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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, June 18, 2006

The idiot's derby

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press
Kathleen Troia McFarland and John Spencer
are in the Sept. 12 primary.

Eyes Are on Mrs. Clinton, but Fists Are on Each Other
Published: June 18, 2006

The two of them are unknown to most New Yorkers. They are both Republicans running for office in a year when Democrats hold advantages. And between them, they have a fraction of the cash as their ultimate target, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But in the battle for the Republican nomination for United States Senate, John Spencer and Kathleen Troia McFarland can lay claim to at least one weapon: They have each other.

Recalling the primary contests of George E. Pataki in 1994 and Charles E. Schumer in 1998, Mr. Spencer and Ms. McFarland hope that a long, hot summer of fighting for the nomination will, in turn, strengthen their mettle as candidates and raise their profile. In doing so they hope to lay the groundwork for the virtually unfathomable, ousting Mrs. Clinton in November.

Yet neither Republican has shown the strength thus far of Mr. Pataki, who beat Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, or Mr. Schumer, who bumped off Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato. Instead, Mr. Spencer and Ms. McFarland have been locked in a destructive political tango, and it is undermining their chances to exploit the stop-Hillary passions and draw money nationally to their campaigns.

Not a day goes by that the two camps are not sparring. Mr. Spencer, 59, a former mayor of Yonkers, assails Ms. McFarland as a liberal and as being a little kooky; almost every day, his team mentions the helicopters that Ms. McFarland once said were spying on her at Mrs. Clinton's behest. (Ms. McFarland said she was joking.)

Ms. McFarland, 54, a former Pentagon spokeswoman during the Reagan administration, is more taciturn and white-glove than Mr. Spencer, but her aides have bashed him as an arch-conservative and a bigamist: While he was married and serving as mayor, Mr. Spencer had an affair and fathered two children with a top aide.

Most reporters listen, most voters do not, and the two candidates are back on the attack the next day, again searching for a knockout punch.

The primary is Sept. 12, and many national Republican groups will not donate until then — or until one of them drops out. Even then, the Republican nominee might be so damaged by the summertime sallies that Mrs. Clinton will waltz to re-election with a huge percentage of the vote — which is the goal of her advisers, who want to set up a possible presidential run in 2008.

This is the best the NYGOP can do? A nutjob and a bigamist?

Jesus. But it is amusing.

posted by Steve @ 12:07:00 AM

12:07:00 AM

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