Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Or, "Guvs Gone Wild!"

But seriously, folks...

When all is said and done, I could not care less about consensual sexual contact, with or without a price tag attached. As far as I'm concerned, that's between you, your partner(s), and your conscience.

However, I am concerned about financial shenanigans. The fact that the governor allegedly had a shell corporation he used to move money through -- which is what tipped off the IRS, who then tipped off the FBI, because they thought maybe the money was being used for bribes instead of hookers -- isn't a good thing. A smart guy like Eliot Spitzer should have known that the paper trail he was (allegedly) creating stood a good chance of coming back to bite him in the ass one day. Someone who spent 8 years as New York State's Attorney General -- "the Sheriff of Wall Street" -- should have figured that out by now.

But, more than anything else, I am concerned about the effectiveness of our governmental leaders.

After a rocky first year in which Spitzer seemed determined to destroy every possible legislative relationship -- which, by the way, demonstrated incredible naivety; most legislators weren't scared of him or his act, just annoyed -- I had hoped that 2008 would the year in which he used leadership and education, instead of spittle-flecked attempts at intimidation, to move his agenda forward.

When I saw him speak at a breakfast a few weeks ago, he seemed prepared to make his case and work with -- not against -- lawmakers in Albany to institute some solid reforms and accomplishments. Maybe 2008 would truly be his 'Day One.' Or maybe not. We'll never know now.

The fact is that this scandal has now decimated his ability to lead and govern effectively. I can see no way for him to recover.

Not that anyone asked me or anyone cares, but I would not call on him to resign. That's a decision he (or perhaps the federal government) will make. But if Eliot Spitzer remains in the Governor's Mansion, I can assure you that his agenda will be nothing more than a waste of paper, and the moral authority he has tried so unskillfully to use will be worth even less.

That's too bad. A lot of people in Albany could use a good ass-kicking, but Spitzer first overdid it, then fatally compromised himself and his authority.

There's a moral to this story, but that moral has been the basis of tragedy for centuries. Too bad some people still don't get it.