As you all know, I have always been fascinated by Reality TV's ability to assemble the most batshit crazy people on the planet.Many of these shows feature a disgraced politician trying to rebuild the country’s trust in him – usually via ballroom dancing or helping Sinbad and Bret Michaels sell cupcakes on the corner of 50th & Madison. If that doesn’t prove Blago is fit to lead, nothing will.
But not all politicians are disgraced – or even on the country’s radar enough to be disgraced. What to do then? Well, there’s always running for Governor of New York.
The Governorship of New York has had a rather “colorful” past few years (sorry, Patterson). Elliot Spitzer’s hobby of using government money to fund lavish trysts with prostitutes cost him his job – and probably a few friendships, as he also had a hobby of using the names of his close friends, like that of his pal and longtime donor George Fox. George Fox reported being “disappointed and distressed” when he found out – probably because his name was having way more fun than he was and, really, Elliot Spitzer is an asshole.
Then there was Patterson, who distinguished himself by immediately disclosing that he had cheated on his wife “many, many times.” Yes, we were in good hands.
So the seven Crazies who lined up on the stage at Hofstra University on Monday night really had their work cut out for them.
The debate began with “Doug Geed” welcoming us and inviting viewers to record their reactions on Long Island’s Facebook page. It was all downhill from there.
Like all other open debates, there were The Two People Who Had a Shot in Hell and Everyone Else. Conveniently, the Two People who had a Shot in Hell were dressed identically down to their red ties and navy suits, hammering home their campaigns’ best argument of It Could Be Worse.
'Doug Geed' started things off with Palladino a.k.a. I Commit Political Suicide All Day, Every Day. They say they drew straws, but I think Doug chose Palladino because Doug, too, was wearing a bright red tie.
Palladino -- who noted that California’s Medicaid is “100% lower than us” (can you think of a few things wrong with that statement?), said we needed to cut the program immediately. Unfortunately, he frequently switched between the words “Medicare” and “Medicaide,” so if his goal was to scare as many old people and poor people as possible, he succeeded.
The questions were themselves a circus. One appeared to be a video montage of Sensible Black Women shaking their heads and tsking. Not that it mattered, because, as we later discovered, not one candidate ever actually answered the question they were asked.
One of the night's many standouts was a very agitated Jimmy McCillon of the Rent is Too Damn High Party. Whenever his statements -- which, like every other candidate, never answered the question asked and went way over time – were cut off by the moderator, you would hear a faint muttered "the rent is too damn high!" But perhaps it was only an echo.
By far, the best thing about Jimmy McCillon was his stylin' black ski gloves he insisted on keeping on.
I lied. The best thing about Jimmy McMillan is his website which features him rapping the rent is too damn high! And whose list of campaign categories include one called, "Damn is the word of god," which -- on closer inspection -- appears to be a bible verse and a very long etymology of the word "damn."
One of my other favorites was the very dry Warren Redlich from the libertarian party. Warren -- whose quiet monotone implied either shyness or barely suppressed unibomber rage -- liked to tell long stories about his friend Frank. Frank is writing a book called You Gotta Be Kidding Me. Warren then told another story whose rather anti-climactic point was that the Head of the New York Library System is overpaid. It wasn’t entirely clear why he told this little anecdote, but it did end with Frank saying, “You gotta be kidding me!”
Next was Kristin Smith, aka Manhattan Madame, aka The Escort Empress, aka That Lady Who Slept with Elliot Spitzer and Now Wants His Job, representing for Anti-Prohibition -- which, like her joke timing, seems just a little late. Though we all had a laugh when she said she'd lower taxes faster than a Palladino running out of a gay bar.
There were two other candidates who were a little more normal – “Freedom’s” Charles Barrow and a Green Party Candidate whose name of “Howie” and folksy twang made him an intriguing, strange anomaly.
But really, it was just Cuomo looking as thrilled and mortified as anyone who has a bunch of psycho crazies for his “peer group” and will win because of it.
So I guess we learned that -- even in 2010 -- if you're crazy and pretend to want to be Governor, you can still get time on National TV.
As Frank would say, “You Gotta Be Kidding Me!”