There's been precious little political news this week. Unless, of course you are a Democrat, then you celebrated second coming of President Barack Obama [cue Chorus of Angels]. But there's always Five things to talk about, isn't there?
1. Hail Obama, Father of Us All: After a week of breathless local media buildup, President Barack Obama arrived in Buffalo to pump up his base and trot out more of his "grand bargain" jobs plan. At University of Buffalo (Represent!) he unveiled a plan to ease access to higher education, presumably to graduate more jobless young people so they can live in their parents basement. Our problem isn't a lack of qualified workers - we don't have jobs for the workforce we have in America. With unemployment numbers emerging lathered in Carteresque malaise, you would think the President might come to the third poorest city in the country and talk about how he will help create jobs today - not train a workforce for the future. According to some analysts, he is testing out a jobs message on the faithful in Dark Blue New York because he's got an eye on future partisan battles. Regardless, it was a boost for my alma mater that he made the case at a university at the top of its class. One pretty impressive UB student got a chance to introduce the President of the United States and that's pretty cool, I don't care who you are. Area Republicans were particularly excited, since any Democrat operative worth their salt wasted two full days fielding the hard-to-get tickets, waiting in line at UB and attending the event. Instead, Republicans worked to defeat those Dems. And, finally, President Obama's gaffe calling out "Mayor Brian Higgins" - that's comedy gold.
2. Mayor Brown is Furlongs Ahead: A Buffalo News-WGRZ poll announced Sunday showed 61 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in Buffalo backed incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, compared with 32 percent supporting his challenger Bernie Tolbert. With 20 days left in the contest, 43 percent don't know enough about Tolbert to vote for him. Importantly, the Mayor's re-elect numbers were strong while Tolbert's negative sentiment spiked significantly to 20 percent. Tolbert's team is showing some life, calling Brown out on police statistics and popping an ad to highlight Obama forgetting his name at the UB podium. The problem: He's not getting any traction. While there's still time for Tolbert to introduce himself to that 43 percent, unless something remarkable happens this primary is all over but the shouting.
3. Eliot Spitzer, Brother From Another Mother: By the looks of things, some pollster has convinced disgraced former governor and New York City Comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer that he's got running room in the Big Apple's African American Community. Because by the looks of things, if you're black, Eliot's all up in your face nowadays. He is also keeping some pretty questionable company, but not courtesans - a disgraced lobbyist with shady pals and a pariah racist Democrat leader who has made his disdain for Jews rather obvious. One thing is clear from the whoremonger's new running buddies: the hooker-loving heir to millions is spreading the wealth. Casting Spitzer as some voice of the Black community is a huge stretch, but he'll stop at nothing to win an election. I'm sure the new recreation centers popping up at key Black churches after Primary Day will be totally coincidental.
4. Another Lawyer Calls a Bribe a Retainer: Disgraced former Democrat Senator Malcolm Smith is taking down another Republican in his scuttled attempt to bribe his way to the party's nomination for Mayor of New York City. Manhattan GOP chair Dan Isaacs, a ubiquitous face in statewide Republican primaries and downstate horse trading, allegedly met with an FBI informant who offered him $30,000 to help secure Smith the party's endorsement. His winning the election was, of course, a metaphysical impossibility, but it wasn't about winning. It was about the City's public matching funds that would hand Smith $6 for every $1 he raised. That would be a tidy nest egg for Smith, who made a habit of spending campaign funds on his personal life for years. Now Republicans, always eager to feed on their own kind, are calling for Isaacs resignation. Apparently he's tainted - as if he wasn't already tainted just for being a lawyer in the first place.
5. Zellner 1, GOP 0: Late Friday, Democrat Judge Henry Nowak decided in favor of Erie County Democrat Chair Jeremy Zellner in partisan political litigationof over the fate of 18 non-Democrats who Zellner authorized to run on the Democrat line. Republicans (and a few Democrats) charge Zellner failed to file his Wilson Pakula exemptions on time, as they were postmarked a day after the deadline. Nowak's decision cleared ten candidates who had no opponents in the Democrat primary, including Aurora clerk candidate Colleen Siener, positioning her for an upset win over incumbent Martha Librock. The judge also believed the Democrat operative who mailed the paperwork, Erich Weyant, and the Postmaster who both swore Weyant asked for but did not receive an accurate date stamp before the deadline. As far as I can tell, nobody explained why Weyant didn't check the paperwork and say "Hey, wait a second fella. You didn't stamp this correctly." Was there something more important he had to do that day? While Zellner took a victory lap, Republicans expected this defeat in Nowak's court and are preparing an appeal in friendlier territory.
Well, there's my first Friday Five, right before midnight. Peter Herr is missed here at PoliticsNY.net, but we'll soon announce a replacement - and Herr's beloved Five will continue in perpetuity. Best wishes Peter!