Monday, October 30, 2006

Off Message

Nobody wants to be seen with Alan Hevesi these days. According to the Daily News, the scandal-tarred Comptroller is no longer welcome at the party’s election night party. Hevesi’s political implosion has national implications. New York was expected to be in the vanguard of a national Democrat wave. Now NY Democrats are completely off message. There at least are four congressional seats in NY targeted by the Pelosi party. In at least one case, Kristin Gillibrand running against GOP Rep. John Sweeney, the Democrat candidate has called on Hevesi to resign. Spitzer and his running mate have publicly praised Gov. Pataki for his handling of the impeachment issue—probably not the sound bites they were planning for the election home stretch.

Spitzer’s handling of the Hevesi scandal is considered a sneak preview of what his general administration will be like. His campaign juggernaut has been long on promises for reform and short on substantive details. After, initially pooh-poohing the scandal, Spitzer arguably flipped-flopped, withdrawing his endorsement. However, by not endorsing the Republican candidate, Spitzer in effect sent the message: vote for Hevesi anyway and when he resigns or is impeached, I’ll appoint an obedient Democrat. In the words of Pete Townsend’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again:” “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”