Tuesday, October 12, 2010

“I Am NOT...”

No doubt you have read about or heard that Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for NY Governor, read a prepared speech on Saturday in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The speech was written by Paladino’s hosts, ultra Orthodox rabbis, who must have been thrilled to have the opportunity to have their political agenda given such press coverage.    When the speech was over, a copy of the text was handed around to reporters by the host group after Paladino left.  In the typed speech were these two sentences:[Here]
There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That is not how God created us."
As you know, there was a fire storm about those sentences which were not actually spoken by Paladino, but reported by members of the press.  (Either he redacted those words as he read the script or they were cut out by his staff before he delivered the speech--rather haltingly and poorly, I might add.)
Of course, those sentences were leapt on by the press and quoted widely.  However, they gave Carl the opportunity to do the rounds of early morning talk shows to “clarify” his position on gay rights.  He kept professing again and again--ungrammatically-- that he is not “a homophobic” but then he would go on to prove that he certainly is a homophobe.  For example, he stated firmly that as governor he would veto any bill that legalized gay marriages or civil unions.  He also got in his digs against Andy Cuomo, his Democratic opponent, who had taken his daughters to New York City’s Gay Pride Parade.
What has been largely omitted from the reports about the speech was any mention of Paladino’s central point in his remarks, which wasn’t about gay bashing.  That was just campaign filler.   It was about public tax moneys paying for private, parochial school education.  (Gulp.  Remember the original text was written by a group of ultra conservative rabbis.)  
The support from Paladino of this scholarship program is what that Williamsburg group wanted from this conservative GOP candidate and they showed their appreciation by applauding vigorously as he read the heart of his message.  When he read part of a letter written by a Florida rabbi in support of a system there that saves the Florida Jewish community almost $2 million dollars a year, the assembled group almost cheered. [Here]
The Paladino campaign must have been stunned that the “dysfunctional homosexual” line that Paladino never uttered was bandied about and not the public support of parochial education that he must have been prepared to champion and to defend.  
However, as they say, when one door closes, another one opens.
And our Carl strode through it, head high, mouthing anti-gay statements as he clarified that he was not--repeat--not “a homophobic.”
It does remind one of another classic GOP line, doesn’t it?  
 “I am not a crook.”...

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