March 11, 2008

Trust, power, trainwreck

I had felt optimistic about New York State politics Sunday night. I'd been feeling down about the state's leadership for a while, including the Governor I'd heartily supported. Citizens, though, seemed to be awakening, as "Yes, we can" was coming up in ways that went well beyond the Obama campaign.

I'm not sure how interested they're going to be any longer, however, at least in New York State politics. Governor Spitzer's collapse is a disaster for him for his family, for Democrats, and for the state.

I supported Spitzer in 2006, hoping that he would take the strength he'd shown as Attorney General and change a derelict political system that few people trust. I knew he was a handful, doing great things in the cause of making Eliot Spitzer seem great, but that had worked pretty well before. He'd accomplished a lot of impossible-seeming tasks.

The cause of reform didn't fit that well with Spitzer, though. I was on his side for a lot of things, notably the comptroller's appointment and his initial calls for campaign finance reform, but looking back it seems that we had more common opponents than common ideals. He should resign.

I supported Spitzer because I thought he could challenge the legislature's power of incumbency with his own strength (and the landslide victory helped), but in the end I was wrong to think that sending the power-hungry against the power-hungry was going to solve the problems in Albany - problems that center on trust, or the lack of it.

The disaster here is worse than problems for the Governor or the Democrats. The disaster here is that this is going to make it very difficult for voters to trust again, and perhaps especially to trust people who promise to restore some desperately-needed trust to Albany.

Those of us who want to put trust at the top of the agenda have a lot more work to do now.

Update: And it would help for Spitzer to resign soon, preferably immediately.

Posted by simon at March 11, 2008 9:45 AM in
Note on photos


Craig Cramer said:

This advice (via Digby via This Modern World via Eschaton) applies to governors as well:

Remember what Kurt Vonnegut said:

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done ... This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.