who are turned off by slick politicians find him refreshingly authentic. And those who are struggling in these hard economic times are drawn to his "I'm-as-mad-as-hell-and-I'm-not-going-to-take-it-anymore" candidacy. "Seriously, people are angry," The New York Post quoted him saying, "I pick it up and convey the message."

And, therein lies my problem with Paladino. He -- unlike Buffalo's signature snow and hapless football team -- brings out our worst.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | October 1, 2010; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Paladino is an ugly (in every sense) little man who decided very early in life that the road to success was in acting like a thug. He undoubtedly glamorizes this as "toughness" or being a "street fighter" or some such thing, when it's really just a complete absence of grace, culture or civilization. Watching him try to puff up like an adder when standing next to other men who tower over him, watching him screw up his beady little eyes before boasting of "bloodying" other people or threatening everybody he doesn't like, watching his lip curl as he promises to drag all politics and government down to the level of his own puny and parochial grandiosity, is like watching that ill-tempered troll in Sirius Black's house abuse Harry Potter. He looks like something that belong in formaldehyde, in a jar.

Posted by: ducdebrabant | October 1, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mrtimmaulden | October 2, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Paladino is a pig - the emails he circulated should have been reason enough to eliminate him for any consideration by any reasonable adults. His bullying personality should have helped to further disqualify him. But in todays environment, the tea baggers carrying signage of Obama in whiteface or depicted as a Nazi - many are supporting them. When in a sane, grown up world they should be shunned. It's the ugliest side of America I've seen in a long time. They're pathetic and juvenile and should be scorned and villified by the standards of common decency and civility. But I guess decency and civility as well as maturity is lost on the tea partiers and paladino. supporters -

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | October 2, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Paladino is the Republican version of Alan Grayson. Neither has the grace, common sense and demeanor to be running for elective office. Both are rude and obnoxious.
Where do we find these people?

Posted by: Kansas28 | October 2, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

People who are drawn to Paladino believe that an angry, obnoxious racist has the qualities needed to govern New York State. They are idiots.

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | October 2, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It takes little imagination to recognize that Mr. Paladino is pathological, and even less imagination to recognize that his emergence as a viable candidate portrays a voting public in disarray. We're in deep!

Posted by: bloommarko4 | October 3, 2010 5:55 AM | Report abuse

this journalist and negative posters against paladino work for cuomo. your all his birddogs. peak in any windows lately. I would rather have someone make a comment to my face than hide behind someone else. cuomo has alot of skeletons in his closet. you will see. power to the people. As for the jornalist, buffalo dont want you back. you belong right where you are, with the sneaky little rats.

Posted by: babycomehom432 | October 3, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what teh nature of this auhtor's residency in Buffalo was (did she grow up there or just work there at one point?), but as a native Buffalonian, I can tell you that the good folks of Buffalo and WNY like Paladino because he's passionate about the issues and they--like he--know that Albany politicians have destroyed the state. THe media can remain apoplectic about Paladino's anger, but that in no way changes the reality that Buffalo loves Carl, no matter what these libs say. They will turn out in WNY and may blunt the Dem registration edge in teh 5 borooughs.

Posted by: sladenyv1 | October 3, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Armao, maybe you should tell people of color and women to just get over Paladino's racism and sexism the way you told every lesbian and gay man in D.C. to get over Delano Hunter's anti-gay bigotry.

What's the matter? Do you offer condescending missives only to gay people?

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 3, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann Armao: What ties do you have to Buffalo? I am curious? What city did you actually live in? When? You call yourself a journalist, I call you a fruit! Get a life, and stay out of our race for Governor! Carl Paladino is not a politician; he is one hell of a businessman who is going to run for ONE TERM, clean up Albany, and move on!~ You have a problem with that? You, Ms. Armao, bring out the worst in Buffalo, glad to see you have moved!

Posted by: wolfmancha | October 4, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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