Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And now......The Media Strikes Back ...In spoiling for a fight, Spitzer shows his dysfunctional side

Fred LeBrun Albany Times Union

Obviously Fred is not a happy camper here......and it shows......Fred is writing down what a lot of people are privately and not so privately thinking right now..the war rages on........andy

What fantastic political theater we're being forced to watch.
Sweeney Spitzer, the demon barber of State Street, who makes tasty meat pies from legislators who dare oppose him.
Who knew he had it in him? I suppose if we had read the book "Spoiling for a Fight" we would have known. But we didn't know. Now we do.
In the short term, Eliot Spitzer will rile up the general population that's heard for years how dysfunctional the state political process has become, and he will score a few cheap political points.
Like he did last week with Syracuse Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, who had the nerve to vote his own mind for a new state comptroller -- defying the governor. Magnarelli voted for Tom DiNapoli. Spitzer was trying to steer the process to elect his choice, Martha Stark, New York City's finance commissioner.
So Spitzer, in a delightful bit of mean-spiritedness, bad-mouthed Magnarelli in the assemblyman's own district. He called Magnarelli "one of those unfortunate Assembly members who just raises his hand when he's told to do so."
Ah, but talk about hypocrisy. If you go back and look at the actual vote, every Democrat in the Senate voted as a bloc for Stark. Because they were told to do so, in no uncertain terms. By the governor's office. Democrats are the minority in the Senate. They depend on the governor's office, not on the majority Senate Republicans, for pork barrel largesse.
So, yes, we are witnessing hysterical, finger-pointing misdirection and hypocrisy at its most breathtaking during the governor's magical mystery tour promoting his budget. Although it is barely about promoting his budget so much as it is about screaming "DYSFUNCTIONAL LEGISLATURE! DYSFUNCTIONAL LEGISLATURE!" over and over, and hoping it sticks.
But in the long term, all of this will become increasingly irritating and annoying, and not productive. At the moment, Spitzer is all about outrageous style and spin, but woefully short on substance. Eventually, that will show.
Remind me again, exactly how is the Legislature being dysfunctional?
Okay, we can argue over the choice of the replacement for the disgraced state comptroller, Alan Hevesi. But show me where the Legislature didn't do its job. Legislators picked a candidate, and a darned good one, quickly and decisively. I would argue the dysfunction was totally in the governor's office for playing clumsy, arrogant politics that did not get the results Eliot Spitzer wanted.
What does he want? To control the Legislature. So how is that better than what we have now? It's not. The only thing worse than one-party rule is one-person rule. You know what that's called.
Frankly, Eliot Spitzer can be thankful the Legislature gave him the measured, thoughtful, gentlemanly Tom DiNapoli as comptroller. Just imagine if my first choice, Richard Brodsky, had prevailed. On any given day, Richard can out-Spitzer Spitzer in terms of bombastic political theater.
Put the governor between Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Comptroller Richard Brodsky, and we'd all have headaches.

Lost in the present Spitzer-generated malarkey, which is really about trying to destabilize the Legislature, is any meaningful discussion of the state budget before us.
Did you know, for example, that reformer Eliot Spitzer's proposed budget is nearly 5 percent higher than last year's, that it is higher than the consumer price index? And that's before the Legislature adds anything to it? Hello? Can we get back to business here?

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