Hands Off Eliot Spitzer

New York: Bruno's Overreach and Collapsing Subways What's been going on for weeks in New York state is part of the standard conservative 'kill them in the crib' strategy of destroying progressive icons and politicians. In this case, the target is rising progressive star Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer is considered especially dangerous to the right-wing, because he's a real populist who has taken on Wall Street in extremely high profile cases. He was so effective that a few years ago, the corrupt US Chamber of Commerce declared a 'war on Spitzerism' to reign in state attorney general officers that sought to aggressively enforce the law against corporate elites. The scandal that's taking place now, while ostensibly caused by Spitzer's mistakes, has more to do with these established enemies of populism combined with a peculiar set of incentives for local politicians and insider journalists in New York to pile on an anti-Spitzer frenzy. ....... years of Giuliani and Bloomberg in the Mayoral seat has of course led to decaying infrastructure ...... Every day, I get an email from Michael Caputo of NYFacts.net bashing Eliot Spitzer, and Caputo is a former aide to George H.W. Bush, well-established in right-wing orbits, and obviously directing a smear campaign. .....This is really a collection of insiders, press people, angry coddled legislators, Joe Bruno and right-wingers trying to destroy Eliot Spitzer's capacity to govern New York. They tried it with Deval Patrick in Massachusetts and Jon Corzine in New Jersey, and they'll try it with every progressive who takes on a political machine. In some ways, this is exactly what the right did in impeaching Bill Clinton, using Clinton's sloppiness and mistakes to try to overturn a popular electoral result. Destroying progressives is what the right does well, and it's in fact the only thing the right does well. This time, it's not going to work, since there are already investigations going on that are not grounded in Republican partisanship, the scandal has been on every paper in the state for weeks, and yet Spitzer is still pretty popular. ..... the public is paying attention and isn't falling for it

Eliot Spitzer is the future of the Democratic Party. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the face of the Democratic Party today, but Eliot Spitzer is the future. It could be eight years of Obama-Clinton, or Clinton-Obama. And then it is going to be Spitzer time. Spitzer is going national. If not him, then who? It is not if, but when.

I don't know a whole lot about New York state politics. The little I know, little that I follow is because Eliot Spitzer is Governor, and David Pollak is state party chair. I kept seeing Pollak at DL21C events for months. So when I got told he was now state chair, I was like, that much access!

I pride myself in my political instincts, and Spitzer shows up on my radar loud and clear. You just feel it.

Bill Clinton is like Michael Jordan, he is skillful, he jumps the hoops. Hillary Clinton is a smart, strong, pragmatic woman. Barack Obama is vastly inspiring. When I think Eliot Spitzer, I think Mike Tyson. This guy can hit. He swings. He hits.

My religion is that I am a Buddhist. My political religion is that I am a progressive. And so I am very fond of Eliot Spitzer. There is noone quite like him on the national scene. He could deliver direct elections for president, he could deliver publicly financed elections, he could deliver gay marriage.

Universal Health, Lifelong Education, Publicly Financed Elections

Those are the three big goals for progressives in America. The Obama-Clinton duo will deliver health. Education will be an ongoing thing with the private sector playing a key role. For the big political reforms, the country will have to wait for Spitzer.

I have noticed the Albany Republicans have imported some out of state right wing political gangsters to do the dirty job on Spitzer. This is a wake up call. The Republicans are going to have to call it quits when it comes to the politics of personal destruction, or they have to be thrown out of the ring. If not now, then when? We got the wind behind our back. This is no 1990s. We are raising more money than the right wingers. We have a more enthusiastic grassroots. Our blogosphere has all but drowned out right wing radio and TV. When you get hit, you hit back.

We don't want the right wingers to beat us on seeing Spitzer's national potential. We have to see it before them. And we have to get into the fight on Spitzer's behalf. Leadership is a gift. Where there is no vision, the people shall perish. Progressives have to find progressive vision and progressive causes, but unless you can find progressive leadership, you are just blowing hot air. Acting protective of promising, progressive leaders is part and parcel of the progressive religion. And so I say, hit back. The blogosphere is like a swarm of bees. Frank Bruno is going to feel like the only safe place for him is to jump into the water and stay down there.

You can not get hit, and not hit back. That is not good politics. A guy like Bruno is on his way out. Spitzer will follow in FDR's footsteps and give New York the progressive majority in the state Senate that it deserves. This guy is already yesterday's news. If you can't hit him when he is weak, when can you?

I hear some Spitzer staffer had to resign for some background research into some kind of power abuse by Bruno, some kind of a corrupt act. I have not been following too closely. The exposure should not have been the work of anyone on Spitzer's staff. Those in power govern. The work should have been the work of the progressive political network. And the exposure should have been relentless. What? He rode a state chopper when he should not have? I don't even know the freaking details.

Eight Years Of Lab Work

Eight years of Spitzer in Albany will be like having New York as the laboratory state for progressives across the country. And I am confident Spitzer can deliver. This is where all the cutting edge progressive stuff gets cooked, to be served on the national stage later.

I would like to throw in some ideas that I have been working on for Nepal, kind of telecommuting. It is almost easier to do it in Nepal since the country is about to write its constitution on its own - by the people - for the first time. It is more of a clean slate. But how about this? The governor is directly elected by the people, if noone gets at least 50%, there is a second round between the top two. For the lower chamber, all constituencies are of equal population: you hold direct elections. For the upper chamber, you hold indirect elections: you hold proportional elections. If there are 50 seats, the party that gets 2% gets one seat. So people get two ballot papers, one for the direct elections for the lower chamber, and another for the completely proportional elections to the upper chamber. So parties will have to submit lists for the 50 slots. If a party gets 50% of the votes, the top 25 people on the list get in. The 2% rule will mean a whole bunch of "startup" parties could come and go. Politics will breathe a new life. That will keep the big parties alert. And, of course, all elections will have to be publicly financed. How exactly you devise a formula is a challenge. I would say, a party gets money from the state in direct proportion to how many votes it earns, something like that. Or maybe not. I know, by now it sounds theoretical, but it is because the current system is so entrenched.

I think Spitzer should tackle gay marriage after he wins re-election. He should tackle other political reforms first while expanding gay rights all along the way.

Albany is a shame. If Albany were in Mississippi, you would be like, what do you expect, those are the backwaters. But to have the Albany dysfunction in New York state? Such a shame. That place needs heavy doses of democracy and transparency.

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