Democratic strategist James Carville is known for his Louisiana drawl, his homespun humor and his sometimes outlandish comments.
True to form, Carville has raised some eyebrows with his latest suggestion, that Hillary Clinton set up her presidential campaign headquarters in Buffalo.
“That’s right,” Carville wrote in a column for The Hill, a Washington newspaper. “Buffalo, as in Buffalo, N.Y. The new site of campaign headquarters.”
Carville implied in the column that Buffalo could be considered almost the anti-Washington.
“Washington and the ways of Washington are going to be massively unpopular. Get the hell out. Go, and take everybody with you.”
And, Carville added, Buffalo has the benefit of being in one of Clinton’s favorite areas, in Western New York.
Some prominent local Democrats with ties to Clinton had two basic responses, relishing the Buffalo suggestion but also answering in kind, with their own quips.
“It’s the home of Millard Fillmore, and at one time, Grover Cleveland,” former Congressman John J. LaFalce said. “What more reason do you need than that? And Teddy Roosevelt was inaugurated here, too.”
LaFalce then got serious.
“We’d all love it if she established her headquarters in Buffalo, but I don’t know if there’s a lot of political wisdom in doing that,” said LaFalce, who noted that she, or any Democrat, should have little trouble winning New York. “It might help her carry the Northeast, but I don’t know that she’ll need much help in carrying the Northeast.”
Former Erie County Democratic Chairman G. Steven Pigeon talked about the larger point, about the nation’s anti-Washington feeling and about the need for Clinton or any other candidate to relate to the regular people in Buffalo and elsewhere.
“He says it kiddingly, but he’s making a larger point that she needs to remain in touch with that part of her background,” Pigeon said of Carville. “I don’t think it would be seriously considered, but I think it’s a good point to make.”
Former Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello thinks setting up campaign headquarters here would be a great fit for Clinton.
“This is a natural for her,” he said. “She loves Buffalo. She relates to Buffalo, and Buffalonians are basic Midwesterners, where she’s from. I know that she has a real passion and affinity for Western New York and its people.”
Buffalo is a microcosm of the nation, the former mayor said. Anyone who wants to learn the problems and potential fixes of current-day America should come here.
Even if the dream of Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Buffalo seems far-fetched, just the thought of it left Masiello smiling.
“I could just see Washingtonians and all these know-it-alls and wannabes coming to Buffalo for eight months and dealing with the reality of life. They need to get out of Washington and see what reality is all about.
“It brings a smile to my face,” he added. “This is reality, not make-believe.”