Did you watch the debate between candidates for Governor of New York? Did you see the man with, uh, unique facial hair? Who wore gloves the whole time? That's Jimmy McMillan, candidate for the Rent Is 2 Damn High Party.
McMillen, a former postal worker also know as "Papa Smurf," has been a longtime subject of Gawker's fascination (we endorsed his mayoral run in 2005, though we've never completely forgiven him for blaming high rent on "the Jewish People").
He's run for Mayor of New York City twice in 2005 and 2009), receiving a few thousand votes each time, and been involved in his own fair share of controversy—for the aforementioned anti-Semitism in 2005, and for his battle with the Board of Elections over the name of his party in 2009. (They removed the "damn," saying the name had too many letters; he insisted it was because they didn't like his language. This year, he substituted the numeral "2" for "too" and came in under the 17-letter stricture.) Last year, he refused to endorse Salim Ejaz, who was running for City Comptroller on the Rent is Too High line but supported removing the word "damn."
In any event, Tuesday night's gubernatorial debate was his first chance to shine on a national (well, state-wide) stage. And boy, did he.
You'd think it'd be hard to stand out in a field of candidates including a former madam (Kristin Davis) and celebrity chef Sandra Lee's boyfriend (Andrew Cuomo), but McMillan made it look easy. Some of his finest moments:
- On the deficit: "It's like a cancer. It will heal itself."
- On negative campaigning: "As a karate expert, I will not talk about anyone up here."
- On gay marriage: "The Rent Is 2 Damn High Party feels if you want to marry a shoe, I'll marry you."
- On... Jesus, I have no clue what prompted this one: "We plan to bulldoze some of those mountains in Upstate to make New York an independent state. I want my own cable company; I want my own telephone company."
- On the rent: Too damn high.
And, in case you are wondering why Jimmy was wearing gloves:
"Don't forget I was in Vietnam for two and half years and I have three Bronze Stars, but the chemicals of Agent Orange—dioxin and a lot of other chemicals mixed up—I would get sick. When I get home tonight, I know I'm not going to be able to breathe if I take them off. It could be psychological, I don't know, but I just put em on and wear them anyway."
But to really get the full Jimmy McMillan/Rent Is 2 Damn High effect, you need to visit his website, surely the only candidate's website to feature a section named "Transgender." (For the record, McMillan has a admirably progressive stance on transgender issues: "THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY FOR YEARS HAS BEEN / HAVE BEEN MAKING THE DECISION WHO IS TO BE MALE AND WHO IS TO BE FEMALE IT'S TIME FOR THIS ATTITUDE IN THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY TO COME TO AN END.")
All in all, a straightforward, honest candidate with a platform you can get behind, even if his role model is Ronald Reagan. I mean, how many other candidates have told the Board of Elections to "suck [their] damn dick[s]"?
And if you're worried about his troubling anti-Semitic past, well, he's apologized:
There have been comments that I have attempted to label me anti-semitic or anti-Jewish. This has been nothing more than "kill the messenger" and "character assignation" politics as usual which was spread by opponents that have nothing better to say. It may sound trite in this matter but even in this campaign I rely on Jewish close friends and advisors.
However, if I have ever made any biased remarks toward anyone or any group I heartfeltly apologize. Further, I apologize to the Jewish community for having to suffer the boorish bias of anyone. Even the reminder that there is still bias in America bias is painful; as a Black-American Man I empathize fully with the Jewish-American community.
And, come on—this song! Or, uh, spoken word piece! Or whatever it is!
[Video via Gawker.TV]