The Carl Paladino situation

Previously I had thought that the story with Carl Paladino’s out-of-wedlock daughter was that he had had an adulterous affair about 11 years ago, a daughter had been born, and he had acknowledged the child and taken care of her. Now we find out that he had kept the girl’s existence a secret from his wife Cathy for ten years, and only told her about it in 2009, following the death of one of their sons, who was 29 at the time. Cathy Paladino in an interview in yesterday’s New York Post does not explain why her husband told her about the child at the time of the death of their son. We’re left to suppose that the trauma of losing their son spurred him to tell her the truth about his secret daughter, which must have been an additional trauma for her. We also find out that his and Cathy’s other children knew about the child, and had kept the secret from their mother. Trauma number three.

We also find out that Carl Paladino recently traveled to Rome with his daughter and the daughter’s mother, with the knowledge of his wife, who seems to accept it all.

Ok, I understand that in a time of political uprising, when non-politicians are throwing out the professional pols, we’re going to be getting some irregular types running for office. I was ready to absorb the irregularities in Paladino’s life, like the irregularities in Christine O’Donnell’s life. But I find the idea that he had a ten year old daughter whom he had kept secret from his wife until just one year before he became a candidate for governor a bit much to take. Not just for moral reasons, but because it suggests a level of disorder in his life, as shown in his personal life, that he would bring into the goverorship as well.

At the same time I believe that Andrew Cuomo is a super liberal, that his noises over the last year about reining in the state government are a lie (rendered a transparent lie by his recent gratuitous praise of Charles Rangel), that he is even more obnoxious and arrogant than his father the former governor, and that the only way there is any hope of change in Albany is through the election of the angry outsider Paladino. So what does one do?

Here is the Post’s interview with Cathy Paladino:

Paladino’s wife tells of son’s loss, hubby’s affair & ‘get over it’ policy
September 26, 2010

BUFFALO—It was just about a year ago, hours after the death of her son in a car crash, that Cathy Paladino’s husband told her he was the father of a 10-year-old girl with another woman—and that all their children and most of their friends already knew.

These traumas, still fresh and raw, are compounded by the fact that they are national fodder now that her husband, Carl, is running for governor of New York, something this self-described “very private” woman did not want.

Mary Catherine Hannon Paladino, 63, is just beginning to adjust to life as a politician’s wife. During her sit-down with The Post—after her husband pulled his Tea Party-fueled upset in the Republican primary—Cathy Paladino was alternately warm and terse, open and businesslike, tough and vulnerable. She’s in black pants, black top and a white and black print jacket, her hair a warm blond bubble, features puffy and soft, the only sign of vanity her lacquered French manicure. Her eyes were perpetually watery, and she brushed tears from her right eye every few minutes, no matter the topic at hand.


Still, she was gamely following the dictate her husband’s campaign staff had issued when she wavered on upping her profile.

“They had three words for me: ‘Get over it,’ ” she told The Post.

Cathy was always confident, she said, that her husband was going to win the nomination.

“A lot of Irish people get feelings about things,” she said. “We’re very superstitious. There was so much enthusiasm up here and in the places I had gone with him downstate, especially the Staten Island area and stuff. I knew if he could just meet everybody and let them make up their own minds, he’d be fine. Because [the press] has him to the right of Attila the Hun.”

ACCORDING to Cathy, Carl Paladino, 64, a hard-work ing, selfless son of Buffalo, has forever been misunderstood. Even, initially, by her.

The two met in 1967, when Cathy was a sophomore in college. Beautiful, popular, the eldest of 10 and a dutiful Irish Catholic daughter, she was still living at home when a mutual friend set the two up on a blind date. Cathy and Carl met during an activities weekend at St. Bonaventure University, south of Buffalo. “He was actually chairman of the weekend,” Cathy said. She remembers every moment of that trip in granular detail, and her face takes on a sentimental cast. “He was always kind of a leader type.”

The mixer was held on a Saturday; Cathy and her friend got there late. “You know how it is—we had been drinking all afternoon,” she said.

