Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Three men in a room

His blind gaze was fused, instead of scanning the standing-room-only crowd, many of them still giggling from his last one-liner. There’s a slight lull in the action and even a split second of silence when his fingers curl into a fist that instinctively pumps in the semi-stagnant air at his inauguration, a ceremony symbolically conducted inside a cramped chamber instead of outside on the Capitol’s west lawn.

“I am David Patterson and I am the governor of New York State!”

Wait. Stop there. Freeze that frame. Who is the fellow in the right corner of the screen, an ear-to-ear grin firmly ensconced between the wrinkles on his face? It’s a smile that suggests something completely absent of innocent happiness; the kind of joy one might get from seeing a child play in dandelion field or that same individual graduating from college. There is something sinister about that smile, especially considering the chum wearing it.

Never has Hollywood Joe Bruno been so close to assuming governor’s seat. He’s one well-placed bullet –or scandal –away from seizing the keys to what some would call New York’s top legislative position. But that’s not why he’s grinning.

Overnight, there’s has been a cataclysmic shift in government; the type of event that would have shaken all the buildings on State Street Hill into the Hudson was it something seismic. In one instance, Eliot Spitzer, the seemingly undefeatable foe of Bruno’s very ideology was viciously excoriated; flogged on the podium and then handed banished from the Capitol for good.

Then, to make matters all the more fitting for a sinister smile from the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Patterson came to power; the same Patterson who meekly took hold of the senate minority just five years earlier; the same Patterson known for his conciliatory powers and not the steamroller politics of his predecessor.

Bruno will still have an uphill battled retain the Grand Old Party’s chokehold on the senate, but he’s got an eight-month reprise with which he can whisper into a friendly ear. True, Patterson won’t be nearly as knocked-kneed as a mealymouthed fellow named Pataki was. However, Patterson does seem to represent in spirit a return to the ‘three men in a room’ politics that ruled Albany for all of Pataki’s tenure.

The politics of change are over and Bruno can smile freely now; quite in contrast to the forced grimace he wore during Spitzer’s inauguration 14 months earlier. Moreover, the state’s most powerful Republican legislator can revel in the notion that a particularly virulent strain of the state Democratic Party was quashed with the implosion of Spitzer’s reign.

For more than a decade, Spitzer cultivated a combative, take-no-shit image his party utterly lacked prior to his candidacy. Spitzer, the self-proclaimed steamroller, was all about taking down the general before moving to the foot soldiers. His politics hinted of a new brand of liberalism in the party. Instead of passive resistance, he believed in waging hyper-aggressive preemptive attacks on his perceived enemies; consolidating power before they can identify the source of the besieging. Absent Spitzer, however, the party lacks a cherished firebrand to champion this new movement, which will likely extinguish before it can be rekindled three years from now.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bluto showed us in no ambiguous terms that bullies never win, Elliot should have taken notice. However he got a woodie for Veronica's neighborhood. Suits the creep right.

David will do well!

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO: Don't be so quick to write off the Dems' ability to come up with another hyper aggressive gubernatorial candidate. Go back and take another look at the photo. Right next to grinning Uncle Joe sits the leering Andrew Cuomo, licking his chops at the prospect of running for governor again. Now that Eliot's out of the way, Andrew will make short work of David Paterson as well as anybody the Repubs can come up with.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 blind mice! See how they run! Bruno is a bigger problem for this state than Spitzer ever was. When is his day of reckoning?

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:46
I'm curious about your statement that "Bruno is a bigger problem..." Please elaborate. Thanks

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Kyle York said...

6:46
Please, a little more discretion. I believe our new Governor will do well overall and prove to be a friend to Saratoga Springs. Let's see how he handles the Track. Until then, joke about his fidelity if you wish. But there's not a day goes by that I don't wish I could give my 20/20 eyes to my brother, legally blind since birth.

11:45 AM  
Blogger BlueDog said...

The NY Post is going after Patterson. They published their lead story today about shady money transactions involving the Govenor. If a jealous husband doesn't get him first he could go down in a scandal. Uncle Joe could be our next govenor!

6:09 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

5:51,

Cuomo is a wildcard. He lost major party points by sucking the life out of Carl McCall's campaign in 2002. He may have regained those points by taking the AG's office, but I wouldn't yet place him in a category of someone like Spitzer, sans the sex scandal and whatnot.

Spitzer has(or at least had) a unique gift for striking a chord with people. He was the type of fucker that could walk into a cage of slavering lions and walk out an hour later with them purring. He had a savvy that I've seen in few politicians; perhaps that's why he carried his indiscretions with such brazen arrogance.

Frankly, I know little of Cuomo since his 2002 disaster. At the time, he left me with the impression that he's a spoiled little brat trying to usurp his father's legacy without doing a thing to earn it. Granted, that was six years ago now, and I haven't as much as been in the same room with Cuomo, much less seen him in action. He's kept a low key as AG, which at this point is probably a good thing.

With this said, I don't doubt your assertion: Cuomo will be on the 2010 ticket, no ifs, ands or buts about it. And I wouldn't at all be surprised to see him get the slate over Patterson, who is probably a one-hit wonder, if a wonder at all. But the young Cuomo will have a lot to contend with and a lot to prove. I doubt you'll see him score the overwhelming mandate Spitzer managed to squander just two months into his second year.

Bluedog: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself..." and Joe Bruno becoming governor. Although, I'll add this caveat: There's a reason Bruno is a senator and never bothered with governor or any other higher office. And that reason probably lies in the battlefield graveyard of skeletons that would drop from his closet were he closely scrutinized by the press as Patterson is being now. In fact, being governor might straighten Hollywood Joe out a bit...

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.sunlightny.com/snl1/app/index.jsp

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

demroc said: it's funny, about the only people who applauded this whole thing are the ones that benefit from it. for instance joe bruno and wall street. personally seeing all these entities that were caught doing something wrong now applaud, is just distasteful. people like tedisco who now sit there grinning like the chesire cat, seems to forget the reason so many voted for the guy to begin with. a lot of people felt like the gov't wasn't doing their job. they spent is whole tenure dragging their feet to any changes. bravo..i'd rather have a guy go down to wall street and make sure they're doing things right and given the choice it doesn't seem like any of these monkeys will be doing it.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

demroc,

If you haven't read it already, definitely take a gander at the New York Times piece on Spitzer that was in the weekend's paper. It gets a bit flowery with the language at times, but it really does put the former governor's plight into perspective.

And on Tedisco, I'll prepare you for this, because it's comming: Governor Tedisco. He'll be in the running in three years.

I have no doubt Spitzer was victim of a political assassination derived from his own weakness. The people applauding now are the ones who knew if he wasn't taken down, his call for change would only get stronger. As much as I'm willing to give Patterson the benefit of the doubt, he's a 'don't rock the boat' legislator firmly ensconced in the status quo. Spitzer's failing will ultimately prove to be New York's loss.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

demroc said: yeah and what about this bs investigation tied to money laundering and etc. what bs tha seems to be.. i think they were just looking for something like you said.. when they found something they (republicans on the national level) had to come up with some cover "investigation" yeah sure, it seems the patriot act serves more then one purpose

5:37 PM  

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