By Roger Stone

Carl Paladino
The New York Daily News used to be the newspaper of middle-class New York. The paper favored by the Irish, Italians, Poles, as well as New York's emerging African-American and Latino middle-class, lost its place in the newspaper market by shifting left in its editorial posture and through its columnists tried to become the New York Times. This explains why they have a smaller and smaller share of newspaper readers in the New York metropolitan area. There are no better examples than the elitist rantings of the Daily News columnist Bill Hammond. Hammond went to college and therefore finds it difficult to understand the thinking of the millions of New Yorkers who did not. Hammond doesn't know anyone who works for a living with their hands and thus it is difficult for him to relate to them. His name calling rant against Buffalo businessman and gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino drips with such elitism that it moves me to rebut his Upper East Side thinking with the facts. Hammond sees hypocrisy in the fact that Paladino criticized Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy for switching from the Democratic Party to the GOP. Paladino himself is a former Democrat, who switched to the Republican Party 5 years ago. What Hammond fails to understand is that Paladino switched parties not principles. Previously a conservative Democrat and supporter of Buffalo Democratic Mayor Jimmy Griffin, also a conservative Democrat who endorsed Nixon over McGovern, and Reagan over Mondale. Paladino changed parties when liberals like Sheldon Silver and Mario Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo captured the Democratic Party. Steve Levy's switch is based on a calculation that he cannot defeat New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic Primary. Hammond rejects Paladino's assertion that Levy is a former supporter of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver because Levy "only gave $650" to Silver's campaign fund. Hammond completely ignores the fact that Levy sat contentedly under Silver's whiphand in the State Assembly and never challenged Silver on any major issue. Hammond criticizes Paladino for describing himself as a conservative, but having a history of giving campaign contributions to candidates both Democrats and Republicans, both left and right. But Paladino candidly admits that he has contributed across the spectrum, hoping that some politician would actually prove to be committed to achieving the reforms they all talk about, only to be disappointed time and time again. Hammond, who rarely leaves the power centers of Manhattan or Albany, clearly doesn't understand that the New York voters are "mad as hell" by the continuing saga of corruption, bankruptcy and incompetence coming out of Albany. What Hammond calls "buffoonery" on Paladino's part, may not be couched in the sound bite perfect manner studied by career politicians in which questions from reporters rarely illicit answers of any kind. Paladino speaks the language of the people and the people are pissed. Hammond reports that Paladino said Silver should be sent to Attica but fails to tell his readers that Attorney Paladino spelled out specifically how Silver is taking a 6-figure salary from a personal injury law firm, refusing to disclose the exact amount, or what duties or services he's providing for this compensation, and at the same time he is killing tort reform and worker's compensation reform in the Assembly, which violates the Federal Honest-Services Law under which Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno was recently convicted. If Staten Island District Attorney, Dan Donovan runs for Attorney General, his first platform plank should be "I'll prosecute Shelly". Hammond also jumps on the canard taken up by porcine Congressman Jerrold Nadler that Paladino "cheapened the memory of a national tragedy" when the Buffalo developer said that the passage of Obamacare would be remembered as 9/11 is. Paladino never compared the two tragedies, but because he believes that Obamacare will bankrupt New York, sending the state into a depression, his remarks were neither tasteless nor indefensible. Just as we remember the day (rather than the date) of JFK's assassination, and as older Americans remember the 1929 crash on Wall Street, Paladino may have a point. Lastly, Hammond points out that as an upstate New York landlord, Paladino has leased vast square footage to the state and federal governments, thus benefiting from government programs while railing against government. Since Hammond has never run a business, he probably can't appreciate that the tax and spend orthodoxy has so destroyed the New York economy, that a businessman cannot compete with his business rivals unless he takes advantage of government programs available to all. Paladino has provided space and services to the government at a fair price and was chosen on a competitive basis. Paladino denounces not government itself, but the "culture of corruption" which has grown inside New York state government which is rife with sweetheart deals, quid pro quos, back-scratching and political jockeying, none of which serves the taxpayers. Paladino is the kind of guy who will wear the scorn of the liberal elite like a badge. I wouldn't worry about attacks by Hammond and the New York Daily News, those folks aren't voting for you anyway.