Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby Daddy Trauma—Vito Power-less

“Papa Was A Rolling Stone...Well, Well, Well, Well, We-e-e-e-e-e-ell...”

To live your life as a prominent New York Republican is to drive a rickety, shock absoirber-less jalopy full of nitroglycerin “Wages of Fear” style down a pitted, boulder-filled road. It's a hell of an achievement bouncing along for those years one manages to avoid destruction—until they come to the inevitable, explosive, “Oh-my-God-did-you-see-that?” ending.

It's a Dem city, and as far as the major population centers, a Dem state. But Republicans do get elected to offices of prominence here. They may flourish in the hothouses crafted to keep them alive if you will, but as is the case when anything particularly rare self-destructs, it is a wonder to behold, baby.

Some of you may be old enough yo remember the state's last, real GOP colossus, former governor Nelson Rockefeller. “Rocky” was of that Rockefeller stock. Wealthy, haughty, but with just a touch of the old school noblesse oblige the rich of his generation couldn't really shake. He was sort of Bloomberg-esque in his core policy stances as a Republican, meaning he was for the most part a moderate. But he could switch into hard-core “Law n' Order” Nixonian darky-hating in a fucking heartbeat, which he often did as he got older, enacting the infamously draconian “Rockefeller” drug laws that brutally over-punished a generation, and his creepy cheering on of the massacre at Attica Prison in 1971. Rockefeller would run three times, unsuccessfully for president, but would years later nab the next best prize—the office of vice president when Gerald Ford needed someone to fill his stumble-prone shoes after he unexpectedly ascended to the presidency in 1974 (Thanks, Tricky Dick.). Rocky would finish out the Veep term and semi-retire to private life with his extensive African art collection, his doting wife Happy Rockefeller...and his 26-year old assistant and mistress, one Megan Marshak.

Now, as a born, bred and buttered New Yorker who came of age in the so-called “disco” era, it was hard not to know how the ballers and shot-callers rolled. Famous folk were messily indiscreet with their attempts at being discreet, and Rocky was no exception. He liked 'em young, but he couldn't afford to mess about with the debutante daughters and granddaughters of the people of his rarefied set. That was unseemly. No, his type rolled up to a club like Studio 54 or Xenon and never got their asses out of the limo. When you don't sweat working, why sweat shaking your ass unnecessarily? An advance man would simply enter the place, scoop up a handful of clean-ish-looking lovelies and out the door they would go into a super-stretch hog from Dick Gidron Cadillac and cads like Rocky's sweaty, uncouth arms. He was a reknowned ass-hound with a libido unbound. He also didn't exactly take the best care of himself, living life out loud as an unrepentant voluptuary. He ate to excess. He drank to excess...and in the end, fucked to excess. Rocky keeled over from a massive heart attack in his 54th Street fuckpad office/apartment ass-naked and on top of a terrified Marshak, pinning her under his bacchanalian bulk. She called another young friend on the phone for help, the then fresh-faced journalist Ponchitta Pierce instead of an ambulance and Pierce upon arriving realized the gravity of the situation (quite literally—she had to pull the massive, dead-weighted Rocky off her friend) and called for medical help—too late. The garrulous Rockefeller scion was gone. And the embarrassment over the sordidness of his death only multiplied in town when the after-the-fact cover story—placing him at his office desk high atop his family's namesake building complex Rockefeller Center—got torpedoed by eyewitnesses and later reports from the responding EMTs.

A classic case of “Comin' while goin'”. Farewell, sweet horndog prince.

We move on to New Yorks' next GOP would-be royalty, one Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose meteoric rise to power and subsequent ignominious fall has been well chronicled here. But let's key in on the abortive attempt to resuscitate his moribund political career this past primary season, where his creepy, underhanded peccadilloes were unearthed anew, revealing heretofore untold tales of ass-grabbery and dirt-doing. Giuliani was touted as the “golden boy” early on this year in the GOP sweepstakes by the myopic pundit class who'd been tossing Rudy's arugula since September 11th—totally either forgetting or willfully ignoring the real ugliness of his local past.

