Dishing with Dee: Paladino may be crazy as a fox in his run to be state’s governor

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As “Hannibal” Smith from “The A-Team” used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.” If you remember last week, I wrote about how concerned the Republicans and Conservatives were about Rick Lazio and whether or not he would be a double spoiler by taking votes away from Carl Paladino and not being able to guarantee he would be able to acquire at least 50,000 votes in order for the Conservative Party to retain its line.

Lazio turned out to be a stand-up guy and dropped out of the race, thereby eliminating a division among Republican­/Conservat­ive voters and saving the Conservative Party line. It was a win-win situation for Republicans and Conservatives alike — at least for last week.

It was also good news for Frank Padavan. This past week, the latest Siena College poll — Sept. 28 — had Republican Padavan holding a 56 percent to 32 percent lead over Democrat Tony Avella. The undecided respondents accounted for 12 percent. There are more Democrats in Padavan’s district than Republicans, but all the conservative Democrats love Padavan and view him as a senator for all the people, not just his own party. His constituents will tell you he is a good, competent and caring man — though they all feel he could smile a bit more.

As for the rhetoric about Paladino being a wacko, think about it. Is he really crazy or smarter than his detractors? Let’s dissect his behavior. You don’t accumulate all that wealth by being stupid or crazy. So what could his plan be? Try this on for size!

Being the shrewd businessman he is, he knows liberal publications are not going to give him any positive coverage, but if you act in an outrageous manner, you’ll get wall-to-wall coverage. That’s just the kind of stuff the media and readers gobble up. Remember: Good news never sells newspapers, but bad news always does — and the more shocking, the better.

Perhaps some people will love what the maverick has the temerity to say. As they say in show business, I don’t care what you print about me — as long as you spell my name right. As far as I can tell, Paladino’s name has never been misspelled.

How can you label Paladino as crazy when every day the papers are filled with his name and photos, none of which are costing him a dime to the point where he has become a household name? If he were to hire a publicist or a spin doctor to produce that amount of coverage, the cost would be prohibitive. That sounds like a good plan to me and not the least bit crazy.

All the suspense will soon be over. It’s to be assumed the last two weeks of the campaign will in all probability be killers on both sides of the aisle.

Queens is one of the most politically incestuous of boroughs. There are stronger relationships between political participants than there are with actual family members, and they all seem to know where each other is hanging out and are always able to locate each other 24/7. In fact, they can’t seem to go anywhere without tripping over each other.

For instance, this past week it was lunch on Tuesday at Valentino’s in Bayside with a political buddy of mine. Seated across the aisle from us was Peter Vallone Sr., his son Perry and another political friend.

Dinner Wednesday night was at Tony Roma’s in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, where I ran into Debbie Markell, Warren Schreiber and Matthew Silverstein. Of course, I joined them and we spent the next couple of hours discussing politics — what else? They are a fun and knowledgeable group.

Friday was lunch a Valentino’s again with two political friends of mine and later on we were joined by a third person. As we were leaving, I said goodbye to my friends and then wandered off to the ladies room. In both going and returning from there, you have to pass the bar. Mimi Burnham is one of the Friday evening bartenders and she was chatting with Bernice Siegel and Donna Furey, who were having a drink prior to their dinner. So I naturally joined them.

On Sunday morning, six of us political-types had breakfast in the Landmark Diner in Searingtown, L.I. Old friend Dr. Robert Aquino of Parkway Hospital joined us. The new diner is fantastic.

Check out the food, ambiance and decor of the above for yourself.

That’s it for this week.

I like hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I look forward to your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Till next week, Dee.

Updated 6:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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