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I note two typos:last line, first paragraph: should read "have padded", not "has padded"
first line, second paragraph: should read "a reporter desperately...", not the mangled words that went in first.
I listened carefully to the program with Goodwin. NY politics has reverted to its customary state of warfare, and this time (but not the first time) has turned nasty. Spitzer behaved like a naive bully and deserves criticism. But the spat has obscured the way state officials like Bruno has padded their lives with the use of state facilities.
But what I mainly heard from Goodwin was a reported desparately trying to create a story, and misstating events to do so. Examples:
Goodwin (and Lehrer) kept referring to this spat as "the Spitzer scandal"; a more accurate designation would be "the Spitzer-Bruno scandal" or "the Spitzer-Bruno squabble"
Lehrer: Do you mean that mean there was something wrong or illegal on the Blackberrys not turned over to Cuomo?Goodwin: I don't know, but one would have to think so.
Goodwin: Spitzer misbehaved by leaking the state police information to the Albany newspaper without mentioning the "legitimate"meetings that Bruno attended. The Albany newspaper did a terrible job and didn't check.But:Lehrer's guest from the Albany newspaper (on a program last week)said that the newspaper had checked with Bruno's offrice before publication, and Bruno's office refused to give any information about other-than-political work during the trips in question.
Goodwin (repeatedly): The question is Spitzer's credibility. But it seemed to me that the only person who doubts his credibility is Goodwin, who offered no fact, no evidence, no comment from anyone else that refutes, rebuts or even questions what Spitzer has said.
All in all, Mark Zimmerman above is correct. The press, led by Goodwin, are whooping this up way more than it is worth.
I can't help but feel that these events are reminiscent of the mishandling by CBS and Dan Rather of George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard records. As a result of carelessness, and perhaps even a very craftily laid trap and preemptive form of damage control, the underlying issue is completely obliterated by the righteous anger of a 'wronged' victim. Just when Bruno's control of the state senate was coming into question, he has leapt on this opportunity, (with the questionable assistance of Andrew Cuomo), and is riding it for all its worth.
Spitzer comes off as politically naive and less skilled at damage control, and with a long list of past aggravants who are happy to sit on their hands and watch him squirm.
Unfortunately, the underlying issues of Bruno's abuse of the helicopter privileges (in spirit if not the letter of the law, but very similar to Bush's presidential appearances, RNC fundraiser travel), and as with the Bush Texas Air National Guard records controversy, is completely obliterated from view.
Two points:1. Gov Spitzer really let himself in on all this when he ran on a platform of squeaky-clean government & then acted in a manner that seems just like the same old same old, in terms of his "corrective" action toward his advisors if not the revelation that his office is just as capable of political sleaze as anybody else. You're either going to advocate virtue in government or you're not. Spitzer seems to want it both ways, & he's tarnished for it.
2.The press (including the Lehrer Show, unfortunately) seems to be willing to beat this horse to death if it isn't dead already. Between this matter & the Obama/Hillary theater, we've been subject4ed to waaaaay more insights & analysis than these issues could possibly deserve.
One of the big differences between bush and Spitzer is motivation. I believe that the Gov is motivated by a desire to actually help the people while bush is motivated (or manipulated) in order to hurt his political enemies.
Spitzer has lost of the most valuable commodity of any politician--credibility. Once a pol loses that, he loses everything.
Spitzer just got here. He made a mistake. Maybe it reflects on his character. We don't even know, because we haven't seen him operate yet. Maybe he can change his character somewhat.
But look: I want a governor. I don't want 4 years with New York limping along under a political scandal. Can we not let this investigation go on its own track, and allow Spitzer the space to proceed with real business?
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