Is John Faso Fighting An Unbeatable Foe?On a summer evening in 1999, Republican stalwart and then–State Assembly Minority Leader John Faso John Faso (1952-) was the Republican nominee for Governor of New York in 2006, and was defeated by Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer in the largest defeat for a Republican gubernatorial candidate in the state's history. broke with character: He let his hair down and sang.
Lifting his libretto libretto (ləbrĕt`ō) [Ital.,=little book], the text of an opera or an oratorio. Although a play usually emphasizes an integrated plot, a libretto is most often a loose plot connecting a series of episodes. from Man of La Mancha La Man·cha
A region of south-central Spain. The high, mostly barren plateau is famous as the setting for Cervantes's Don Quixote. , Mr. Faso cast himself as Don Quixote and crooned a parody of “The Impossible Dream” at an annual dinner sponsored by the Albany press corps. His song was a paean Paean (pē`ən), Paean was an epithet for Apollo, the healer. The paean, a hymn of praise to Apollo and often to other gods, was sung as a prayer for safety or deliverance at battles and other important occasions. to the unreachable Speaker’s seat, rendered somewhat unintelligible UNINTELLIGIBLE. That which cannot be understood.
2. When a law, a contract, or will, is unintelligible, it has no effect whatever. Vide Construction, and the authorities there referred to. when he bungled bun·gle
v. bun·gled, bun·gling, bun·gles
To work or act ineptly or inefficiently.
To handle badly; botch. See Synonyms at botch.
n. parts of the script. The next day, Mr. Faso’s performance was panned by reporters—they’d been more impressed by a Star Wars skit that featured the Governor as Obi-Wan Pataki.
Now that he’s campaigning for the Republican gubernatorial nod, Mr. Faso, 53, is still trying to edge his way into the spotlight. But men with bigger names and fatter wallets have cast a shadow across his candidacy. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld basks in the attention of his biggest backer, Republican State Committee chairman Stephen Minarik, and is also believed to be George Pataki’s tacit pick. Tom Golisano, the Rochester billionaire and perennial Independence Party candidate, is the favorite of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and is expected to enter the Republican race in January.
On Dec. 12, the state’s 62 Republican county chairmen are scheduled to convene in Albany and vote on consensus nominees for statewide office. Mr. Bruno has asked Mr. Minarik to postpone the vote but, as of press time, it was still on the calendar. Meanwhile, the very public spat between Mr. Bruno and Mr. Minarik over nominees has disgusted rank-and-file Republicans, who believe that their leaders are bowling for dollars Bowling for Dollars was a 1970s-era TV game show on which ordinary people could try their hand at the sport of bowling. Contestants won cash and sometimes prizes based on how well they bowled. while the party burns.
Keeping a respectful distance from the fray, Mr. Faso has so far refused to hit back, even after Mr. Minarik said that he “lives in la-la land.” Talking to The Observer on Dec. 5, Mr. Faso reiterated an earlier response: He has never been to la-la land but might consider a visit. “If there were any voters there, I’d be making a trip very soon,” he said with a laugh.
Indeed, Mr. Faso been making a lot of trips lately, tirelessly canvassing the state and trying to build a grass-roots base that money can’t buy.
“No one gets these things handed to them,” he said of the Republican nod. “You have to earn them.” But what about Mr. Weld and Mr. Golisano, both of whom, some would argue, are getting the silver-platter treatment?
“I don’t want to be the pundit An expert or knowledgeable person. From "pandit" in Hindi. See guru. or the prognosticator,” Mr. Faso replied. “I’m just out there talking about what my vision is for the state.”
Highly fashionable celebrities; the smart set: "private parties on Park Avenue and Central Park West, where the literati mingled with glitterati" notwithstanding, Mr. Faso is in some ways the most qualified candidate in the Republican field, which also includes former Secretary of State Randy Daniels and Assemblyman Pat Manning. Only Mr. Faso has come within a whisker of winning statewide office in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of . In 2002, when he ran for State Comptroller with meager mea·ger also mea·gre
1. Deficient in quantity, fullness, or extent; scanty.
2. Deficient in richness, fertility, or vigor; feeble: the meager soil of an eroded plain.
3. party support, little was expected of him. But Mr. Faso raised $7.5 million and lost with dignity to the overwhelming favorite, Democrat Alan Hevesi, by just 3 percent.
For the sake of party unity, Mr. Faso has also made the ultimate chivalrous chiv·al·rous
1. Having the qualities of gallantry and honor attributed to an ideal knight.
2. Of or relating to chivalry.
3. Characterized by consideration and courtesy, especially toward women. sacrifice. In 1994, at the behest of Republican officials, he fell on his sword and gave up a vigorous campaign for State Comptroller so that Herb London, who had been jousting jousting
Medieval Western European mock battle between two horsemen who charged at each other with leveled lances in an attempt to unseat the other. It probably originated in France in the 11th century, superseding the mêlée, in which mock battles were held between with gubernatorial candidate George Pataki for the Conservative Party line, could run for Comptroller instead.
