The Republic Party convention in New York has endorsed former Congressman Rick Lazio for governor. I am aghast at the continuing presence of this sleazeball in public life. Lazio has, so far as I can find out, not a single legislative achievement to his name, nor is he associated with any particular cause beyond his own ambition. The man must be a consummate operator, because he keeps worming his way into cozy deals. He snagged the Republican nomination to run for Congress from Long Island just in time to catch the 1994 Republican wave, then used the post to ingratiate himself with the financial titans of New York; after he was trounced by carpet-bagger-in-reverse Hillary Clinton in the 2000 Senate race, he slid comfortably into a senior executive post at Chase Manhattan Bank. From there, Lazio snagged a seat on the Board of Directors that oversaw the deconstruction of Polaroid, a disgusting back-room deal in which the pension fund was looted to repay a gang of well-connected investors. Lazio, like the other board members, was paid $512,000 for a few months of part time work, while each Polaroid retiree got $47.
The Republican Party of New York once produced Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey, Nelson Rockefeller, and other famous figures, but things don't look so great for them these days; Lazio's main opponent for the nomination was a county supervisor who had been a Democrat until a few months ago.