Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New York Governor Race Already Ridiculously Negative

I shouldn't be surprised; this is, after all, a coveted position in Albany. I should have expected the candidates to turn to low-brow tactics that assume the voter is an idiot and will only pay attention to photoshopped images of their opponent, be him in the shower or with a pig body eating at the "public trough." Maybe I did expect it, just not at this early stage in the general election campaigning.

To be fair to Cuomo, the photoshopped image of Paladino was created by the New York State Democratic Committee. But my question is why? I mean, I expect this of Paladino, the guy is unhinged. In a poster reminiscent of Cuomo's father Mario's campaign poster deriding Ed Koch by declaring, "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo," Paladino's campaign has put out a poster accusing Cuomo the younger of being a eunuch (a popular tea party tactic).

Like I said, I expect this kind of thing from Paladino. This is a man who plans to use eminent domain to prevent private property owners from building a community center in Lower Manhattan (not exactly small-government actions), is turning his campaign into an us vs. them/upstate vs. downstate contest, and called an Orthodox Jew an anti-Christ. In a word, he's crazy.

But the Democrats? Really? Please tell me that the New York State Democratic Committee is not that scared of Paladino that they need to resort to this (a phone call and email to the NY State Dems have thus far gone unanswered). This type of thing simply does Cuomo a disservice because those who do not know the origins of the poster will attribute it to Cuomo and those who do know who made it are not going to be won over with divisive campaign tactics like this. Like I said in my recent Huffington Post blog (yes, shameless plug), campaigns need to energize their base and snatch up as many moderates as possible. The problem with the Paladino pig poster is that it does not serve as a means to either end. The Tea Party has energized both parties' bases - Republicans for and Democrats against. And no sane individual can think that this type of bad photoshopping is going to convince a moderate to vote for Andrew Cuomo.

Both candidates for governor are running on a platform meant to reform Albany. Paladino says, "I'll turn Albany upside down -and I will take out the trash." Cuomo wants to "Clean up Albany" and "Restore honor and integrity to government." So far nothing I have seen speaks to these goals. Paladino's campaign has put out nothing but trash and Cuomo, by proxy, has been implicated in the same types of dirty campaign tactics. Change from the current Albany status quo? Hardly.

Photos - Cuomo in the shower (Capitol Confidential), Paladino at the "Public Trough" (Carl Paladino Facts), "No Cojones" (Paladino for the People) (All put together by my artfully tasteful Photoshop skills)

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