It didn't take long, really. As predicted here, New York's press exhumed the corpse of Giuliani's lifeless political career here and ran “new” tests on it the way scientists do with ancient Egyptian mummies to discover new things about an old death. And in so doing, the world—but more importantly—GOP primary voters would hear anew about his callousness toward his second wife Donna Hanover, and new revelations about his diversion of and misuse of city monies and personnel to hide his Viagra™-fueled chickie-chasing. In no time flat, thanks to said intrepid investigative reporting and people finally starting to look at the previously reported stuff, he was done-er than he was after his first political death in 2000. Not only did the re-animation not take, but the freshly-turned sordidness seemed to bond to Rudy's very DNA like a virus he can't shake. It's with him forever now. Incurable. Always laying there ready to “outbreak” whenever he shows his face in a poliitical setting. Oh, did I mention the impending trial of his trusted “wingman” Bernard Kerik and how the exposure of his power-crazed hubris cast a bright light on the rapid, downward moral spiral of Giuliani's second mayoral term in NY? Didn't have to, did I.

And now, here in the summer of 2008 we have the latest New York Republican hot-house flower to wilt and then burn in the sunlight of the national stage, poor GOP Congressman Vito Fossella.

Fossella is, (and probably soon will be, was) the lone downstate Republican congressional representative from New York State. Why does that matter? “Downstate” New York and it's immediate “exurbs” while counting for about 10% of the state's land mass actually holds close to 65% of its population. It's where the bulk of the congressional power lies, and as the party demographics break down at a 5:1 Dem to GOP ratio there, any Republican who can get elected there is in essence a rare beast. A winged, golden-maned, diamond-shitting unicorn in terms of political rarity.

Fossella's district? The overwhelmingly White (80%—unheard of anyplace else in Downstate NY) and decidedly xenophobic tip of Southern Brooklyn and ALL of Staten Island—a borough that put forth secession plans as soon as the city's first and only Black mayor was elected. Needless to say, they dropped the whole secession idea once Rudy was elected, but hey—that's Fossella's base, people. “The Fighting 400,000” or so who hate progressives and anything remotely so with a white-hot passion. They voted Vito into the legacy GOP seat (previously held by Susan Molinari of the odious Molinari family that effectively rules the borough) and he's held it for a decade. Nowhere near a star on his own, nor much of an intellect or bill-writer, Fossella's been little more than a guaranteed rubber stamp for Beltway D.C. policies, ruling his little fiefdom not so much with an iron hand, but with a sure vote. As an NY GOP “star”, he's that dog at the circus that walks / hops gimpily on its hind legs—and is cheered for, not because he's doing it particularly well, but mainly because he's even doing it at all. A big, swollen whale in a two-gallon fish-tank Vito was.

And when wingnut bigwigs came to town, Vito was a man to see, as he sort of validated their presence in the otherwise largely Democratic city. In fact, this past April when Vice President Cheney parked his Star Destroyer near town, he made a special local appearance with Vito to raise funds for Fossella's now-dead campaign for another term.

A now-dead campaign because of this little story you may have heard about:

Rep. Vito J. Fossella (R-N.Y.) was arrested overnight in Alexandria and charged with driving while intoxicated, court records showed today.

Fossella is scheduled to appear in Alexandria General District Court on May 12 for an advisement hearing, the records said.

Which the details of, got hoarier...

The arrest capped a long and seemingly upbeat day. In the morning, he attended an address to a joint session of Congress by Ireland’s prime minister, Bertie Ahern, six days before Mr. Ahern’s resignation. Then he went to the White House for the ceremony for the Giants.

The details on where Mr. Fossella went after that are sketchy. The Daily News reported that the evening ended at a Washington pub and that Mr. Fossella and a friend were so drunk they had to be asked to leave.

And hoarier, as they leaked out like shit from an overstuffed diaper...

To get his very own gold star, the officers asked Vito to complete a very hard big-boy task: recite the alphabet, starting from D. “Mr. Fossella started: ‘D, E, F, H, G, H, I, J, L,’”. Ohhhh, so close! While the alphabet on Staten Island does have 2 H’s (see local dictionary, yes = “Huh” and no = “uh-uh”), he missed the K!

And then...oh, my...

When cops stopped Rep. Vito Fossella for drunken driving, the married congressman said he was rushing to see his sick daughter on nearby Grimm St. - the home of the mystery woman who later plucked him from jail. Fossella's spokeswoman has insisted the single mom, Air Force Col. Laura Fay, 45, was only a "good friend," but the Staten Island Republican implied to suburban D.C. cops that Fay's 3-year-old was his.

“The subject stated that he was driving down from Washington D.C., to Grimm St. because his daughter was sick and needed to go to the hospital,” a police report obtained by the Daily News reveals.

