The main takeaway from last night's New York gubernatorial debate: THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH. Of course, we've known that since 2005, because Jimmy McMillan has been making his Rent Is Too Damn High Party platform known to New York City for a while, but during the debate, heavily favored Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo was compelled to chime in, "I'm with Jimmy, the rent is too damn high." (Video below, plus the full 90-minute debate is here)
The second takeaway: It was debate as silly season theater; as the NY Times put it:
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.
Kristin Davis, a former prostitution madam, made frequent brothel jokes.
Jimmy McMillan, the candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, responded to a question about same-sex marriage by declaring “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.”
And Carl P. Paladino, the Republican candidate, startled those watching by accidentally walking off stage during the closing statements, in search of the men’s room.
“When you gotta go, you gotta go,” Mr. Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael R. Caputo, said afterward, by way of explanation.
Paladino and Cuomo opted not to directly criticize each other, instead laying most of the blame at Albany's doorstep. Cuomo said, "I know this state like nobody else on this stage. I understand the disgust with Albany, and I share it," while Paladino said, "My critics, they want to say I'm angry. No, I'm passionate about saving the state of New York. Our government doesn't need a tweaking. It needs a major overhaul, now." This left Freedom Party candidate, City Councilman Charles Barron, to attack Cuomo, saying, "Cuomo will be the king of layoffs," (Cuomo responded, "If they go with you Charles, they'd have no jobs").
Warren Redlich, the Libertarian candidate, said, “I've never been caught with a prostitute, my dad wasn't governor, and I've never been convicted of a crime," while Davis came armed with numerous zingers: "The key difference between the MTA and my former escort agency is that I operated one set of books and my former agency delivered on time and reliable service"; calling Albany politicians "the biggest whores," she said she was the only one with the experience to handle them; and she said Paladino's stock transfer tax plan would make businesses flee "quicker than Carl Paladino at a gay bar."
Afterwards, Paladino's spokesman Michael Caputo said that he thought McMillan "won the debate."