Like a Runaway Toboggan in the Himalayas

was our governor.

  • He was a particularly aggressive prosecutor and politician, who within weeks of taking office assured Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco that he, Eliot Spitzer, was a “f***ing steamroller.” Given such an aggressive way to indicate a mandate, it’s no wonder that Tedisco rode an opening — driver’s licenses for undocumented sojourners — to the max and made a national name for himself, at least to Lou Dobbs viewers.
  • His single-minded aggression was what made him a national hero by standing up to the SEC and prosecuting Wall Street wrongdoers. It’s also what made him seem heartlessly cruel in 1999-2000 when he insisted that the profoundly retarded and dying Sheila Pouliot continue to receive fluid nourishment over the course of several months (which created excruciating edema) on the grounds that withdrawing such artificial nutrition would be “assisted suicide.”
  • His attempts to change the State Senate from a Republican to Democratic majority could be ham-handed and ethically questionable. Also stupid, considering the changing demographics in NYS favor the Dems in the future, other things being equal. Not that things other things are equal at the moment.
  • Nevertheless, Spitzer also stood for progressive advances, a number of which he was accomplishing (e.g. in public education funding). His budget director and OTDA Commissioner even met with clients and advocates at a local church breakfast program for the poor on separate occasions. Classy.
  • Power makes enemies, and aggression makes more. The scorched-earth zeal with which he pursued convictions, unseen in NY since Rudy Giuliani was a US Attorney, left him with no one ready to feel merciful when and if he stumbled.
  • And of course, did he ever. Lay aside comparisons to still-serving U.S. Senators, political conspiracy theories, etc. etc. Grownups make choices. You don’t blame the rocks when a toboggan has been speeding down the Himalayas.

File this under “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in The Godfather:”

I spend my life trying not to be careless.
-Don Vito Corleone


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