Eliot Spitzer is Dangerous
Before you even read this article, read this one, by Matt Stoller over on Open Left (quickly becoming my favorite new blog on the intertubes, one might add).
Eliot Spitzer is a dangerous man, with dangerous ideas. Chief among the latter is the simple observation that the status quo in New York is no longer good enough, if indeed it has been for the last generation or so. His diagnosis is simple: our leadership has failed, allowing the once-proud Empire State to fall into a dotage and senescence that are in themselves scandalous. New York has fallen, from being a leader among the fifty states, in terms of size and power and sheer influence, to a third place in population, about to be overtaken by, God alone help us, Florida, and a doddering irrelevance in policy terms. The state is bifurcated - here, the glittering metropolis and its endless gleaming suburbs, there, the vaster swaths of impoverished farmland and dying industries.
In the center of it all lies Albany, the state capital, home to the trompe l'oeuil legislature, election to which guarantees a lifelong, care-free sinecure. The place oozes futility. It appears that George Pataki wasn't just a mediocre governor; he is, rather, a state of mind, one that still very much obtains in the capital.
The election of Eliot Spitzer threatened to change all that, by declaring that good enough is no longer good enough.
Now, there is a manufactured scandal, one the governor has worked hard to put behind him. In last year's campaign, we saw a previous iteration of this, serving as a blue-print of what's going on now - The swiftboating of Eliot Spitzer.
What Stoller said:
Many of us have become jaded by a lack of accountability by our politicians at the top, and so the notion that 'getting something done' should take precedence over grandstanding investigations sounds like spin. But in this case, it's not. Every day, I get an email from Michael Caputo of NYFacts.net bashing Eliot Spitzer, and Caputo is a former aide to George H.W. Bush, well-established in right-wing orbits, and obviously directing a smear campaign.
This is really a collection of insiders, press people, angry coddled legislators, Joe Bruno and right-wingers trying to destroy Eliot Spitzer's capacity to govern New York. They tried it with Deval Patrick in Massachusetts and Jon Corzine in New Jersey, and they'll try it with every progressive who takes on a political machine.
Yes, exactly. This is the Albany status quo defending itself. The governor has apologized; the investigation by Attorney General Cuomo found no actual, criminal wrong-doing. Nonetheless, the republicans, aided and abetted as usual by the media, are using this entire unfortunate episode to attempt the impossible: extend their expiring lease on power.
Meanwhile, the work of governance continues.
Let me suggest this much: in a contest for popular support, the guy who's actually working to make New York better is going to win. That won't stop the pillars of the status quo from attempting to derail this man; change is dangerous, if you're comfortable with rot.