The founder of America’s modern conservative movement, William F. Buckley Jr., once quipped, “first-generation millionaires tend to give us libraries. The second and third generations think they should give us themselves.”
Mr. Buckley was referring to the 1958 New York gubernatorial candidates, Averill Harriman and Nelson Rockefeller — heirs to America’s greatest fortunes.
Alas, Mr. Buckley’s axiom no longer holds.
In recent years our body politic has been flooded with first-generation fat-cats (i.e., Michael Bloomberg, Jon Corzine) willing to spend great fortunes to buy elections, and like the ancient Gnostics, believe they are indispensable because they possess the secret knowledge to save Americans from themselves.
Unfortunately, Nassau County is saddled with such a millionaire who believes he’s entitled to be our next county executive — George Maragos.
Eight years ago, Nassau’s Republican bosses needed a sacrificial county comptroller candidate—and Maragos fit the bill.
However, thanks to the 2009 Tea Party revolt, Maragos managed an upset victory — even though he had no discernable qualifications for the comptroller post.
Once sworn in, Maragos proceeded to advertise how little he knew about municipal accounting.
To this day, he does not understand that borrowed money cannot be counted under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as revenue.
Hence, his annual, errant, false proclamation that the county incurred a “budgetary surplus”.
The Nassau Interim Finance Authority’s professional staff has documented time and again that Nassau has a structurally imbalanced budget because total revenue (taxes and fees) cannot meet total expenses.
Relying on long-term borrowing to pay today’s bills not only imposes taxes on future generations, but eventually leads to financial insolvency.
There is more to the Maragos political saga.
Shortly after taking office, Maragos decided he was entitled to be the Republican-Conservative candidate to oppose Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Failing, two years later he tried to garner the nominations to run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
At the Conservative convention, he was rejected and in a three-way Republican Primary he came in dead last.
Maragos now believes he should be county executive, even though Nassau’s finances have been in disarray during his watch as comptroller.
And to achieve that end, he has abandoned the Republican and Conservative parties and re-registered as a Democrat.
Such behavior compels me to raise this question: Does Maragos stand for anything except self-aggrandizement?
I am a proud member of the New York Conservative Party. (I was its 1993 nominee for mayor of NYC and wrote the 419-page history of the Party, Fighting the Good Fight.)
Thus, I am deeply troubled by a politician abandoning a party whose nomination he accepted twice for comptroller and sought in his failed U.S. Senate races.
Accepting a Conservative Party nomination presupposes one’s acceptance of the party platform, and the Conservative Party validates that presupposition before conferring its nomination.
Unless one is willing to say anything to get ahead, that process then identifies the candidate with the platform in a clear and convincing way.
To flush Maragos out, if a person comes to the door of a registered Democrat with a “Team Maragos” petition, before signing, that Democrat should ask if he still supports these Conservative Party legislative goals:
• Prohibit any state or municipality from becoming a sanctuary government;
• Expand the number of charter schools;
• Reject any attempt to amend the Human Rights Law to include “transgender” language;
• Reject efforts to further expand abortion and the use of taxpayer’s money to pay for abortions;
• Reject any restrictions placed on the rights of law abiding citizens to legally acquire and possess firearms;
• Reject any effort to legalize marijuana and other drugs for recreational purposes;
• Require drug testing and fingerprint all who apply for government benefits;
• Make New York a “right to work state”;
• Support the right of business owners and employees to freely live out their faith in their place of business;
• Permit the free market to determine wages, not government.
If Maragos, or his supporter at the doorstep, says “yes” to any of the above, then Democrats must decide if he is a suitable candidate for their party.
But if the answer is “no,” Democrats must decide if he is nothing more than a political chameleon willing to say anything to get elected.
Warning! Whenever I critique George Maragos, he complains I’m politically motivated. He is right; I am motivated to expose political straw men in the public square.
Nassau County needs a serious, credible and truthful county executive.