Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just for fun?

Mondays used to be "dark" at Wiltwyck Golf Club in Kingston. It was a day off for virtually all of the staff, except for someone in the pro shop to retrieve members' clubs.

But that changed several years ago when Wiltwyck realized it could generate much-needed revenue by hosting outings, such as yesterday's YMCA Pro-Am tournament.

Indeed, summertime staples in recent years have included Monday fund-raisers hosted by the state Republican Assembly Campaign Committee and similar events hosted by state Senate Democrats. (A Wiltwyck member must sign as "sponsor" for a non-member event to take place there. The GOP Assembly outing began when John Guerin of the town of Ulster, a Wiltwyck member, was the local assemblyman. (Ulster County GOP Chairman Mario Catalano, Guerin's brother-in-law, also belongs to the club.) As for the Senate Democrats, I have a hunch which Wiltwyck member was the sponsor, but I haven't nailed it down yet.)

If memory serves me correctly, when we first heard of the RACC event, we sent over a photographer, expecting the place to be crawling with big shot politicians. Mostly, however, the field was filled with lobbyists paying big dollars to enjoy the day and help fill the party's coffers. Occasionally, I'm told, a major figure was spotted or spoke at the post-golf dinner. But if there was any news, it never made the papers. Until this week.

Read Fred Dicker's piece in Monday's New York Post or today's followup in The New York Times to see what I mean.

My first reaction is that this is much ado about nothing. Maybe I'll think differently upon reflection. But one thing is certain: This is shaping up as a particularly nasty election cycle, what with Democrats poised to wrestle control of the Senate away from Republicans, and the GOP scratching and clawing to remain the majority. In other words, whether or not District ATtorney Carnright steps in, the gloves have come off.
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