1.03.2007

It's Spitzer Time!

Have I said how much I appreciate having Eliot Spitzer as Governor? Oh, I have? And yes, I know that he's only been in office for 1 day, but if you'd lived through the horrors of PatakiBrunoSilver, you'd be jumping for joy, too.

The roaches up in Albany must be running for cover. Funnier still is the thought of hordes of lobbyist, fixers, deal makers and greasers now trying to re-invent themselves as honest Abes. Albany's a small town, so there's a great deal of in-breeding. It seems that just about everyone, Democrat-Republican, young-old, black-white, is involved in some way in conducting Albany's true trade: favors.

You'd expect that attempts to gain favors and fixes would be part of the picture for commercial lobbyists running around Albany; after all, companies are not paying them big money because they're nice. But the saddest part of the mess up there is that many groups posing as reform advocates are themselves engaged in the favors industry. The jobs, contracts and the opportunity to sway spending and policy their way, or towards major donors or members, is how these people measure success.

I know a few of these self-serving "reformer." One is actually sprawling constellation of real and not-so real "charities". But they're really an Upstate-based political and economic operation that enriched themselves under Pataki/Bruno/D'Amato. Last I knew they were busy throwing their own Republican-Conservative gubernatorial candidate, John Faso, under the bus as a bouquet to then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. In the past, this group gave Andrew Cuomo, New York's new Attorney General, strategic assistance in his failed gubernatorial bid, and they claim the "support" of at least 4 of the new Governor's close allies. While the group's officers are known dissemblers and distorters, still it's hugely important for Spitzer to keep his eyes wide open for any back-door plays. This group is Machiavellian to the Nth degree, to them the ends always justify the means.

I'm hoping Spitzer onto these jokers and their deep-pocketed benefactors.They're squatting on civic space for personal enrichment. That space should go to real groups, representing real New Yorkers and operating with real transperancy and accountability.

To help people learn about New York's newest governor and the man who'll fix Albany, the Gotham Gazette today carried a terrific interview with Brooke Masters, author of Spoiling For A Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer. It's simply titled Eliot Spitzer, Governor January 2, 2007. It provides readers a glimpse into the man: his principles, motives and priorities. It's good reading.
The picture I get is one of a driven man who's genuinely fearless in taking on the powerful. For example, there's a part in the interview that talks about Spitzer's temper. Masters says that it's used as a way to "scare the hell out of people." What I love though is that Spitzer only uses it on the powerful. This is Masters' take on this point:

"That said, he is willing to tell people off, particularly people who don't usually get told off. He doesn't yell at secretaries, he doesn't yell at waiters, he's absolutely adored by the guys who drive him around, unlike many other politicians. He does yell at powerful people."

I don't know about anybody else in New York or around the country, but I'm so, so happy that Governor Eliot Spitzer (and potential future U.S. President) is not afraid to yell at, and scare, the powerful.

Pardon my French, but it's about f-ing time!