“It’s water over the dam. I’m not resentful about that,” he said of Mr. London’s candidacy, which ended in defeat to H. Carl McCall. “The only regret is that, in ’94, I probably would have been elected; ’94 was a year when Republicans did very well in New York State and across the country. But I have no regrets.”
With martyrdom on his résumé, Mr. Faso should have earned some chits with state Republicans that he could cash in 2006. But cash, suggest party officials, is exactly Mr. Faso’s problem. On Nov. 30, Mr. Weld’s kickoff fund-raiser—a $1,000-per-head affair in the rooftop ballroom of the St. Regis Hotel—generated a reported $1.5 million in donations. Mr. Faso’s first fund-raiser, scheduled for Dec. 12 after the state committee vote, will be a more modest affair, with tickets starting at $150 apiece, at Jack’s Oyster House in downtown Albany. Still, Mr. Faso said he has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with his opponents, and he’s prepared to raise $40 million to $50 million to run for Governor. He added that, since mid-September, he has already banked around $1 million.
Michael Long, chairman of the state Conservative Party, argued that the wealth gap isn’t everything. “I think he’d be an articulate spokesman for conservative Republican values,” he said of Mr. Faso. “I don’t believe that elections are totally about money. It’s about principles.”
So, four years after his dignified defeat at the hands of Mr. Hevesi, Mr. Faso is running again. He hasn’t officially announced his candidacy yet, but he has hired a staff and is campaigning wholeheartedly whole·heart·ed
Marked by unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm: wholehearted approval.
whole . He says he expects to win the Republican vote on Dec. 12 and also expects to be the Conservative nominee; in all his dogged glory, he has the hallmarks of a real contender. Still, the question looms large: Will he become the Don Quixote of state Republican politics?
“Clearly, the party leadership is looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. money and name, and the two guys with money and name are Golisano and Weld,” said Douglas Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College. “A guy like Faso, who is sort of an established institutional player who’s put in his dues, is sort of lost in that mix. It’s unfortunate that this gazillionaire era we’re entering into could freeze out a candidate like Faso in the very early stages.”
And there’s more than money in the mix. Republican leaders are concerned that, as New York becomes a deeper shade of blue, only a socially liberal candidate can prevail statewide. Mr. Faso disagrees. “I think that philosophy is what’s led to the Conservative and Republican base of the state, and left us in a position where we look like we have no philosophy,” he said.
An Extreme Case?
Mr. Faso has, in the past, been tarred as a right-wing extremist. During a 2002 interview with the Albany Times Union, Mr. Hevesi said of his opponent: “He’s a smart guy and very presentable pre·sent·a·ble
1. That can be given, displayed, or offered: presentable gifts; presentable attire.
2. Fit for introduction to others: presentable relatives. , but he also believes Louis XIV was excessively liberal.”
Mr. Faso, who opposes late-term abortion late-term abortion Post-viability abortion Medical ethics Any abortion performed after the fetus would be viable if delivered to a nonspecialized health center. See Partial birth abortion. and supports strengthening parental-notification laws, also left a lasting impression on the abortion-rights group NARAL NARAL National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League , which bitterly opposed his candidacy in 2002.
“New Yorkers need to understand—and at the end of this campaign, will know—that John Faso is a threat to women’s health,” said Bob Jaffe, the deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, on Dec. 6. Mr. Jaffe also pointed to a transcript of Assembly floor remarks from April 10, 1987, which his organization still has on file. During that session, Mr. Faso described Roe v. Wade Roe v. Wade, case decided in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with Doe v. Bolton, this decision legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. as a “black mark upon this country.”
As he prepares for his latest campaign, Mr. Faso said that the legal status of abortion in New York—at least in the broadest sense—“is not going to change, no matter who gets elected.” Taking that as the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. , he would rather concentrate on his platform’s pocketbook issues, in particular making the state more fiscally competitive by cutting local taxes and bringing jobs back to New York.
But when it comes to fiscal matters, Mr. Faso’s opponents have questioned whether his current role as a registered lobbyist could compromise his ability to govern. Mr. Faso replies that he has no conflict of interest. In fact, he added, he has lobbied Congress on behalf of the state and the M.T.A. for federal transportation funding.
“Look, I’m a big boy—I understand the environment in which we operate,” he said. “Everyone is subject to having their business and professional lives opened up to scrutiny, and I anticipate that. But I also am not ashamed of anything.” He added that he had done “little, if any, lobbying of the state legislature,” and that his lobbying had maintained a federal focus.
Right now, the most important kind of lobbying for Mr. Faso and his competitors involves winning the hearts and minds of New York Republicans.
Among members of the party’s state committee, Mr. Faso named Onondonga County chairman Robert Smith among his strongest supporters. Mr. Smith, who spoke with The Observer on Dec. 5, said he’s still making up his mind. Though he considers Mr. Faso and Mr. Daniels to be “the two most credible candidates,” he added: “I honest to God don’t know exactly what I’m going to do.”