Monday, November 3, 2008

Arrivederci Tommy?

Our sources in Albany are speculating that political paisan Tom Golisano is angling for the job of U.S. Ambassador to Italy in an Obama administration.

This would explain his $10 million donation to the Bill Clinton Global Initiative back when Hillary was expected to win the Democratic nomination.   It would explain his $1 million donation to the Democratic National Convention.

Of particular interest to us locally, it would explain the otherwise incomprehensible schizophrenia of his "Responsible New York" PAC.   Golisano funded it with $5 million to push for a set of principles, then put the PAC's money behind Democratic candidates committed to the opposite of all of those principles.   The PAC has endorsed some Republican candidates for state senate and assembly, but it has funded its endorsed Democratic candidates almost exclusively.

To cite just one of the internal contradictions of "Responsible New York," if any of the Democrats funded by the PAC endorsed the proposed 4% property tax cap -- let alone Golisano's public criticism that a 4% cap isn't good enough and should be at zero percent -- they'd be kicked right out of their own party.

But in cozying up to the Clintons, Tom backed the wrong horse.   To spend the next four years in Roma, if that's the plan, he'd have to do things to make not just Obama happy, but also the Democratic Party establishment in New York.   Helping to tip the State Senate to the Democrats should get someone like Chuck Schumer, for example, to put a good word in, shouldn't it?

For months we've wondered why the PAC has funded candidates opposed to its own goals:   Was Golisano clueless?   Disingenuous?   Suffering from viagra-induced dementia brought on by Monica's delectable demands?   We'll have much more respect for Golisano if what it's really all about is just the time-honored practice of angling for an ambassadorship.

1 comment:

Rottenchester said...

I don't know what, if anything, Tom wants, but he and Jack Davis both have the usual problems that successful business owners have when it comes to politics.

These guys are used to buying whatever they want, and they're also used to delegating responsibility to competent subordinates. You can't do that in politics. Political campaigns are one place where a lot of the habits of successful businessmen, especially delegation, aren't useful.

Golisano seems not to have learned this lesson. He's spent a staggering amount of money, but an incommensurate amount of time and effort, on New York politics, and he's accomplished very little. Like Jack Davis, he doesn't seem to learn, and I would guess that he's susceptible to new Svengalis who take his money with a pitch that sounds reasonable but isn't in tune with political reality.