NYC
09/30/2010 04:38 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Carl Paladino's Female Problem

Ah, the New York gubernatorial race. Without it, we'd just be another Tea Party-deprived state without a single election worthy of a visit from cable TV's talking heads. But thanks to GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, we're in an electoral death spiral, awash in sex, anger, more sex, more anger.

After a brief foray into that old political chestnut -- a debate about whether there should be a debate -- Paladino apparently got bored. The Buffalo developer, who endlessly reminds us that he's angry, went ballistic because a New York Post photographer allegedly showed up at the home of the mother of Paladino's 10-year-old love child. Subsequently, a shouting match ensued between the Post's man in Albany and the irate Republican in which Paladino threatened to "take out" the elderly scribe.

Paladino simultaneously claimed that his privacy had been invaded by the newspaper and that the media were ignoring his totally unsubstantiated claim that Cuomo had cheated on his former wife.

To understand what's really going on here, you need to look at Paladino's most serious political liability: a huge gender gap. The latest Marist poll gives Paladino's Democratic rival, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a 19-point lead among likely voters in a survey that included the now-departed Conservative Party candidate, Rick Lazio.

The poll showed Cuomo with a jaw-dropping 60-25 percent lead over Paladino among women. By contrast, Cuomo has only a statistically insignificant 45-42 percent edge among men. (Lazio got 8 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women.)

Paladino did best in a recent Quinnipiac poll that showed him trailing Cuomo by only six points. But even in the Quinnipiac survey, Cuomo led Paladino by a thumping 54-34 percent margin among women.

Paladino's handlers have tried to combat this potentially fatal weakness by depicting Paladino as a happily married man. To this end, his long-suffering wife, Cathy, has been made available for press interviews. The Paladinos had three children, including a deceased son. Paladino, as it turned out, informed his wife of the outside daughter days after their 29-year-old son was killed in a car crash, breaking the news while she was going through family pictures for the wake.

Mrs. Paladino granted a lengthy interview to her hometown paper, the Buffalo News. The newspaper noted that Paladino's campaign manager, Michael Caputo, had requested the interview. As you might imagine, Cathy Paladino said she's cool with Carl.

Last week, the New York Post was also given an interview with Cathy Paladino, but apparently ruined the script by separately dispatching a reporter to the presumably happy home of the developer's other family. (Expecting a tabloid newspaper to ignore a love child is a little like asking a coke addict not to touch that kilo of white stuff sitting on the kitchen table.)

Paladino's problems with women aren't confined to adultery. It's also reasonable to assume that these gals don't want a governor who thinks racist jokes and pictures of a woman doing it with a horse are amusing. The Republican candidate explained why he sent out racist and pornographic e-mails by telling NBC that they were only meant for "a select group of friends." (Unsurprisingly, Paladino's standing with non-white voters is even worse - 69-20 percent - than that of women in the Marist poll.)

What can I tell you? Some days it's embarrassing to be a man.