“You have to understand, at the time, I had an uncle who was in some legal difficulties, and it was all over the papers and, uh, Carl says something about …”

Cathy trailed off and looked sideways at the tape recorder sitting on the end table to her right. Her voice dropped substantially. “If you print this, he’s gonna kill me,” she whispered. A wry smile formed for seconds. Long pause. “He says, ‘You don’t have the uncle that’s the crook, do you?’ “

Stunned and upset, she fled. But she was also attracted to him.

Cathy’s friend convinced her to stick around, to go on another blind date so that they could double. She agreed, and when her date showed up later that same night, she couldn’t believe it. It was Carl. After many, many awkward minutes, “he turns to me and says, ‘I am so sorry for that remark this afternoon. I’m really, really sorry.’ ” She paused. “And the rest is history, I guess.”

The Paladinos were married in 1970. Her mother, she said, liked him immediately. “She said, ‘I have never seen such compassion in a person so young,’ ” Cathy said. “He was just kind.”

In their early years, Cathy was the breadwinner, working as a fifth-grade teacher while Carl finished law school in Syracuse.

After Carl got his law license, he worked so hard that he was hardly ever home. Cathy had to keep her toddler son, Billy, up so late to catch a glimpse of his father that they joked his first words were “Here’s Johnny!”—Ed McMahon’s famous “Tonight Show” intro.

Carl cobbled together a bunch of investors so that he could buy Buffalo’s famed Ellicott Building—which her own father had managed for years. Carl would go on to make millions, but that didn’t make Cathy as happy as she would have been with a husband who was around more.

“People say, ‘Oh, you’re so successful, it must be great—you’re on easy street, you have the world by the tail,’ and everything. But I don’t think a lot of people would have lived the way I live. There’s trade-offs in life.”

CATHY and Carl Paladino live in the same house they first moved into 35 years ago, a two-story home with white siding, a small front lawn, two American flags bookending the porch steps.

The house today is spacious, warm, and unpretentious. There are his-and-her living rooms: His, with its faded plaid couch, flat-screen TV and worn gray carpet where, she says, her husband loves to lie on the floor with their dog, Duke, and watch television. Hers is furnished with antiques, a piano and bookcases with tomes about the lives of the saints and motherly wisdom.

She said he is no longer the same man she met over 40 years ago, that now he is “tougher, very particular about everything.” Much of that comes from his self-professed transformation after their 29-year-old son Patrick died in early 2009. It helped convinced him to run for governor and prompted him to tell his wife about an affair with a former employee.

Cathy said learning about her husband’s 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, didn’t faze her. “I think when you lose a child … everything changes. So when he told me about Sarah … it was a very short affair, it was 10 years prior, and um … my first thought was, ‘How lucky. Every child’s a gift.’ That was my thought. I wasn’t angry, you know. I can deal with one family crisis at a time. But to multi-task …” She laughed softly. “It’s not that important.”

Nor did she feel betrayed that her children—William, now 39, Danielle, 36, and Patrick—all knew about Sarah, and that Patrick had been very close to the girl and begged his father to tell mom the truth.

Carl lied, she said, out of love for her. “Out of protection, even though [the affair] was over, he made the decision not to say anything. And, in retrospect, you know, maybe I’m glad for that 10 years, you know?”

Sarah is a fully integrated member of the family, embraced by Cathy, who did not object when Carl traveled to Italy last year with Sarah and Sarah’s mother, a vacation that included a visit to the Vatican.

“I think lots of times in our lives and our marriages, you become crazed for whatever reason, and you say and do things that are out of character,” she said. “I think all of this stuff my grandmother drilled in my head, like, ‘To err is human, to forgive divine,’ ” she said. “And I think if you’re gonna make a mistake, make it on the divine side, you know?”

Cathy, a lifelong registered Democrat, said that she is backing her husband not just because he’s her husband, but because he’s the only one who can bring change to a corrupt system. They never talked politics over the dinner table, she said, a little pointedly, because “he’s never home for dinner.”

Still, she defers to him on most issues.

“My circle is much closer to home with my family and things like that,” she said. “And he’s out there, talking to people. He’s out there.

“People bring him a lot of information.”

She paused. “Sometimes, I don’t know if that’s always a good thing. When you just know too much.”

