Pass the Kool aid
In a short excerpt injected into his New Year’s Day column, Cermak portends “Democratic insiders” are touting Yepsen as a challenger to state Sen. Joe Bruno and Valerie Keehn to run against state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco. The only lining of truth in this supposition might come from the dying words of the Keehn administration, when her supporters ominously shrieked about a return to politics as they withered into the autumn cool.
And granted, even a known rumor monger like Cermak makes it quite clear Keehn and Yepsen would be hopeless underdogs. But this would be considered a major understatement in any political circle lying between where the Senate Majority leader’s district begins around Northway Exit 16 and where the Assembly Minority leader’s district extends beyond Thruway Exit 25.
Indeed, these areas include lands quite foreign to a pair of upper-class progressives from the Spa City. In fact, one has to wonder if either of these supposed “challengers” have even traversed the ramshackle waterfront in Rensselaer and seen the gigantic bold-letters reading “BRUNO” on a towering factory overlooking the Hudson. Or if they’ve crossed over to the south bank of the Mohawk, traveled past the slums in Hamilton Hill and into the Bellevue neighborhood where James Tedisco’s modest brick home stands.
This is not to say that either legislator should be arbitrarily handed their next term in office. But the reality of the matter is that their names and faces are firmly entrenched throughout the Capital Region and in places that no level of outsider campaigning could never eclipse. No, it will take much more than a pair of prepubescent Davids armed with a slingshot of futile hopes to slay this collection of GOP Goliaths.
Oddly enough, the weakest link among the Bruno-Tedisco tandem may be Bruno himself. He has sworn enemies among the Times Union’s investigative reporters and editorial staff. They’ve managed to quite handily expose Bruno’s illicit dealings and shady dickering, even though their efforts seemingly back-fired with the so-called “Trooper-gate.” More poignantly, however, is that Bruno is rapidly approaching his 80s. Those familiar with his work at the capital are beginning to notice his age; he sometimes trips over words and often appears as a shadow of the fiery pugilist that took office more than three decades ago.
Update: In contrast to other observations relayed here, an Albany insider vigorously disagreed with the notion that Hollywood Joe has lost even a half-step to his swagger. In fact, the insider noted, the senator bounds up staircases, brandishes a wit that makes most straight razors seem dull and carries himself in conversation better than many other aloof politicians in Albany. Perhaps this is true. But keep in mind, the dude was born before the Great Depression; he’s bound to slow down sometime soon.
Still, Bruno has run unopposed in two consecutive elections and was even aided by the Saratoga County Democrats, who declined to endorse attorney Brian Premo against the senator. This doesn’t bode well for Yepsen, who barely has a voice on the Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors and was boldly castigated as a two-faced coattail rider by fellow Democrat and former Supervisor Cheryl Keyrouze.
And then there’s the other, more preposterous part of Cermak’s rumor-mongering: The candidate to challenge Tedisco will be the Spa City’s one-term mayor who almost single-handedly destroyed the city Democrats and was such a polarizing force that she all but handed the reins of the City Council to the same Republican influences she helped oust from office. Sound the laugh track.
Ask anyone outside of the Spa City about Keehn and the most likely response you’ll get is “who?” True, her hubby has some connections in Albany, but not the type that would sway his party into dumping the money it would need to get word-tripping train wreck of a candidate elected over a smooth-talking mainstay in the headlines known for bringing home the pork.
Tedisco’s challenger –if he even has one –will likely be plucked from the Schenectady County Democrat machine, one which has a lot more momentum than the diminutive, shriveled arm of the Saratoga County Democrats and a knock-kneed chairman that sat on the sidelines as the Saratoga Springs Democrats went supernova.
Yes, the Spa City got a good chortle out of Cermak this week. That is, all of the city except the bone-brained Kool-aid drinking progressive that even mentioned Yepsen and Keehn as potential candidates for state office.