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"When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos." - Thomas More, patron saint of politicians When George Pataki was swept into office in 1994, conservatives throughout New York rejoiced. Not only had they helped knock off liberal icon Mario Cuomo, but after thirty-two years in the political wilderness the New York Conservative Party had provided the margin of victory that fulfilled their mission to elect a governor who was not a legatee of Nelson Rockefeller/Jacob Javits/John Lindsay-style liberal, big government Republicanism. But after Pataki's good start, Conservatives became disenchanted. They realized that in his desperate desire to be all things to all people, Pataki squandered the historic opportunity entrusted to him in 1994.
In this first commentary on the Pataki administration, George Marlin, former Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York Conservative Party activist, traces how fiscally, economically, and culturally Governor Pataki sold out to leftist interests.
In Squandered Opportunities, Marlin contends that the Pataki Administration did not possess a philosophical compass. Political expediency overwhelmed any political philosophy, and "political conscience" and "political ideals" were mere slogans used to patronize conservatives.
Marlin examines how Pataki's social policies betrayed conservatives. Pataki approved gay-rights, bias crime bills, restricted the medical insurance "conscience clause" for religious institutions, increased gun regulations and repudiated term limits. Squandered Opportunities traces how Pataki's embrace of government activism caused him to abandon bedrock fiscal principles: * His pledge to impose no new taxes, which ended in 1999 with a $400 million cigarette tax hike, and hit a new low in 2003 with raises of almost every conceivable tax and fee. * His pledge to curb Medicaid costs. * The fight to end unfunded state mandates on local municipalities. * Promises to avoid one-shot fiscal gimmicks. * The campaign to stop "back door borrowing" and enact true debt reform. (As a result of this capitulation the total debt burden on future New Yorkers has grown over 40 percent since Cuomo left office.) * The effort to seek state labor productivity gains.
Marlin concludes that by deserting mainstream Republican principles, George Pataki, who harbors 2008 presidential aspirations, has forfeited his seat at the leadership table of the party of Ronald Reagan.
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