Thursday, August 23, 2007

Are there any adults in the room?

In the decade I've been following them, politics in Albany have always been petty, childish and having little to do with the public interest. But things have reached a new low in recent weeks.

Not along ago, a(nother) spat erupted between Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, the state's top Republican. Leaked documents accused Bruno jaunting around the state on state aircraft to fly to posh fundraisers, throwing in the token "state business" related appearance.

Bruno was gifted the opportunity to change the subject. Someone in Spitzer's office allegedly used the State Police to spy on Bruno thus creating the documents that were eventually leaked. Ever the crafty politician, Bruno used this blunder to transform himself into an underdog man of the people victim fighting against the spoiled brat elitist governor who he likened to a "third world dictator".

He demanded approximately 142 investigations into the affair in order to drag it out as long as possible.

But the tables have turned again. A nasty, threatening phone call was placed to Spitzer's father, who is 83 years old and has the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

The Albany Times-Union reported: In the message, left on Bernard Spitzer's office voice mail Aug. 6, the caller said he would be subpoenaed to appear before the Senate committee and, "If you resist the subpoena you will be arrested and brought to Albany." The caller referred to the governor as a "phony, psycho, piece of (expletive)" and said, "You will be forced to tell the truth and the fact that your son's a pathological liar will be known to all." Bernard Spitzer hired a private investigations firm, Kroll Associates, to find out who made the call. The firm concluded that Stone controls the phone used by the call.

The call was traced to the apartment of Roger Stone, a top Republican political consultant.

Stone has resigned, 'voluntarily' according to the paper. But he vehemently denied placing the call. He claims someone broke into his apartment to place the call in order to set him up. He adds that the man who owns the building in which the apartment is located is a Spitzer fundraiser.

Now Senate Democrats are calling for an investigation.

Meanwhile, the public's business remains ignored.

This is par for the course for the most dysfunctional state legislature in the nation, but it's ugly even by Albany's virtually non-existent standards.

Update: Apparently, Stone has a long history of sleaze consistent with what he's accused of here. He was part of Richard Nixon's Dirty Tricks Brigade. He was also part of the mob that shut down the 2000 recount in Miami-Dade county.


Scoop said...

Is there anything lower in life then Roger Stone, what scum. Ole Glens Falls Joe didn't wait to long to cut the strings. In the news light Joe hand gsain some ground on Spitz until this.

Mark said...

Could be worse... you could be in the financial quagmire of the grand state of New Jersey. The largest unfunded liability of all the states! An estimated $50-60 billion that we have no way to come up with for the coming years.
Tis one reason I don't plan on staying here in the long run...

Brian said...

Well, NY has a debt of $48 billion the government alone plus $80 billion in debt for the corrupt, "independent" state authorities. So not exactly much better. NY also has the highest combined state/local tax burden in the nation.