The report describes how Fossella, who has a wife and three children in New York, failed a sobriety test by reciting the alphabet wrong, swaying while standing on one leg and stumbling while trying to walk a straight line.

“When I looked at his lips, I noticed they were stained red,” the Alexandria, VA cop wrote. “He stated that he had about two or three glasses of wine...”

Cops said Fossella had a blood-alcohol level of 0.17, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Seven hours after his arrest, Fossella was released to Fay, who lives 3 miles from thespot where cops stopped him for running a red light.

Susan Del Percio, a crisis management consultant hired after the arrest, refused to answer “yes” or "no" when asked if Fossella fathered Fay's daughter.

“This is a demeaning and highly inappropriate question,” she said yesterday. She gave the same answer when asked the question the previous day.

And you knew from the jump that it would end with this...

“I have had a relationship with Laura Fay, with whom I have a three-year-old daughter,“ Fossella, 43, said in a statement.

Fay, 45, is a retired Air Force intelligence officer who may have met Fossella when she served as a congressional liaison from the Pentagon.

“My personal failings and imperfections have caused enormous pain to the people I love and I am truly sorry.”

Cue The Temptations, ya'll:

“And Mama, some bad talk going around town saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.

And that ain't right.”

Vito fought the scandal-caused, inevitable loss of his seat for about...oh, ten days or so once it got out that he'd been playing “Johnny Applesperm” up and down the eastern seaboard, but the die was cast. The GOP bosses in D.C. told “V”, 'See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya', and set out to find a replacement to run in Fossella's stead in November. Which was greeted not with the rumble of a multitude of footsteps of would-be candidates, but rather, the plaintive trill...

...of crickets.

Woefully few wanted the job it seemed, and that's a “tell” and a half about the state of things in a severely wounded Republican party. It was a mere 18 months ago when there was braggadocious talk among the Beltway set—and in wildly hyped books even—about “A Permanent Republican Majority”. (I swear, I don't know what's funnier—Hugh Hewitt's nutrageous pronouncements or the thought of him karaoke-ing Kelis' “Milkshake”) The 2006 congressional mid-terms began to show the folly of that ill-founded hubris when Democrats overcame Karl Rove's trusty diamond-encrusted abacus and whomped the wingnuts royally. And then, in the several congressional special elections since then, it has been loss after loss after loss. Throw in the poll trending since '06 where the GOP is across the board, apparently in for a further drubbing on Capitol Hill and in dire straits in the presidential race, and the writing appears not merely on the wall for the Grand Olde Party, but it is laser-etched into the inner eyelids of anyone who can read...

The Republican brand is right down there with Valu-Jet, The Yugo, and fast-food tomatoes right about now. Fossella was one of the last of Congress' northeastern Republicans, having seen most of the last ones picked off like fat, wooden carny ducks a year and a half ago, so you would think he'd at the very least be a bit careful with his shit. But he decided to blithely open and star in a crappy, road-tour of “Big Love: The Musical”, thinking he'd get away with it. Didn't go down that way, br'uh. But the fact that the party hierarchy had so much trouble finding a sucker-ass replacement to run in his place shouldn't be too big a surprise.

It takes time to run a campaign. And time is fucking money if you haven't forgotten, kids. When the internal polling party-wide comes up with orphanage fires and kitten-punting testing better among voters than the GOP, potential candidates are going to be piss-poor few and far between. Why bother?

Why bother, indeed?. I'm not the only one who's noticed this trend. Take a trip over to Kos' place and use the search function and watch the assembled carnage arise from your browser window. It's an avalanche of apathy, a dirge of despair, and an ode to overweening oh-shitty-ness.

NY's wingnuts finally found a sap to run for Fossella's seat, Todt Hill resident Frank Powers, but not without having several candidates they asked say 'Are you out of your fucking minds?' I got belly-button lint to pick, man!', and keep on steppin'. Thus with one fell swoop, or actually several rather unfortunate boudoir up-swoops and down-swoops, yet another Empire State Republican not only screwed up his political career and for extra measure, very possibly chucked a sure seat the party desperately needed to hold against an elephant-drowning sea-change on the way.

It's Vito power-less, and unfortunately for the Republicans—his party even moreso. And double-fuck the idea of McCain electoral coattails, folks. He doesn't even have a jacket on...and his party's much more in need of something along the lines of a dress with a fifty-foot train attached..

And I think we all know how ridiculous that would look...