So has international pundit Mark Steyn, who is about to speak at the Conservative Party conference in suburban Albany County, boned up on New York state politics? Will he make any good local jokes?
Well the attempt to live-blog this failed with the wireless connection, but Steyn has now finished his speech, in which he did make some jokes about Amtrak and high-speed rail (the "bullet train" must be "the fault of Sarah Palin"), with a long riff on "bovine flatulence" taxes. Getting more serious in denouncing bureaucratic overreach, he said: "In such a world there is no law." Then it was back to a joke about how hardware stores in California are prohibited from offering free coffee. "George III wouldn't have done this to you," Steyn said, adding that the British monarch would be "the small-government candidate" these days, while comparing Michelle Obama (paraphrasing her: "Don't let them eat cake") to Queen Marie Antoinette.
New York needs privatization, he said, before it ends up like Greece, and it needs a Conservative party with integrity that stays to the right and "keeps the Republican Party honest."
(I'm now sitting outside the ballroom with a restored wireless connection, near where Carl Paladino has spent about 20 minutes greeting well-wishers including Jennifer Whalen, a Republican who narrowly lost in November to Democratic Assemblyman Bob Reilly.)