Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Yes, it's another rousing edition of Name that Party starring disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

ABC put together this handy dandy guide for disgraced politicians, and yet they somehow managed to misplace the party affiliations for the Democrats among the bunch (via NRO Online). Funny how that happens.

The New York Times, which got kudos from me when they broke the story initially, gets reduced marks for moving around Spitzer's political affiliation and essentially burying it deep inside the stories.

The Times is also reporting that Spitzer is now weighing resignation (party affiliation in the 8th paragraph). Well, you would think that he would be thinking about resignation from the moment that the news broke. The facts aren't changing for the better with him. He's admitted to indiscretions, and tacitly admitted that he paid for sex; it's the money that will get him in trouble since he broke federal laws (it was the money transfers that alerted a bank to notify the FBI, which began investigating Spitzer's money transfers that uncovered the prostitution ring).

Here are media outlets that get kudos for reporting the story accurately and include Spitzer's political affiliations:
CNN notes that Spitzer was a rising star in the Democratic party in its opening paragraph.

MSNBC doesn't see fit to include his party affiliation in this story, but does so here.

Reuters includes his party affiliation in the third paragraph. As a wire service, that story gets picked up by media outlets around the world, so it's good to see that they got it in there.

The AP, on the other hand, doesn't include his political affiliation. For a wire service, that's bad form, and that means that those outlets that utilize AP reports will not include his party affiliation. Name that party!

The NY Daily News needs to remember the game as well. They omit his party affiliation from their report.

Spitzer is going to be the gift that keeps on giving for bloggers and pundits. And headline makers. That said, it's a horror show for Spitzer's wife, Silda and their three daughters. Friends are urging Silda to take the kids and run. Eliot will be taken to the cleaners, but for now she's standing by her husband.

David Paterson
is in line to make history if and when Spitzer does step down. He would be the first African American governor of New York and the first legally blind governor. As I've previously noted, I believe him to be tough but fair and found him to be quite nice in my contacts with him and his office.

Use the comments below to provide your favorite headlines.

Allah and Ed Morrissey wonder whether NYS Republicans might start an impeachment/removal process against Spitzer if he doesn't resign in short order. I don't think so. They’ve got more to gain from letting this joker stick around. They can beat Spitzer and the Democrats like a pinata until he does actually resign. And if they’re smart, the state GOP try to link in as many other Democrats as possible - all of his allies and cronies - for not doing enough to denounce Spitzer or failing to call for his resignation, etc.

That said, the state budget is due April 1, and while NY doesn’t exactly have a good record of putting on time budgets in place, the governor’s problems do influence the way the budget process will play out and state residents will be adversely affected. If they would push for his removal, it would be with that justification in mind, though the time spent on the removal would also affect the budget process.

In other words, I think state Republicans would be wise to continue denouncing Spitzer and slamming him on his ethical and criminal actions but stopping short of actually seeking his removal from office. It would overplay their hand, and the worst thing that New York Republicans can do is that. This is a political party in disarray, and Spitzer's mess is a present to the party that can help them rebuild after the debacle that was the Pataki years.

Michelle Malkin weighs in and notes that the state GOP is threatening to impeach Spitzer if he doesn't resign within 48 hours. I see that as more of an idle threat and something they'll carry out.

Well, why delay the inevitable? Just resign now. Spitzer is trying to figure out the best time to resign.
Top aides to New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said this morning that they expect the governor to resign his office, although the timing of the resignation remains uncertain, according to a report on the New York Times website.

The report said Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson and his staff have begun laying the groundwork for him to take over as governor and are reaching out to members of the Legislature, the aides said.

As Spitzer faced mounting calls to resign amid a prostitution scandal, a law enforcement official said the governor first came under suspicion because of cash payments from several bank accounts to an account operated by a call-girl ring.
There's a New Jersey connection to all this. Figures.

Who provides fashion tips to disgraced Democrat governors of Northeastern states and their wives? (HT: Mrs. Lawhawk)

The fact is that the Spitzers and McGreeveys are both wearing virtually identical outfits, and it begs the question what message were they trying to make? Is this now the official uniform of disgraced Democrat governors? It certainly seems that way. Silda Spitzer clearly isn't hiding her disgust for her husband's actions nearly as well as Dina McGreevey did, though in the end, Dina did demand a divorce and things got ugly real quick. Will the same happen to the Spitzers? I don't know, but I know that Eliot truly deserves to be taken to the cleaners for his reprehensible actions.

We've had a David Paterson sighting at the Capitol in Albany, which doesn't mean all that much at the moment unless he's about to give a presser saying that Spitzer is resigning and he's taking over. He supposedly was going to resign last night but was talked out of it by his lawyers (said lawyers remain nameless - I'd like to know who's advising him).

Hot Air notes that sources are saying that Spitzer indulged his fancies at the Emperor's Club for more than a year. That's a whole lot of money involved. Wouldn't someone have noticed (besides the banks that notified the FBI and got the ball rolling on the investigation into whether he was taking bribes that instead turned out to be payments to various shell companies for call girls)? And what about his security detail? How did Spitzer give them the slip to go on his trysts? Has Spitzer tried out a reinstatement of the Bear Mountain Compact (what happens with Albany politicians says in Albany) only to find that it is no longer operative?

Check that - the Post is reporting that Spitzer has been a john for more than six years, and might have been paying for sex for more than a decade. The hits keep on rolling, and each revelation will only add insult to the injury felt by Silda and Spitzer's kids.

As legalbgl had noted in earlier comments, if and when Spitzer resigns, it will cost Sen. Hillary Clinton a superdelegate.
Spitzer, a Clinton supporter, is under pressure to resign. He remains a superdelegate only as long as he is governor, according to Democratic National Committee rules.

If he quits, he would not be replaced as a superdelegate. Lt. Gov. David Paterson would become governor and he already supports Clinton, meaning the New York senator would lose one superdelegate.
As I've been warning since this story broke yesterday, New Yorkers are likely to be screwed by Spitzer screwing around on the side because it is going to affect the budget process, with the state budget due April 1.

It also puts the governor's office in a bad position because the troika consisting of the governor, Sen. Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver determine the budget. With Paterson coming into the process late, Bruno and Silver are going to throw their weight around, which likely means another spending spree at a time when the state can ill afford one.

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