The Corner

Jimmy ‘Rent Is Too Damn High’ McMillan Speaks

Jimmy McMillan, the gubernatorial candidate on the “Rent Is Too Damn High” ticket in New York, tells National Review Online he’s pleased with his performance in last night’s debate. “There’s one guy who stole the show last night and that’s Jimmy McMillan,” he says. “Those other guys were just sitting there taking up space.”

Video of McMillan’s rhythmic responses has spread virally today. He’s an overnight star. “I’m on CBS tonight. I’m on the Oprah radio show on Friday. All across the state they are calling me like crazy.”

McMillan attributes the sudden interest to his winning message: Rent is just too damn high. “You’ve got to roll prices back. . . . You’ve got a store or a supermarket and you pay $12,000 for rent. Now I’ll cut it to $6,000 but it comes with a price: You’ve got to hire a least one or two people. Store owners pay property taxes and real-estate taxes, those are going to be cut in half as well.”

The reason for these policies is that they’re for the children. “You make the children suffer and you get on my nerve,” McMillan declares. “I will fight for these children. I will make sure that these parents can take their kids on a vacation. I do care about you and your suffering, and if you’re still voting for the same person, you don’t give a damn about your child. Daddy’s right here.”

For the longest time, McMillan argues, politicians weren’t for the children. They were for themselves. McMillan can’t think of a governor he esteems because they “all were behind the mortgage fraud and the housing discrimination. They knew it. I want to come in and clean up the mess.” To the business-as-usual crowd, McMillan warns, “You won’t get a pat on the back from me. If your birthday comes, I won’t celebrate it.”

That said, McMillan refuses to speak ill of his rivals, Carl Paladino and Andrew Cuomo. A veteran of the Vietnam War, McMillan says Paladino “is my brother because he was a captain in the United States Army for five years. I would never say anything negative about him. He told me his credentials backstage before the debate. I didn’t know. I wanted to eat him up. But now he’s my brother.”

Still, there’s one politician McMillan admires: Ronald Reagan. The 40th president charmed audiences with his impeccable sense of humor, and McMillan tried to emulate his example last night. For instance, at one point he rhymed his answer: “There’s nowhere to go. Once again, why? You said it, ‘The rent is too damn high.’” The audience roared. “Once the other candidates heard that,” he says, “they were doomed.”

A sense of humor is the sharpest of political weapons and for McMillan, no one wielded it better than Reagan. “Obama has almost got it, but Ronald Reagan perfected it,” he says. “I love him to death.”

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