Monday, March 10, 2008

Eliot Spitzer, Soon to be Ex-Governor

“I never saw the other side, that the man (Spitzer) doesn’t think straight, that the man has a quirk in his mind. There is something wrong with his mind. He doesn’t think like most. He’s two-faced. He does not tell the truth. He looks you in the eye and tells you something that is totally untrue.” - Joe Bruno, New York State Senate Leader

As of this moment, Eliot Spitzer is still the governor of New York. By tomorrow he will not be. He is toast. This afternoon the New York Times broke the story of Spitzer's involvement with a prostitution ring. Spitzer held a brief press conference with his wife at his side and apologized for hurting his family. He didn't resign, but it is only a matter of time. The story can only get worse and Spitzer has no friends left to go to bat for him.

When I first read the above quote from Joe Bruno, I dismissed it because it came from a man who hates Spitzer and who Spitzer hates right back. As a Democrat I am no fan of Bruno's, but I have to say that Spitzer was more at fault in creating this rift. He did everything wrong after he was inaugurated last January.

He couldn't get along with Democrats or Republicans. As Attorney General of New York he acted as a prosecutor of the malefactors of great wealth and did a great job busting corporate crooks. Sadly, he didn't know how to stop prosecuting and he made enemies, even within his own party, when he got to the capital.

Once again we have an example of a zealot who had skeletons in his own closet. I should have known. The finger pointers usually live in glass houses and throw stones anyway. I also see that Bruno's comments may not have been just venom coming from an enemy. It is hard to keep secrets in one area of life without it showing up in another. Compartmentalizing is a lie. It never works. Everything comes out eventually, especially phone calls to prostitutes.

In New York, the Governor and the leaders of the Assembly and Senate are known as "the three men in a room" who horse trade and make things happen. Because Spitzer was busy making enemies with Bruno, the two of them couldn't stand to be in the same room together. Nothing has been accomplished since Spitzer came to office.

Spitzer investigated Bruno's use of state helicopters and may have broken the law doing it. He and Bruno don't speak, and their relationship is so bad that Bruno felt comfortable calling Spitzer out in the pages of New York magazine.

Now Lieutenant Governor David Paterson will become Governor. If Hillary Clinton were to be elected President, Spitzer had the power to appoint Paterson to her seat. It is now a moot point, Paterson will be Governor, the first black governor in New York state. He had a long history as a progressive when he served in the State Senate for 20 years. He will be a better governor than Spitzer. Once the shock and scandal subside, New York politics will be much better with Paterson at the helm.