Render Unto Spitzer
Earlier this year, some observers expressed shock that the right wing “Jewish Press” made an early and emphatic endorsement of Eliot Spitzer for Governor. I was not surprised. The endorsement proved that, however conservative the "Jewish Press" may be on social issues, the Orthodox Jewish establishment is more interested in being on the side that's winning, with all that entails, than with any social agenda. Or as one Rabbi once said "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's". Or was that render unto Spitzer? (and with which character in the quote does he identify?)
Credit went mostly to Shelley Silver. Some credit the “Jewish Press” with nefarious influence upon the Speaker, but Shelly doesn't follow the "Jewish Press"; on anything Shelly really cares about, the "Jewish Press" follows Shelly; you can practically draw a road map for each contract, with all roads leading straight to Grand Street. Just read last week’s Assembly endorsements, which are a straight reprint of the DACC palm card. When push comes to shove, the boys on Third Avenue will always betray their conservative principles for a Silver Schlockmonis basket, and I suppose we should all be grateful (but do not expect the endorsements for State Senate to have a similar partisan flavor).
When a liberal paper, group or politician does something like this, I accurately call them whores (just ask Marty Markowitz). When conservatives do this, I prefer to congratulate them on their pragmatism, and be thankful. Some people desperately want to be with the person they see as the prohibitively presumptive governor, and at some level, it is hard to blame them (but if they were liberals endorsing a Republican I would certainly do so).
Nonetheless, watching the extremely distasteful parade of largely Republican oriented interest groups anteing up lawyers, guns and money for Eliot Spitzer (while making sure to shovel as much treasure as they can to shore up the bulwark of Joe Bruno’s slowing dying Naturally Occurring Retirement Community), is to see the Albany Bi-Partisan Iron Triangle at its ugliest. And leading this Halloween Parade of the truly grotesque, as well he should, is Rupert Murdoch, who forced poor Johnny Podhoretz to write a truly pathetic excuse for an editorial endorsement. Query: did the Pod have to go to "The Post" Editors’ medicine cabinet and find one of Briendel’s old fixes, and a clean needle, before he wrote this garbage pile of monumental insincerity in which Pod pretends to be fighting the very forces which he has come to exemplify by virtue of writing these words?:
“A Spitzer victory is not in doubt. The question is whether he'll win by a mere landslide - or by a mind-numbing, record-setting, landscape-shifting, full-tilt-boogie blowout that vests him with indisputable authority to reclaim New York governance for New Yorkers. Only with such a mandate will Spitzer be able to get the job done. None of this reflects on the attorney general's opponent - Faso, a Republican from upstate Columbia County and a former Assembly minority leader. Faso is a man of principle who values lower taxes - would that Spitzer had half of Faso's commitment to tax cuts - and responsive government. And who has run a respectable campaign - clean, hard fought, devoid of cheap shots. But even if he were to win, which he won't, he'd be a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, struggling mightily to do the most basic things. Simply passing a budget would be a major feat. Not so, Spitzer. By virtue of political circumstance and personal attributes, Eliot Spitzer is best positioned to chase the crooks from the capitol.“
Wow! And you would have thought "The Post" might have preferred a "mere landlside", which wouldn't be taken as a clear and total repudiation of everything they ostensibly stand for. Live and learn.
Now, some of those who remember my less than whole-hearted endorsement of Tom Suozzi in the primary may express some surprise that I am strongly supporting Eliot Spitzer for Governor, but few who give it any real thought should be surprised; there were two DLC Democrats who contested the September primary, and having lost with my first choice, I gladly go with my second. As I said then:
“My father is a retired investor who’s spent his entire life as a resident of either Texas or Louisiana, and currently splits his time between the two; he can, if pressed, tell you who occupies the third slot on the slate of either Likud, Labor or Kadima, but cannot, for the life him, name the Attorney General of either of his home states, even though they are elected positions. But, he can tell you who Eliot Spitzer is. Eliot Spitzer is probably the only State AG whose support is worth any votes in the American Heartland (each state’s own AG may or may not be a possible exception), which is pretty amazing for a New Yorker, given that the support in such places by either of our very well known US Senators “ain’t”, in the words of Mr. Garner, ‘worth a bucket of warm piss’….. The more reform minded of Spitzer’s supporters have continually argued that Spitzer represents a “new paradigm” and that “everything changes on day one”. And, indeed, Eliot Spitzer's record demonstrates he has the potential to be the best possible Governor within the context of Albany’s existing culture.”
Faced with the prospect of a smart, driven, accomplished, ideologically compatible member of my own party, and a right wing Republican who is either (a) true to his principles, or (2) a whore ready to sell them out; the choice is pretty easy, even if Carl Andrews does become the next Secretary of State (after all, how much harm could he do there?). Moreover, I’ve been wrong before; maybe everything really does change on Day One. If not, it still will be a magnificent improvement over the status quo.
It nearly worked, and following his defeat, Faso became just another Albany revolving door bagman; but even at his most craven, Faso seemed to understand what he really believed. Contrast George Pataki, another former Hudson Valley legislator, who could easily abandon his perfect Pro-Life positions for perfect Pro-Choice ones, and then attempt to tack back as he tried to climb the greasy pole even higher, without ever seeming to understand what he really stood for, because he really didn’t stand for anything. And, even on economic issues, where Pataki sometimes appeared to actually believe in something, there seemed to be no hallowed ground he was unwilling to abandon.
Since running for Governor, Faso’s reverted to his old self, apparently so convinced of his imminent defeat that he’s seen no reason to sell out. This year, Faso presents a choice, not an echo; I find the choice he presents largely repugnant, but Faso clearly deserves better from those, like "The Post", who claim to champion the causes embraced by Faso’s platform.
Ha ha ha.
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