Courtesy of Simon (posting at The Albany Project), this NYT story would have been not only unthinkable, but unstomachable just one year ago:
Mr. Spitzer “has the potential to be a very creative man,” said Aileen M. Gunther, an Assemblywoman from Sullivan County. “If he works with all the creative people in the Legislature, I think there’s a lot of great possibilities for a turnaround.”
For 45 surprisingly peaceable minutes, lawmakers said, they peppered Mr. Spitzer with questions about how he planned to balance the state budget, what he would do about New York City’s shortage of subsidized housing, and whether he might think about raising taxes to bring in more revenue. Mr. Spitzer sidestepped the question about taxes, according to people in the room. But he was more vocal about spending — specifically, his willingness to help raise lawmakers’ pay, which bottoms out at $79,500 a year.
I know most people will probably do a spit-take at the second paragraph, but it’s the first one that I find unbelievable. Paging Richard Florida… apparently Upstate New York’s Creative Class has been hiding in the Legislature all along! Who knew? (My cynicism double backs on itself when I think of Spitzer’s other professions of humility that he never followed through on.)
I have more thoughts on Spitzer’s situation at the aforelinked post at TAP, but I will add a further thought for the Upstate audience: No matter what party they are from, Upstate Assembly members are still not very powerful… or creative. Without power, creativity is useless. But without creativity, power is just a recurring nightmare we can’t wake up from.