In: Tom Golisano. Newly-minted Floridian Tom Golisano's engineering of the Republican takeover of the New York State legislature is perhaps the first fully-articulated episode of populist rage executed in the wake of Barack Obama's historic Presidency. Until now, the billionaire was a perennial New York also-ran. His Independence Party marginally, at best, influenced state-wide elections.
The pendulum swings. It was taxes -- that, and the secretive manner in which the NYC-centric Democrats levied them -- that spurred Golisano's rage, and ironically, loosened the iron grip on his wallet. An astonishingly weak and pathetic Senate "leader" Malcolm Smith didn't buffer the Democrats' case.
And a propos of nothing: A weak Governor and a weak State Senate leader allowed the profoundly sleazy Shelly Silver to become the most powerful player in New York politics. The problem is that Shelly Silver is a shadowy, Cheneyesque figure with a dark, froggish voice, who revels in back-room deals funneling vast swaths of tax revenues into his district, which in is New York City. Upstate be damned! Shelly Silver is a terrible poster boy for Democrat power of the Empire State.
Much can be made of the fact that a tactically astute billionaire managed to outsmart the personally-picked state senate leader of a weak African-American governor with the help of two Latino legislators. But for the moment, the event serves as a template for a possible Republican strategy re: populism and a ray of light for the flagging spirits of an embattled GOP.
Out: Sarah Palin. We have never thought much of Governor Sarah Palin, intellectual lightweight. McCain picked her in 2008 because he is a "maverick," and -- tragically for him -- character is fate. McCain's "maverick" pick effectively obliterated his experiential argument against Barack Obama. Go, "Maverick" (Averted Gaze)!
But one must have a tremendous amount of personal charisma to overcome a lack of smarts in the gladiatorial fundament that is American Presidential politics. The problem with Palin is that her good looks have been commonly mistaken for charisma (ay, madame, tis common). And so the Governor's spirits has been buoyed by the The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads and, we cannot fail to note, the fertility cultists. They thinks she's a righteous babe ..(Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
Still, we've always thought that she would be rendered into shredded bologna in a one-on-one where no one treated her with kid gloves. There may have been such a moment. From Politico:
"Ending weeks of she-said, they-said drama, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin turned in a cameo appearance at the gala fundraising dinner for her party's House and Senate candidates in Washington Monday night.
"But in spite of all the back-and-forth between her camp and dinner organizers leading up to the event, Palin's presence went little-noticed.
"The Alaska governor sat next to her husband, Todd Palin, at the table of National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn, but she didn’t make any public remarks.
"If she hadn't walked quickly across the stage at the outset and if her presence hadn’t been mentioned briefly in the remarks of some of the evening's speakers, it would have been hard to know that she had, in fact, shown up.
"Palin’s decision to attend the dinner capped a dizzying weekend of reversals. On Sunday, POLITICO reported that Palin had decided to back out of the dinner after being told that she would not be making remarks. The reason: NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions was worried about upstaging the dinner's keynote speaker, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"On Monday, just hours before the dinner kicked off, Palin reversed herself and said she would attend, even though she would not have a speaking role."
In contrast with Gingy's idea-heavy speech, Palin's came off as that of an intellectual lightweight. Time, of course, will tell whether or not this is a Bobby Jindal-at-the-Governor's-mansion kind of moment, a political dealbreaker. But it is, at the very least, a setback for Palin, who has staked herself as at the front of the GOP pack for 2012. Read more here.
(image via newsweek)
In: "The Obama Effect." Gassy rhetoric is being strategically released -- Eew -- by the neoconservative camp arguing, ferociously, against the possibility that Obama's Cairo speech had any influence on the March 14 movements victory in the Lebanese elections this past Sunday. These cavils might have some basis in Truth if not for the frequency of the word "Change" utilized on the Lebanon street in interview after interview (The Corsair sips a 1998 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape). Obama's speech to the Muslim world influenced, however, slightly, the turning away from Hezbollah, thus strengthened the hand of the pro-West March 14 movement. Obama is not Bush, who never understood the influence of soft power, only military might. And President Obama as the poster boy of what it means in the Muslim world to be "pro-West" is a good thing, especially going forward into the Iranian elections next week. We cannot fail to note that Ahmadinejad's frantic campaign pace suggests that he is in a world of worry without Bush-hate to push around the Tehran.
Out: The Weinstein Company. The downturn in the economy affects everyone, even moguls who used to have the Oscar market cornered with their Muse, Gwynnie (who did a very fucking strange show on food tourism in Spain currently on PBS). From Nikki Finke's DeadlineHollywoodDaily:
"I've just learned that representatives for Inglorious Basterds have scheduled a phone call today with Universal Pictures to discuss The Weinstein Company's financial problems which are being splashed all over the media. Right now, everyone is still operating on the premise that TWC can come up with the $30 million or moreo marketing money budgeted for Inglorious Basterds. But that was before news came out that The Weinstein Company is on the brink (amid rumors the end could come in August) intenwsified by last week's bad news that TWC has hired a financial advisory firm to restructure."
Does this mean that the Weinstein's will, for the moment, stop dabbling in the theme park business.