Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

July 13 - 27, 2005

Issue #79

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend
   

BLOODY HELL
Tony Blair, Right Honourable Hypocrite
by Allan Uthman

 
VICIOUS CYCLE
Nailing the Interview
by Matt Taibbi
 
TO HELL WITH JUDITH MILLER
That's What I Said
by Stan Goff
 

U.S. POLLING INACCURATE, SAYS NEW POLL
100% Polled Asked Wrong Question

by Matt Taibbi

 

THE JOY OF SAILING
Summer Job Yields Unexpected Lessons
by Matt Higgins

 
TIMEly Features

10 QUESTIONS
For Scott McClellan

 

NOTBULL
Numbers & Quotes

 
FAUX-TURES

ASK DR. CRUISE
Mental Health Advice from the World's Foremost Expert

 

HOLY SHIT!
A Field Guide to Televangelists
by Nick Sorrenti

 

BEAST 5-DAY CELEBRITY FORECAST

 

BUSH SHREDS SKELETOR CRITICS ON BOTH SIDES

 

Sports

The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Beast-O-Scopes
Kino Korner: Movies
[sic] - Letters
 
The BEAST Blog

 

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Party Over

Two recent trends have greatly contributed to the demise of traditional party politics here in Erie County. The first had its origins in the Supreme Court’s acceptance, in 1976, of campaign finance money as the equivalent of “free speech.” This insured that the financial backers of the party mattered far more than casual favor seekers or issue-oriented citizens. Many ordinary people, feeling left out of the political process, sought refuge in third parties or simply tuned out.

The second trend is the advent of financial control boards for both the City and the County, which have the elimination of political patronage as their stated goal, but may in fact merely make graft more efficient for “investors,” as opposed to parasitic, intermediary politicians and their self-interested constituents.

While the friends and family plans of folks like Joel Giambra may soon be history, the new political/business hegemony is on the rise. In this age of permanent national emergency, this feels like security to many Western New Yorkers. But do these boards really have no self-interest? After all, we’re talking about a handful of really rich people sitting at a table together, wielding massive budgetary power—and rich people get that way by taking advantage of their opportunities.

Meanwhile, the old school political hierarchy of the Democratic Party appears to be wobbling as its base of worker bees erodes. Democratic Party Chairman Len Lenihan finds himself with minor insurrections and wildfires to put out, distracting attention from this fall’s main event, the mayoral election.

Lenihan has backed Michele Ianello, wife of political insider Dennis Ward, in her run for retiring Erie County Legislator Chuck Swanick’s seat, thus confirming the negative perception that patronage comes before merit. Cobine this with Ward’s support for Amherst Town Board Republican Bill O’Loughlin, and it raises questions of loyalty and competence of party leadership.

Another sign of fatigue is the free-for-all taking place in the race for Erie County Legislator Al Debenedetti’s seat. Lenihan has done little for endorsed candidate Maria Whyte. As a result, former Buffalo Common Councilman Robert Quintana’s campaign threatens to discredit any reform movement in the Democratic Party. Quintana was made famous for his clashes with gadfly Richard Kern concerning the Councilman’s friends and family plan at City Hall. If elected, Quintana will help prove that the Democrats are also incapable of eschewing political patronage.

Combine this with the emergence of the Primary Challenge movement and we begin to see even deeper fissures in the traditional party facade. Although many of the Primary Challenge candidates represent nothing more than the fringe Libertarian “no taxes” crowd, their anti-incumbent animus has growing resonance across the political spectrum and should not be dismissed out of hand, as both Lenihan and his lame duck counterpart in the GOP, Bob Davis, have done.

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First Brief [1]: Ray McGurn's retribution--->

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