Staten Island Tea Party leader who hates ObamaCare, and preaches the Gospel of Smaller Government, takes city government job with iron-clad, tax-payer-paid-for health benefits.
I knew there was a reason why I didn't associate with the Staten Island Tea Party.
I don't know Mr. Santarpia personally, but there was always something about this man that I instinctively disliked. Perhaps it was the Glenn Beck-wannabe nature of the SITP website (not linking to it). Maybe it was the fact that the SITP membership often reminded me of one of the more unpleasant aspects of life on this island, namely, the Elderly Who Remember When there Were Farms Here and who regard the rest of us who arrived on these shores post-1965 the same way one would regard a host of locusts. Incontinent locusts, at that.
1965 was when the Verrazano-Narrows bridge opened, linking Brooklyn with Staten Island. It led to a real estate boom (funny, but Mr. Santarpia is a real-estate mogul, isn't he?) that many oldtimers around here liken to the days when westward-pushing settlers chased the Plains Indians off their land, and destroyed the idyll of the island. Only without the slaughters and smallpox. The smallpox was what they had here in the 19th century,and The Immigrants brought that with them. Oh, and cows. In fact, there were once riots here on Staten Island over the internment of 'quarantined' immigrants in local hospices, I think after a cholera epidemic ran loose.
Anyways, all of us Guineas from over the Gangplank (as Italians here are often known) and the Shanty Irish ruined this place, those oldtimers say. Nowadays, that Old Breed of Staten Islander is too old to work, so all they do is sit around and talk about the good old days, bitch about Modern Life, and count the seconds until the Grim Reaper keeps his appointment with them. Other than that, they mostly sit around and vote, or rather, wait for someone to come by and tell them how to vote.Like Santarpia. He reminded them of Nathan Hale, whom they remember fondly from grammar school.
The SITP can boast some younger members, true, but they tend to the more conservative (in terms of money, not so much the social issues, because if you saw how their children behave you'd wonder why it is anyone bothers to go to church or pay for Catholic school).Mostly, they tend to be the newer class of Really-Upper-Middle-Class douchebags who have tried to break into the Staten Island GOP ranks for the last 30 years, but have been stymied because their names aren't 'Molinari'. Santarpia always struck me as one of those guys -- someone who believed he was entitled to be in city government because he was rich, dammit, but couldn't get into the Club -- which is why when I decided to look into this Tea Party thing, I quickly came to the decision that I wouldn't follow this guy into my own house.
For those of you who aren't familiar with that name, Guy Molinari was the Borough President of Staten Island when Christ still wore short pants, and held that post for longer than many care to remember. In fact, Molinari's name is probably scratched on every cave wall from Tottenville to St. George. His daughter, Susan, was a republican congresswoman who gave the address at the 1992 (I believe) Republican convention. Guy Molinari, they say, made Rudy Guiliani. In the Brain-dead Wing of the NY GOP, it was once spoken in hushed whispers that Susan would one day be decent presidential material, however, she gave up politics to be a wife and mother. Truthfully, I would have voted for her. The Molinaris are regarded as political kingmakers in this City.
Anyways, back to Santarpia.
In the last mid-term election, Santarpia's legions helped defeat Congressdick Mike McMahon, who, quite frankly, is a gigantic douchebag, so it's not as if it was a major feat. McMahon was elected to Congress in the special election (or was it 'erection'?) that followed the resignation of Rep. Vito Fossella, Staten Island's very own one-man DWI and Baby-Daddy show. McMahon was replaced by Rep. Michael Grimm, who won with considerable Tea Party support, and since Grimm has been sworn in, Santarpia has been up his ass on a fairly constant basis. I guess Frankie believes that he's bought Grimm, he should be able to call the tune he dances to, as well.
It wasn't long ago that Santapia started his other pet project, which was to get Tea Partiers into every low-level elected or appointed office they could manage to snare. Of course, that was supposed to be for the public good; if the Tea Party was 'on the inside', the rationale went, they'd be in a better position to put the brakes on the worst abuses of government.
Unless you're a retired real-estate magnate who tires of paying for his own health insurance, I guess. Then accepting an appointment from a republican who's up for re-election (or perhaps seeking higher office; James Oddo is a damned good guy, and effective councilman, who's wasting his talents at City Hall) is both a good way to relieve yourself of that expense, and getting the ear of another politician (or getting your claws into him).
Personally, I don't care about Frank Santarpia, and I don't care about the Staten Island Tea Party, which, by the way, could find better things to do then fret whether queers are allowed to march in the local St. Patrick's Day parade. The only reason they cared, I bet, is because the Staten Island Democratic Club were pushing the issue. In the end, there was a kerfuffle over the parade, and during the parade, and the Tea Party was right in the thick of it.
Which dovetails very nicely with all that "lower taxes, smaller government" bullshit Santarpia's spouted for the last two years, doesn't it?