The morning after Day One

Six months into his term, Spitzer has squandered the tremendous political capital he had in November. If that was Day One, is today Day Two for Spitzer?

Gov. Eliot Spitzer indefinitely suspended his communications director and reassigned another top official today after Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office issued a scathing report accusing the governor’s staff of using the State Police for political purposes… The report said that the governor’s staff ordered the State Police to keep special records of Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno’s whereabouts when he traveled with police escorts in New York City and to recreate records if they did not exist. The report said that the acting superintendent of police, Preston Felton, took an unprecedented role in assisting requests from the governor’s staff and the media for information related to the Senator’s whereabouts. And the report concluded that there was an orchestrated campaign by the governor’s office to obtain and provide information to the news media, with the help of the State Police, to essentially discredit Mr. Bruno, the state’s top Republican.

Over at The Albany Project, before news of the report was announced, several of us were engaged in a discussion of what Democratic control of all three branches of Albany government would mean, were it ever to happen. Had the Democrats done any message-building work at all? I didn’t think so, and inobody really disagreed with me. I thought, furthermore, that Spitzer wasn’t properly employing his political capital toward message-building.

Well, all that was written back when Spitzer had political capital to spend. Others will argue over the details of how much Spitzer knew and when he knew it and whether he ought to fire this or that person. I’m not concerned with that. Six months into his term, Spitzer has squandered the tremendous political capital he had in November. Well, honestly, despite not being a true acolyte of the Great Pumpkin, I’m dumbfounded. How could he do that? How can it even be possible, under the normal laws of political physics as it were, to throw that much capital out the window?

On the other hand, I’m beginning to appreciate the uniqueness of living and observing politics in a state where everyone really knows what is really going on. It’s not like national politics, where fine-sounding theories are a dime a dozen. Everyone understands the exact nature of what’s wrong with Albany. Everyone (especially upstaters) understands the stakes. Everyone understands the power plays. Nobody needs to be an insider to understand Three Men in a Room. Nobody needs special Albany contacts to get the drift. Although nobody can win under the current rules, anyone can play. And nobody needs a blog or a columnist or a pundit to tell them what Spitzer has just managed to do to himself. He knows, they know and we know.

Now what?

4 thoughts on “The morning after Day One

  1. Taylor Made

    I’m sorry but too many progressive types have been drinking the Spitzer kool-aid.

    Bruno is not the problem with Albany — the reality is that we have an entrenched and hopelessly idiotic bunch serving in he Assembly, Senate and as Governor. They are more interested in playing mind games with each other than dealing with the real needs of average New Yorkers.

    It is time for all of us to demand, at a minimum, the following: term limits say 4 for members of the Assembly or 8 years and two 4 year terms for Senators and one 8 year term for the Governor AND publicly financed campaigns for state offices.

    Those of us living upstate recognize that no one in Albany cares one whit about us and that upstate is nothing but one FUBAR situation after another.

    As George Lopez would say — FTP they the Governor, members of the Senate or Assembly — fix the mess that is NY — personally I’m tired of all the “W” wannabes in Albany — if they want to be incompetents let them go to work for Shrub.

    Because frankly after Brunogate — each and every one of should take an oath to clean up the mess in Albany.

  2. NYCO Post author

    Well, I don’t know what Spitzer ought to do now besides put on sackcloth and ashes and get the hell out of Albany, AWAY from his own flunkies, and start making some new friends out in the hinterlands of HIS STATE. Come on out and visit with the peasants, Eliot, and share some of OUR humble pie. Maybe now he will find he has no political alternative but to do what he should have been doing in the first place.

    He’s got essentially only two choices – “straighten up and fly right” and join the other Two Men in a Room so that they can all preside over New York’s continuing decline; or get out of Albany, redeem himself with the independent voters and not clean up Albany, but tear it down and rebuild it somehow.

    Eliot, first of all, you need some new friends.

  3. Hudson

    Another big loser in this mess is the Albany Times-Union, which was either played like a fiddle by the Second Floor, or a willing partner with it.

    The indignation that the paper expresses on its editorial page conveniently omits to clarify what the T-U’s role in this debacle was.

    How did they get tipped to ask for the records, and why is the same reporter who was the conduit for the Bruno hit still reporting on this story? Why did that T-U reporter, who is explicitly named in Cuomo’s report, initially (and dutifully) report the Spitzer administration’s spin that the report’s verdict was merely “mixed”?

    T-U top dog Rex Smith often touts his Columbia Journalism school credentials; what would they say at Columbia, Mr. Smith? When a reporter becomes part of the story, do you keep them on that story, or not?

    Seems pretty elementary to me.

  4. NYCO Post author

    Let’s not even get into the turmoil this throws the State Police into. That’s a whole other can of worms. Wow! Even the intimation of the governor’s office using the State Police to make up stuff… way to get every independent and libertarian leaning voter in the state suspicious of you. (ie, any Republicans and former Republicans who probably voted for Spitzer last November)

    What’s really galling is not only anticipating Joe Bruno riding around on a chariot in triumph, but the idea that some people are openly thinking Andrew Cuomo would make a good governor. UGH! We’d NEVER get away from Three Men in a Room then! His daddy INVENTED it!

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