Thursday, February 17, 2011

The contradictions of George Pataki: from crony capitalism (with AY) to Tea Party rhetoric, fueling a possible presidential run

Former New York State Governor (1995-2006) George Pataki, once known as a moderate Republican, has been "using fiery Tea Party rhetoric and hidden donations" to attack Democrats on health care via the Revere America nonprofit he recently headed, according to the 10/16/10 New York Daily News.

More recently, Politico reported February 2, Pataki has left Revere America (announcement) to explore a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, a race widely seen as a long shot. He should decide this month, a backer told Politico.

Atlantic Yards and the Tea Party

Beyond having to explain his relatively moderate record, Pataki faces another challenge: explaining to Tea Party types how his support for wired projects like Atlantic Yards, with indicia of crony capitalism and the equivalent of earmarks, fit with Revere America's philosophy:
Revere America is a new organization dedicated to advancing common sense public policies rooted in our traditions of freedom and free markets that will once again make America secure and prosperous for generations to come.
Remember, Pataki put his chief campaign fundraiser, Charles Gargano, in charge of the Empire State Development Corporation, and made a deal with law school classmate Bruce Ratner for Atlantic Yards.

Above right, that's Pataki holding a basketball at the 1/23/04 press conference announcing the sale of the New Jersey Nets to an ownership group led by Bruce Ratner. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is at the podium, and Nets spokesman Bernard King, since disappeared, is at left.

Here's the better-known photo of Ratner, Pataki, Markowitz and others holding up Nets uniforms.

Pataki and hoops

By the way, the 6'5" Pataki looks comfortable with a basketball because, well, he used to hoop somewhat. The 9/23/03 Downtown Express described Pataki as the "former center for the Dewey Ballantine law firm basketball team."

The 12/5/04 New York Magazine even reported that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Pataki "played basketball together when both were in the Assembly."

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