Mark Grimm

 

Astorino & the Paladino-Skelos Tightrope

If Republicans in a deep blue state like New York are to unseat a well-funded Governor, they cannot be at war with each other.

Easier said than done.

A top aide to Republican Governor candidate Rob Astorino, Bill O’Reilly, called Senate Republican co-leader Dean Skelos Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “prison punk” for embracing Cuomo’s agenda.

Ouch. It threw kerosene on the fire involving the difficult tightrope Astorino must walk. The last thing an aide should do is create a problem for his candidate. The Astorino camp has to stand its ground without making it personal.

O’Reilly’s frustration with Senate Republicans is legitimate. They have not provided the strong opposition voice needed to counter the millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded commercials Mr. Cuomo has run to convince New Yorkers things are just great. They’re not. We rank dead last in far too many categories.

Lower taxes, limited government, protection of individual liberty — these are not just slogans. These are big ticket items worth fighting for.

The Senate Republican leadership is focused on self preservation. It’s easy to understand why. New York is getting bluer by the moment and they feel taking credit for success is their best strategy for survival. It hasn’t been working. When a blue state is given a choice between a Democrat and Democrat Lite, it chooses the Democrat.

Astorino must also deal with former GOP Governor candidate Carl Paladino, who insists Astorino must call for the resignations of Skelos and Assembly Republican Leader Brian Kolb. Paladino’s frustrations with New York’s problems are shared by many New Yorkers, but his “my way or the highway” temperament got a test run in 2010 and it ended with 34% of the vote.

Astorino’s tightrope is to be a strong voice for frustrated New Yorkers without alienating the Republican leadership he needs to pull off the upset. The Republican leadership, for its part, needs to talk more about what needs to be fixed.

Rob Astorino has the electoral track record, passion and articulate style to be the leader New York desperately needs. It’s time for all Republicans to start rowing in the same direction.

And, please, drop the name calling.

The writer is a Republican who won a board seat in a Democrat town and once served as a senior aide in the NY State Assembly.

Why Cantor Upset Should Give You Hope

Dave Brat

A classic career politician beaten by an under funded first-time candidate. Maybe there is hope after all.

The House Majority Leader lost a primary Tuesday in his own party. That has never happened before. Never.

An economics professor, Dave Brat, defeated Republican Eric Cantor by 11 points in Virginia. Cantor outspent Brat by about 30 to one. The turnout was up nearly 40% from Cantor’s last primary.

Those with political agendas are rushing in to place their own self-serving spin on why such history was made. Be wary of them all. No one reason can fully explain such a shocker. Advocates on both sides of the immigration fight say that issue alone made the difference. Too simplistic. Others say it reflected a Tea Party resurgence. The Tea Party is not a monolith and every candidate is different. Besides, national Tea Party groups largely sat this one out. Some even suggest, Democrats, who are allowed to vote in GOP primaries there, did Cantor in. This mischievous factor may explain a few points, but not a big win.

A principal reason for Cantor’s defeat is that he lost contact with his own district. He’s spent the past 14 years in Congress moving up the ladder, obsessed with his national ambitions. The fact he was shocked by his defeat confirms he was out of touch with the people who sent him there. On Primary Day morning, Cantor was at a fancy fundraiser in Washington, not in his district. Like career politicians, he tried to have it both ways on immigration. And he even ran attack ads accusing Brat of being a “liberal.” Career politicians think they can convince the people black is white if they spend enough money.

Dave Brat ran a grass roots campaign speaking at one function after another. Tune in¬†to form your own opinion. It shows the impact a group of highly motivated activists can have. Brat is bright, informed and plain spoken — comfortable in his own skin. Brat believes in the Republican creed of free markets, fiscal responsibility and adherence to the constitution. Too bad, he says, “Republicans don’t follow it.”

Too many in the GOP establishment see the Tea Party movement as the enemy because it feels it threatens their path to success. Some “Tea Party” candidates have been nut jobs but the fundamental frustrations the movement represents need to be addressed by all politicians. If the GOP establishment fails to recognize this, then it is blocking its success on its own.

Politics has a new David and Goliath story. Will there be others? Will you be one of them?

The writer is a former elected Republican official and a small business owner.

 

Coburn’s Rant Tarnishes California Chrome Story

California’s Chrome got tarnished and it was not the horse’s fault.

As a kid, my dad would tell me, “always count to 10 before you speak when you’re upset.” California Chrome’s co-owner Steve Coburn could have used Fred Grimm’s advice after the Belmont Stakes.

Coburn’s rant on national television¬†tarnished what has been a beautiful “feel good” journey for the underdog horse and his long-shot owners. Coburn did not congratulate the winner. Instead, he sniped, “this is the coward’s way out” for any horse owner who enters his/her horse in the Belmont and not race in the other two Triple Crown races.

It is true it’s hard to beat fresh horses in the grueling mile-and-a-half race. And there’s room for legitimate discussion about the challenge the Derby winner must face. But meeting the challenge is what makes the Triple Crown winner so special. Coburn knew the rules before the races began and if he had won, I doubt you would have heard a peep about the rules. Coburn enjoyed the warm glow of publicity when his horse was winning. It’s too bad he was not willing to let the Belmont winner have the same experience. He even snapped at his wife who was trying to calm him down.

I can cut him a little slack given the heat of the moment. But Coburn needs to apologize to the “cowards” he insulted and congratulate the winner.

If he doesn’t, then he is a horse’s a–.

The writer is a speaking coach and communication crisis counselor.