Before we comment on the current papal state visit to the United Kingdom, a few reactions about the recent primary elections are in order. Months ago when the first Tea Party events occurred, our instinct was to dismiss them as public theater, paid for by some unnamed, deep-pocketed corporate sponsors. Then ex-Governor Sarah Palin hitched her old beauty float to their express buses and the movement took off.
The election results in the few primaries that have recently been held in some states, including Alaska, have been shocking. Lisa Murkowski was knocked out of the Republican Senate line in favor of a Palin-endorsed newcomer. In Delaware a popular ex-Governor and Congressman, Mike Castle, was knocked out of the running by an extremely conservative young woman who has had absolutely no governmental experience, but has run for the Senate twice before. (Yes, O’Donnell has made running for the Senate a complete career for herself.)
The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg commented this week about New York’s primaries and particularly NY State’s Republican Party that used to be what he called “one of the glories of the nation.” Hertzberg reminded us that it was the party of Teddy Roosevelt, William Seward, Fiorello LaGuardia, Jake Javits, John Lindsay, Nelson Rockefeller and Thomas E. Dewey. Hertzberg noted that from his liberal viewpoint there has been a steady decline in the party and the quality of its public servants. (Regardless of one’s political bias, compare George Pataki to Thomas E. Dewey or Rudy Giuliani to Fiorello LaGuardia.)
Continuing their downward trajectory, the New York State GOP hit a new low last Tuesday when they chose a multimillionaire Buffalo businessman, Carl Palidino, who was Tea Party endorsed. He was picked in last Tuesday’s statewide primary over ex-Congressman Rick Lazio, a moderate. The NYTimes characterized Palidino as: [Here]
... a volatile newcomer who has forwarded e-mails to friends containing racist jokes and pornographic images, espoused turning prisons into dormitories where welfare recipients could be given classes on hygiene, and defended an ally’s comparison of the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who is Jewish, to 'an Antichrist or a Hitler.'
Gulp. Volatile, indeed. Let us hope that the Democrats make him eat every single one of those insults and do it in public again and again.
By the way, when do you suppose Andrew Cuomo will begin campaigning or is he still on vacation?
One last factoid from the NYTimes. Palidino campaigned all over the state with a pit bull named Duke. Classy, eh?
It should be an interesting campaign. Cuomo has amassed an enormous campaign fund. It will be fascinating to see how the two men spend their money...
On a more congenial note, Pope Benedict XVI continues his papal visit to England amid new concerns for security after 5 Algerians were arrested by British police for allegedly planning some harm or disruption during the visit. This is the first state visit ever made by a pope since Henry VIII broke with church at Rome. In 1981 Pope John Paul II made what is described as a pastoral visit during which he only met privately with the queen. This time around, however, all the stops were pulled out. [Here]
On Friday afternoon the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Benedict are scheduled to pray together in Westminster Abbey. One wonders what good any of this will do for Anglican/Catholic relations, but both men love attention.
They also get to wear those lovely dress-up clothes...