[end of NY Post article]

- end of initial entry -

Jake F. writes:

I read the same Post article and thought much the same way that you did.

By the same token, I find it hard to believe that the disorder it indicates (which appears, at the moment, to be mostly internally focused) could be worse than the disorder (in terms of ideology, at least) that we know exists in Cuomo. This doesn’t reach the level of false choice that we had in McCain / Obama, which caused me to vote Constitution Party. I will therefore still encourage my New York-based friends to vote Paladino.

N. writes:

This situation with NY politician Paladino having fathered a child by an adulterous affair seems to be a huge problem. If Sarah Palin could be considered bad for the Republicans because her ill-supervised daughter became pregnant and gave birth outside of marriage, I fail to see how Paladino can be considered acceptable.

One expects the liberals to do their part in defining deviancy down. Accepting Paladino because somehow Cuomo is worse strikes me as a poor plan; Paladino’s life has been so disordered for over a decade, at the very least there should be some evidence of repentance in order to demonstrate he’s qualified for the office, surely?

Andrea C. writes:

Carl Paladino: “We’re gonna defrock ‘im. Because I can do it, the people want it done.” (YouTube.)

This is the year for our candidates to connect directly with voters and not rely on old media who do not want to help them. Andrea

Sophia A. writes:

Remember when I first referred to Paladino as a “horn dog”? One of your other regular correspondents disagreed with me. I let it lay because I don’t believe in prolonging arguments. I had my say and he had his.

Now I see from your site that some more details are coming out, which justify my initial dismay. You’ll recall that I originally said that if Paladino were simply a “cut the taxes” Republican I wouldn’t care a whit about his personal failings. The New York state economy in dire straits—we are one step away from being completely Californicated, and in such circumstances, you hire the guns where you find them. Earp wasn’t a choirboy. But Paladino himself correctly draws dots between personal behavior and performance in the labor market. If this is true of welfare recipients, why is it not true of wealthy businessmen?

I admit to being somewhat chastened by the commenter who disagreed with me. It was in that spirit that I stuffed my dismay about the out-of-wedlock child and issued my bold “Paladino wins” prediction.

I stick by that prediction. I still think Paladino will win. But I am also proud of my original dismay at having discovered his illegitimate child. This is morally reprehensible.

He’s a sleazy guy. But to paraphrase FDR, he’s our sleazy guy. Conservatives shouldn’t defend him, just his policies. I think it’s the same thing with O’Donnell. Concede that she has personal failings but that she’s better than her opposition. She’s going to be one senator out of 100, not the next president.

Same goes for Paladino. He should be the next governor for one reason only: he will bring some fiscal sanity to a failed state. If he doesn’t do that, fire him too.

LA replies:
If people support Paladino in the terms Sophia suggests, they will not be repeating the grave mistake made by Palin conservative supporters in 2008. The Palin supporters did not say that her daughter’s out of wedlock pregnancy was a problem, they said it was wonderful, and thus in one step they trashed the importance of marraige and destroyed social conservatism. By contrast, Sophia is not saying that anyone should excuse Paladino’s behavior. Rather, they should say that the behavior is wrong, but that New York State is in a dire emergency and that his election represents the only hope of pulling out of it.

Sophia wrote:

Ouch. I wrote:

“I had my say and he had mine.”

That should have been:

“I had my say and he had his.”

LA replied:

I’ve fixed it.

It’s funny, though.

It’s Dylanesque.


The ghost of electricity
Howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna
Have now taken my place.

“My” place, instead of “her” place.

(Two VFR parodies of “Visions of Johanna” can be seen here and here.)

Sophia replies:


High praise indeed!!

La replies:

Dylan often switches person, between “he,” “you,” “her,” “my,” etc., suggesting a world where one self or one point of view is bccoming another or merging with another. He’ll say something that doesn’t make sense on a literal, logical level but suggests an experience that does make sense on its own psychological or emotional terms.

“I had my say and he had mine” really does sound like a Dylan line.

Also, it sets off reverberations of other Dylan lines, like this one:

But if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mine.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 27, 2010 09:47 AM | Send

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