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Friday, April 26,2013

A joking matter?

Local Democratic strategist says Gov. Snyder is “somewhat autistic.”

by Sam Inglot
Joe DiSano on WKAR\'s \"Off the Record\"

Friday, April 26 — Earlier today, local Democratic political consultant Joe DiSano said on a WKAR TV program that he believes Gov. Rick Snyder is “somewhat autistic.”

On a “blogger edition” of WKAR’s capital news show, “Off the Record,” host Tim Skubick asked DiSano: “What has (Snyder) done that’s impressed you?”

At first, DiSano said: “Boy, that’s a tough one.” And then he dropped a doozy.

“I used to give him the benefit of the doubt and think that he perhaps had a … I think he’s somewhat autistic, very honestly,” DiSano said. “I don’t think he interacts with people on the same level. He breaks everything down to factoids and numbers.”

No one on the show — which included liberal talk show host Tony Trupiano, conservative political columnist Matthew Davis and Jack Spencer, who’s with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy — responded to DiSano’s comment.

DiSano elaborated on his statement this afternoon in an interview with City Pulse. He said he was not trying to offend anyone with the autism comment. He said it was a joke that was made in “the spur of the moment.”

“I think the governor definitely has a problem with relating to people,” he said. “Obviously the autistic remark is made in jest. But I do think he does not interact well with people, which is a real problem.”

DiSano said the comment was not intended to offend anyone. His choice to refer to autism and a member of the executive branch hits close to home — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s daughter is diagnosed with autism.

“That comment was not to make a joke out of people with autism — that’s not a joking matter,” he said. “But neither is the governor’s ability to have empathy and respect for people with problems. And that’s the way he’s governed. And that’s more offensive than anything I could say. “

DiSano’s critics accuse of him of a win-at-all-costs political mantra, so he’s no stranger to controversial comments. Earlier this week, he ruffled the feathers of Lansing 4th Ward City Councilwoman Jessica Yorko after he posted, “Stand Against Chong-Anna Canfora and you will be humbled the old country way” on Facebook. Canfora is one of Yorko’s opponents in the upcoming City Council elections. "The old country way" refers to a quote by WWF wrestler The Iron Sheik about sodomizing an opponent in the wrestling ring "the old country way." See here for more on that. 

Last year, DiSano orchestrated a campaign ad for Ken Ross against now-Circuit Judge Jim Jamo. In a TV ad that made Jamo appear sinister, Ross accused Jamo of orchestrating a “secret settlement” of $5 million in a sexual abuse and hazing incident in the Coopersville School District, which Jamo represented. The settlement was actually $150,000, and the students making the accusations had requested that it be kept secret.

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