March 17, 2008
Increasingly cynical state looks forward to non-sleazeball leader
After what feels like the fastest political scandal in history, David Patterson is getting sworn in as our new governor today, and will be taking on a state government full of corruption, ineptitude, and mutual partisan loathing. Plus we're in the midst of a tempestuous budget season and a recession.
Actually, Albany is like that pretty much all the time. We've gotten so used to corrupt politics in our state that having a competent, non-combative, upstanding guy in power feels like a radical new approach to government. If Patterson can just avoid swearing at/threatening Assembly members and stay out of any federal criminal investigations, he'll probably be heralded as a success.
A couple of interesting reports on how he's dealing with his new leadership position today. The Post reports that he's getting irritated with state officials, lobbyists, and fake Barack Obama assistants all claiming that they have special access to him. Patterson has just won the political lottery, so he should get ready to hear from a lot of long-lost friends coming out of the woodwork.
The Times says that Gov. Jodi Rell of Connecticut, another surprise governor who replaced an ousted criminal, sent Patterson a care package of Pepto-Bismol, Excedrin, and a Magic 8 ball. She says she wanted to "provide him with a few laughs" by suggesting that his new job will cause him physical pain--haha!
One last thing about the Spitzer scandal: I wonder if the Times checked out any other high-level politicians in the state when they first noticed that an FBI public corruption unit was involved in the prostitution ring investigation. I wonder who else they considered as the significant public figure before figuring out it was Spitzer?
Bloomberg? Ew! Would have been a much bigger shock, also would have dispelled rumors that he's gay that I don't think are based on anything but never seem to go away.
Schumer? He loves the media (As Bob Dole said: "The most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a camera") and is probably smart enough about his image to not commit such a salacious and easily traceable crime. He's also been impressively restrained in his comments about Spitzer, who he's never liked.
Cuomo? He was already involved in a sex scandal in which he was the one getting screwed over, so maybe political sex scandals are a lightning strikes once kind of thing. Unless you're Bill Clinton.
As it turned out, the Times journalists couldn't have written a tidier morality play. They're so pleased with their reporting in this area that the paper did a lengthy profile of three more expensive prostitutes in yesterday's paper. That's a lot of whores for the Times.
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