Carl Paladino, a wealthy businessman and Tea-Partier, recently announced his candidacy in New York’s upcoming gubernatorial race. At his kick-off rally in Buffalo on Mon., Apr. 5, Paladino delivered a Sarah Palin-esque populist speech in which he described himself as “the only Republican in the race who agrees with 100-percent conservative values.”
If nothing else, it was stirring when he proclaimed to an auditorium full of flag-waving supporters, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Paladino supporters seem drawn to his polarizing energy the same way Palin supporters rally around her you-betcha! rhetoric. They even donned stickers that read, “I’m mad as hell too, Carl!”
Too bad there weren’t many of them. One attendee, when asked why he had come, responded, “I’ve never heard of him until I heard ads on the radio that he is interested in running for governor.”
To be certain, this lack of name recognition is not an isolated case, and other candidates and constituents are picking up on the fact that it takes more than money and catchy slogans to qualify as a viable candidate—I wish people would realize this about Palin.
The two other Republican candidates have blasted Paladino for entering the race. Steve Levy cast Paladino as nothing more than a “sound bite machine” with too much money to spend, and Rick Lazio chose to ignore him altogether for fear of legitimizing his candidacy.
Well, the bid will benefit the Democrats. Last week, WNYmedia.net obtained a series of seriously disturbing emails that Paladino sent to business and political associates, which encompass everything from pornography to racist material fit for the inbox of a Klan member.
Several of the emails are strictly pornographic. One includes a video entitled “Miss France 2008 Fucking,” which Paladino noted is “a keeper,” and in another he praises a young girl who is toying with a hot dog in the screenshot. But apparently attendees of Tea Parties do not limit themselves to human pornography—another email contained a video of a woman strapped by her arms and legs to the underbelly of a horse with which she was copulating.
But don’t let the porn distract you from the overt racism. One email depicts a photo-shopped Obama and Michelle in pimp-ho garb. Another contains a “motivational poster” that depicts several Africans running to avoid being killed by a landing plane. The caption is “Holy Shit. Run, niggers, run!”
Probably the most disturbing emails, however, came just ahead of Obama’s inauguration when Paladino forwarded an email entitled “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal.” It depicts a group of African tribesmen performing a ritualistic dance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he found this on the Neo-Nazi website Stormfront.org—it is currently on that site’s home page. A caption underneath reads, “Someone better save this before it gets banned again.”
Apparently Paladino felt the same way when he whisked the image off to his like-minded (read: bigoted) friends. Paladino responded to criticism about this email by saying, “I’m not a racist and have never related Obama’s color to my political distaste for him. I’m not sensitive to ethnic humor. Dago, spic, Polack, whatever, we hear the humor every day.” C’mon, Carl, do you really think Christian family men hear that every day?
Some people are calling these emails racially offensive. Others have called them off-color or politically incorrect. I disagree: These are downright hateful. The Tea Party, which has openly endorsed Paladino, should force him out of the race. If he is not forced to drop out, then the Tea Party is implicitly confirming that they endorse this type of racism and ignorance that flies directly in the face of their family-values platform.
A spokesperson for Paladino has already responded: “It figures that members of the Party who brought us record taxes, record spending and record debt would want to change the topic from reform to having sex with horses and S&M parlors.” He references a scandal during which it was revealed that the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, had approved the reimbursement of nearly 2,000 dollars, spent at a bondage-themed club in LA, to a Republican donor.
Like Steele, Paladino has not denied the allegations, instead writing them off as a Democratic smear campaign. But I wonder how the voting public will react now that they have been introduced to the walking contradiction that is the man Carl Paladino, the racist Carl Paladino, and the candidate Carl Paladino.
He deserves to be shunned not only by his party but also by the public. I’m mad as hell, Carl, and I’m not going to take this anymore.