The Humbling of Eliot Spitzer

Nick Paumgarten has a good profile of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer in a recent New Yorker, full of yummy quotables and and humorous insight on the insanity of Albany politics. Take, for example, these two grafs, about Spitzer’s famous driver’s license policy for illegal aliens:

A week later, Mayor Bloomberg raised questions about the plan, citing worries that it would diminish a license’s value. In a characteristic display of excessive rhetorical aggression, Spitzer responded, “He is wrong at every level—dead wrong, factually wrong, legally wrong, morally wrong, ethically wrong,” at which point the story moved to the fore. In Buffalo, where I’d watched him make the City-by-City announcement, the driver’s-license issue dominated the media scrums. Spitzer seemed to be relishing the opportunity to re-state the virtues of his proposal (bringing undocumented aliens “out of the shadows”), resolute in the idea that sound logic—or his logic, at least—would prevail.

Already, though, the plan was gathering third-rail heat. Spitzer’s opponents had begun to frame it as a terrorism issue. James Tedisco, the minority leader in the Republican Assembly—to whom Spitzer had said, earlier in the year, “I’m a fucking steamroller, and I’ll roll over you”—declared, “Osama bin Laden is somewhere in a cave with his den of thieves and terrorists, and he’s probably sabering the cork on some champagne right now, saying, ‘Hey, that governor’s really assisting us.’ ”

Ah, excess rhetorical aggression, Osama comments, and the governor himself saying, "I’m a fucking steamroller." Gotta love it. I also liked this anecdote when the AG of California challenged him to a fight:

It can seem churlish to call attention to a man’s privileged background, unless that man, either out of embarrassment or political expediency, takes pains to gloss over it. Spitzer sometimes makes more of his outer-borough credentials than any son of Riverdale should. During a dispute at a conference several years ago, the California attorney general challenged him to a fight, saying, “Let’s go—I’m from Oakland,” to which Spitzer replied, “Come on—I’m from the Bronx!”

1 comment on “The Humbling of Eliot Spitzer
  • Spitzer is a thug in rich man’s clothes.

    He is literally a sociopath who believes that he can get whatever he wants by running rough shod over other people and the law.

    The “I had to” statement about breaking the election law is all the more telling. Spitzer believes laws are for everyone else.

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