Travelling from Syracuse to Plattsburgh last weekend for a wedding took me through the heart of New York's wild core, up past Speculator and through the little towns with funny names in the blazing orange forests of this politically-charged state.
"I'm mad as hell, too," screamed the Paladino for Governor signs along the side of the Route 8. In New York's back woods, these signs outnumbered the Cuomo for Governor signs by quite a margin, although polls show that statewide Paladino faces an almost impossible hill to climb.
Some at our dinner table were incredulous that people would have the temerity to put a Crazy Carl sign out on their lawn. Paladino won't get my vote, but I understand how he and the other Tea Party candidates have been able to gather strength. The right wing radio blather about our Muslim, foreigner president signing death panel legislation may be effective in stirring the pot, but at the core of this movement is anger over the growth of government influence and spending, which should be of concern to all Central New Yorkers and all Americans.
It is not that the cost of government continues to grow - I expect that government will grow at least at the rate of inflation. It is that we have endangered the basic services that government has always provided in favor of programs and services that benefit a few.
We pay more in our school property taxes, but the districts lay off teachers and cut programs. Locally, many of our municipalities have held the line on the tax rate, which is admirable. But the services they can provide for the same number of dollars shrinks. As business owners we pay more for our health insurance, but the policies we can afford for our employees shrink year after year. Nothing I've seen in the post-Obamacare insurance cost estimates suggests this will change.