Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The New York Republican Massacre 2006, Pt. 4: FASO'S FUTILE FIGHT AGAINST SPITZER'S CORONATION

"Presumptive" Governor Elliot Spitzer. That's the most polite way to say it. Not to presume this much is sheer fantasy, but John Faso puts on a good gameface. I couldn't pay attention to their recent debate, but it didn't matter, anyway. Faso's best shot was citing Spitzer calling Alan Hevesi an "honest . . . public official," which Spitzer stood behind(more on Hevesi in future posts; Pirro as well). It will take more than that to stop the Spitzer juggernaut.

Doing my best Don Quixote imitation, I am going to cite the NY POST op-ed page, which shows several instances that Att'y Gen. Spitzer has gone easy when prosecuting political allies. Remember, he has a national reputation as a "tough" prosecutor, even known for stepping on the toes of the SEC in Wall Street prosecutions. I wonder what kind of Governor he'll be?


Consider:

New York State United Teachers: After it was discovered that investment
firm ING was paying $3 million a year in kickbacks to NYSUT to hawk its
investment products, Spitzer brokered a deal wherein ING agreed to pay $30
million in fines.

NYSUT, the recipient of the bribes and one of the state's strongest special
interests, got off with a minuscule $100,000 fine.

Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club: City gumshoes implicated six of the
politically powerful club's execs for misappropriating funds, lavishing more
than a million taxpayer-dollars on themselves and on the now-bankrupt radio
network Air America.

Nonetheless, Spitzer let four of these Democratic operatives walk; the
remaining two got wrist-slap $5,000 fines.

(Ponder for a moment that the fines imposed on NYSUT and Wise were
fractions of the embezzled booties. Perhaps the lesson Spitzer meant to impart
was "crime sometimes does pay.")

Carl McCall: In the run-up to New York Stock Exchange CEO Dick Grasso's
much-maligned $187 million deferred-compensation payout, McCall - a former New
York comptroller and failed Democratic candidate for governor - served as
chairman of the compensation committee. At the critical meeting where the
payment was approved, McCall was the guy selling the arrangement to the other
Big Board directors.

When Spitzer announced his lawsuits, McCall escaped untargeted. Yet his
predecessor as comp-committee chair, Ken Langone (an outspoken Republican), was sued.

Ruben Diaz: Employees at the Soundview Community in Action organization
(which provides social services to poor people in The Bronx) grew frustrated
that their boss, Sen. Ruben Diaz, was using them for his political work, so they
called in Spitzer.

In eight sworn affidavits, they detailed how the center - funded with state
and federal tax dollars - was serving as a personal cash cow for Diaz
politicking.

Diaz had put both his wife and ex-wife into no-show jobs that together paid
$81,000 a year. He used Soundville staffers to distribute campaign literature,
to work in his district office - and even to set up his own birthday
party.

Spitzer let Diaz, an influential Latino Democrat and Pentecostal minister,
off with a $5,000 fine and no admission of wrongdoing.


Let's just say I don't have "high hopes" for the Spitzer administration.

Spitzer continues to paint Faso as "extreme," and cites Republicans who opposed him in the primary. Faso is a conservative, which is easily characterized as extreme in NYS. Conservatives are often relegated to opposing liberal legislation. This is because most of their bills get squashed by the liberal politics of Albany (With some notable exceptions: Keandra's Law, Vasean's Law, and others that Shelly Silver's Assembly was shamed into acting on).

This means Faso doesn't have alot of sponsored legislation to promote himself with; he opposed much liberal legislation that is now law. These seem like easy openings for Spitzer, but Faso must defend his principles, as well as attack Spitzer's. I don't see him as aggressive enough, or he just doesn't have the money to get his name and message (in that order) out there. If he rallies, he may only lose by 20 points, but he's somewhere around 50 points down right now.


That's this conservative's two cents on the NYS Governor's "coronation."

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