By Frank Parlato;
When Carl Paladino lost to Andrew Cuomo, 61% to 34% in the New York State race for governor in 2010, one of the most liberal nanny states in America ejected him handily, robustly.
They didn’t like his brash, self-help, be strong on your own – without dependence on government message.
While Paladino lost statewide, he won all eight counties in Western New York and propelled the Conservative Party back into third place on the ballot – for the first time since 1998.
Paladino, the founder, chairman and former CEO of Ellicott Development, the largest private landlord in the City of Buffalo, ran for governor on the non-pandering platform.
In terms of campaigning, Paladino was Donald Trump before there was the candidate Donald Trump.
Paladino was the first perfectly unapologetic, unequivocal candidate. He was “mad as hell” and “going to take a baseball bat to Albany.”
He told the truth. He never minced words, feared what others might think of his words, or worried about being politically correct. He compared public service labor unions to pigs.
He called New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand “[Senior Senator Chuck] Schumer’s little girl.”
He said Obamacare could be more deadly than the September 11 attacks.
He announced his platform up front.
Had he been elected governor, Paladino planned to cut the state budget by 20 percent, shut off instant welfare for those who migrate here from other states, impose drug testing for welfare recipients, cut New York’s Medicaid benefits, the most generous in the USA, eliminate state capital gains taxes and corporate franchise taxes, target patronage jobs, institute a merit-based pay system which would have ended automatic raises for government employees and incentivize bureaucrats to work for goals and get the able-bodied off welfare.
He planned to dissolve the state’s shadow governments, which control New Yorkers’ lives in secrecy, such as the Board of Regents, the SUNY Board of Trustees, the Empire State Development Corporation, the Off-Track Betting Corporation, the New York Power Authority and the Thruway Authority.
When Paladino became the New York co-chair of Trump’s campaign, where Trump won a decisive primary victory that catapulted him to victory in the Republican primary, it could not help but be noticed that the two men are awfully alike.
Throughout the campaign, Paladino never backed down in his support for Trump.
In March, he wrote an open letter to Republicans in New York’s congressional delegation and state legislature which he shared with 50,000 supporters.
At the time, of New York’s nine House Republicans, only Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, of Western New York endorsed Trump. The others stayed neutral.
He wrote, “… The press said I was trying to bully you… You made a lot of promises to your constituents and you fully intend to get around to addressing those promises after you handle all those requests from heavy donors, lobbyists and other special interests that give you money, pay for your meals and otherwise entertain you… You worked hard and sucked up with a lot of people to get into office and it’s not easy playing with smoke and mirrors to get both the breadcrumbs that your leadership feeds to you to bring home so you look good while you betray your responsibilities to your constituents… This year’s political revolution is turning that sweet life upside down, isn’t it? …Your leaders and peers in Washington and Albany are really out of sorts, suffering irregular bowel movements. They … are losing their grip on the populace … Open your eyes. Ed Cox, Al D’Amato, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney and the other Washington and Albany elites …. This is our last request that you join Trump for President and try to preserve what’s left of your pathetic careers in government. Whatever you do, staying neutral is not an option. Pick a horse in the race and you may salvage some of your constituents’ respect for you. Not choosing paints you as a coward. The bus is leaving the station very soon. Get on, or you’ll be left behind.”
In April, shortly after appearing alongside Trump while he made his New York victory speech, Paladino described Obama as “a man who in every respect looks like he despises America.”
“He’s so into himself, he can’t help himself,” Paladino said. “How did a guy like this rise to that point of being president of the wonder of history and the world?”
He also likened President Obama to a “raccoon in the basement” which the media promptly labeled a racial slur.
Paladino rebutted that he didn’t mean for “raccoon” to be taken as a racial slur.
“Raccoons represent thievery, they don’t represent race,” Paladino said. “The rest of the world hasn’t interpreted it in the way you did.”
Always combative, Paladino sent an email to anti-Trump Utah delegate Stefani Williams telling her she should be “hung for treason” after Williams posted an open letter on a conservative website calling on delegates to “dump Trump.”
Paladino defended Trump time and again.
Paladino slammed Khizr Khan for his remarks at the Democratic National Convention for his “lack of objectivity and submission to Hillary’s hideous effort to compel him to disgrace the memory of his son.”
He questioned Khan’s motivations, saying Clinton’s staff “obviously wrote the speech.”
“She even bought him the pocket constitution,” Paladino claimed, “which he probably never read but also returned to the staff after the speech.”
In August, Paladino told the media that “there is no doubt” Obama “is a Muslim, he is not a Christian. Look at what he’s done with Iran, what he’s done with the Sunni-Shia thing over in Iraq and Iran, and with ISIS.”
In October, after a tape was released revealing Trump talking about women in a sexually aggressive manner, many Republicans ran away from him.
He told the Washington Post that Trump’s “gutter talk” was “something all normal men do.”
Following his comments, protestors gathered outside a school board meeting to call on Paladino to be removed from his school board seat because of his support of Trump.
Paladino remained defiant. He spoke with 2 On Your Side about Trump’s tape and the protests.
“That’s a man showing his sexual prowess,” he said. “Not every man is capable of that. But many men are. And that goes on in our culture every day…. It’s part of the male thing.”
At the school board meeting, the school board took up a petition for Paladino’s removal with 2,500 signatures.
Paladino didn’t back down. Paladino told News 4 in response to Trump’s comments, “You got street talk, gutter talk, whatever, most men do it, most women do it, it’s part of our culture, it’s part of our society. How does that in any way rise to the felonious conduct of Hillary Clinton?”
He also said later, “For God’s sakes, the guy on the street could give a [expletive] about the video. It doesn’t matter to him. Trump’s support didn’t wane one bit over that friggin’ nonsense.”
When the Washington Post, one of the most virulent anti-Trump publications, did a retrospect on How Donald Trump won: The insiders tell their story, Paladino was featured prominently.
“This is not your normal election,” Paladino said. “This is a political revolution. . . They see this as the answer to something that’s been festering for years and years and years. They know something’s wrong. They know their government has not been straight with them. They know the middle class has been left behind. They also know, why do we have all these billionaires and why as a working man am I so poor?”
Finally, the question was posed, “Why does Donald Trump rise?”
Paladino answered, “Why does he rise? . . . He’s a guy that gets pummeled and pummeled and pummeled and he doesn’t quit. The American people see that.”
And that might be equally said of Paladino himself.
He was the pioneer, his approach to politics was Donald Trump’s modus operendi.
Despite rejection in liberal, New York City-dominated New York State, Paladino set out the path that Trump took to win the presidency.
Consequently, Paladino looms large as one of the influential insiders of the Trump presidency.