Sunday, July 21, 2013

Michael Goodwin: Sleazy Politicians Are Back In NYC

Sex pols sock it to NY

Last Updated:7:21 AM, July 17, 2013
Posted:1:23 AM, July 17, 2013
Michael Goodwin
mgoodwin@nypost.com
What’s the matter with New York? More to the point, what’s the matter with New Yorkers?
The question takes on new and urgent meaning after the latest poll showing Eliot Spitzer stomping his primary opponent in the comptroller’s race and Anthony Weiner leading the Democratic mayoral pack. The laugh-out-loud jokes about the perv-palooza campaign suddenly feel stale now that the sex-crazed pols are serious contenders.
This is no laughing matter. Both could win. There, I said it.
The races are different — Spitzer has only one opponent, Weiner has four major ones — but something strange is afoot in both primaries. Or maybe it’s not so strange.
Maybe it’s actually as simple as this: Voters are mad as hell about politicians-as-usual and they’re not going to take it anymore.
Say what you will about Spitzer and Weiner, but they break the mold, to a fault, of course. But that might be good enough in this lackluster field.
They embody, in their own weird ways, what the late, great Murray Kempton wrote about John Lindsay and his opponents in the 1965 campaign: “He is fresh and everyone else is tired.”
Similarly, in 1977, Ed Koch pulled an upset in a divided field largely on the strength of a bigger-than-life personality.
The polls also suggest that a more recent phenomenon, the revolution against the city’s permanent government that saw Democrats lose the last five mayoral elections, is alive and well. The party kept nominating run-of-the-mill pols, and voters kept saying no thanks, we want somebody better, somebody not from the clubhouse.
So Rudy Giuliani beat David Dinkins and Ruth Messinger; Michael Bloomberg beat Mark Green, Freddy Ferrer and Bill Thompson.
Not many New Yorkers regret those results. Gotham isn’t Nirvana, but it sure beats Chicago and Detroit. You have a good chance of living to old age here, largely because you have better odds against a speeding bicycle than a bullet.
The sense that City Hall demands a big personality helps explain the lack of enthusiasm for any of the other mayoral candidates. The many attempts to draft top cop Ray Kelly into running was one indication, and another was Bloomberg’s bid to lure Hillary Rodham Clinton and others into the race.
Even union bosses, initially determined to unite behind a single Democrat, couldn’t settle on one puppet. They spread their endorsements around in a way that is keeping each of the wannabes alive without actually making any one of them inevitable.
As for policies, the differences among the candidates are mostly nuanced. They’re all playing small ball, micro-targeting messages to special-interest groups that include real-estate developers, gays, small-business owners and ethnic, racial and religious blocs. Only occasionally do straight, secular, middle-class taxpayers, homeowners and families figure into the calculation.
Weiner’s positions and interest-group appeals aren’t really distinctive, but he is. Like a crazy man in a subway with a knife, you can’t take your eyes off him. The others you can safely ignore.
Spitzer also carries the aura of a man who could explode any minute. You know he’s itching to take a bite out of somebody; you just hope it’s not you.
His vault in the Quinnipiac poll is a real head-turner. Eight days after jumping into the race, the former governor stands at 48 percent, a 15-point margin over Scott Stringer. He leads among women, blacks and Hispanics, with Stringer ahead only among men.
Stringer, the current Manhattan borough president, barely registers, with nearly six out of 10 Democrats saying they don’t know enough about him to have a clear opinion.
In a sign of its confusion and desperation, his camp is spinning that finding as an upside, saying his numbers will grow as more voters get to know him. But time is running out for an introduction.
Besides, everybody knows Spitzer, and nearly half already have settled on him as their man. Remarkably, 53 percent of Dems have a favorable opinion of him, with only 32 percent unfavorable.
Although this is still just the primary season, it is disturbing to think that Spitzer and Weiner, after their sleazy betrayals of public office, could get another shot without any evidence they have changed. But voters seem ready to get back on the roller coaster instead of settling for boring.
Buckle up, New York. It could be a helluva bumpy ride.
The real racial shame
God save America from experts, the government and the liberal media.
They told us — over and over and over — that the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin spectacle was a racial parable for our times. They forgot to tell the jury.
“All of us thought race did not play a role,” said the only juror to speak. Her identity concealed, she told CNN that race never came up during more than 16 hours of deliberations.
Prosecutors didn’t go there, either, trying to make the case that Zimmerman had no reason to fire his gun in self-defense. They never alleged a racial component.
They couldn’t, because there was no evidence to support it. The police department’s chief investigator testified that he believed Zimmerman’s account that he was attacked and feared for his life. FBI agents interviewed more than 30 people and found no evidence of racial bias.
The unanimous “not guilty’’ verdict should spark soul-searching from those who claim Martin was killed because he was black.
It should, but it won’t. Too many people see stirring the racial pot as good business.
It keeps the hustlers in the headlines and gives predominately white news organizations a way to expiate their guilt.
Remember how all this racializing was going to stop when we got a black president?
It turns out that a postracial presidency was just another false promise. Barack Obama actually fanned the flames for votes, saying during last year’s campaign, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
Subtle he’s not.
Nor can you expect change when the first black attorney general, Eric Holder, links the case to the civil-rights era. His smear of the jury system turns a criminal case into another political football.
America is better than that, even if they are not.
Getting ‘left’ out in a crisis
It is outrageous that no ambulance arrived after Council Speaker Christine Quinn called one when a council intern collapsed at a press conference. But it is curious that, after waiting 30 minutes, Quinn called Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for help.
Why didn’t Quinn call the Civil Liberties Union for an ambulance? After all, her record shows she trusts lefty lawyers more than Kelly.
Don’t sweat the mud dwellers
They are words to live by, and they come from Joe Califano. The former top aide to LBJ, Cabinet secretary under Jimmy Carter and super statesman encourages a friend whose forceful leadership was maligned by pipsqueaks and ankle biters. He writes: “Always remember, when you kick up the dirt, it’s the worms who get annoyed.”
Amen.
Read more:New York voters seem to prefer sleazy over boring - NYPOST.comhttp://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/sex_pols_sock_it_to_ny_Y7jcKR0jbXwT38Q5f75yQO#ixzz2ZhDXa6RT

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