With an interesting cast of characters sitting on stage during Monday night’s gubernatorial debate in New York, the candidates for New York Governor squared off in a dialogue that seemed more like an SNL skit. And this morning, most are Googling Jimmy McMillan of “The rent is 2 damn high party,” yes, you read the name of his party correctly.
Wearing black gloves, and donning Colonel Sanders facial hair, McMillan grabbed the spotlight from what was primarily a battle between Republican Carl Paladino and front-runner Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo.
“As a karate expert, I will not talk about anyone up here,” McMillan said. “Because our children can’t afford to live anywhere. Nowhere. There’s nowhere to go.”
“Once again, why?” (dramatic pause) “You said it. The rent is too damn high.”
Although it was unclear as to what side of the political fence McMillan is on, it seems he leans a little to the left – and one thing is for sure – if elected, he would first bring down rent for New Yorkers. Also, apparently, he supports gay marriage, telling the audience, “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.”
So who is this new American folk hero? Sixty-four -year-old McMillan is a retired postal worker and Vietnam War veteran from Brooklyn who ran for mayor in 2005. If you’re thinking McMillan might be the breath of fresh air New York needs, it doesn’t look like he’s got the makings of a future governor. During his run for office in 2005, he blamed rent problems on Jews.
When asked how he’d tackle the state’s multi-billion deficit, he declared, “It’s like a cancer. It will heal itself.”
And when asked what skills he’s bring, he referenced his “karate” skills.
“Listen!” Jimmy McMillan said with a hand cupped over his ear. “A child’s stomach just growled!”
Other candidates were almost as funny – including Kristin Davis, Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s former madam, former Black Panther and city council member Charles Barron, Green Partier Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Warren Redlich.
Of the lineup, the New York Times complained, “The first — and possibly last — debate in the New York race for governor unfolded as 90 minutes of political theater verging on farce Monday night, with a format that allowed even cursory discussion of issues like taxes and schools to be interrupted by random one-liners and sometimes inexplicable answers.”