Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NYGOP in Turmoil?

Is the New York Republican Party about to implode? So suggests prominent Albany political writer Fred Dicker of the New York Post. Writes Dicker:

"Class warfare is erupting in the New York GOP with a fury unseen since a proudly pushy, middle-class suburban, conservative Italo-American took on a polished political icon of the rich liberal Manhattan Republican establishment more than a quarter century ago.

Al D'Amato's paradigm-shattering struggle against Sen. Jacob K. Javits set the direction for the state GOP for decades. In this year's replay, the same Rockefeller/Javits/Wall Street wing of the party - now represented by Gov. Pataki, former Mayor Giuliani, longtime Rockefeller buddy Henry Kissinger and Manhattan GOP boss James Ortenzio - is backing two ultra-wealthy, pro-choice, pro-gay-rights Protestant Manhattan aristocrats: blueblood William Weld for governor, and Park Avenue housewife-cum-foreign-policy-expert Kathleen McFarland for U.S. Senate.

The party's D'Amato wing, most clearly represented by small-business-oriented upstate leaders, has lined up behind two suburban, middle-class, anti-abortion ethnic Catholics: gubernatorial hopeful John Faso, whose father was a TV repairman and school janitor, and Senate hopeful John Spencer, the ex-mayor of gritty Yonkers, whose father worked in construction and groomed Westchester golf courses for the likes of the Rockefellers.

... I
f the likes of McFarland and Weld again set the agenda for the state GOP, D'Amato won't be alone, many local party leaders agree: Hundreds of thousands of other working-and middle-class Republicans - who have nothing in common with the likes of Pataki, Giuliani, Kissinger and Ortenzio - will be pulling the Democratic lever on Election Day."

Dicker goes on to suggest that former senator D'Amato is considering endorsing Eliot Spitzer for governor, which given recent polling data as well as Spitzer's record as attorney general doesn't seem like too far-fetched an idea at all; heck, I'm as likely to support Spitzer at this point as I am any Republican candidate because I respect what he's done for the state and I think he'd make a good governor.

Will the state GOP splinter? Probably not. Will they benefit from a few years in the political wilderness? Almost certainly.


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