There are two major parties in Rochester: the Democrats and the Republicans. No other party has won a mayor’s race here that I know of. At least, not in my lifetime. And really, its just the Democratic Party if we’re being honest. Republicans don’t seem to have run very good candidates and they’ve failed pretty miserably.

So, when into the confusion left in the wake of Mayor Duffy walks former Mayor Johnson, the outcome should be simple: split the party, even if he gets the nomination, and the Republican wins. Hell, there might even be a shot for an entirely different party to win. But that’s probably not going to happen: with Mayor Johnson’s strong personality and connection to his constituency, he’s very likely going to win.

And that just makes me wonder about personality types in politics in general, how they affect the voters and how they affect the opposition parties. And by “strong personality,” I don’t mean “good candidate” or “good at the job given,” though we can fairly say Mayor Johnson was both of those. I mean that whether we’re talking about Bush vs. Clinton, Bush vs. Gore, Bush vs. Kerry, Lazio vs. Spitzer or I am sure many other examples, it seems like not only does the electorate respond favorably to a personality that leaves them with a strong opinion – even a negative one – but the opposition party always seems to react to that personality, ending up with sort of a Bizzaro Candidate that leaves the voters flat.

In the case of the opposition party, I think maybe they feel the need to run a candidate who answers the questions Type A Candidate raises. If Type A spends too much, Candidate B talks about fiscal responsibility. If Type A has rough sex with hookers, Candidate B has to raise a moral flag. That is, of course, in reference to Spitzer, who didn’t run for reelection. But the Republican candidate Paladino was I think more of a response to Spitzer than to Patterson.

What about the electorate? Political parties make decisions based on political tactics, even if they’re losing ones. But what drives us to vote for someone we distrust over someone who, I presume, seems a little flat? Bill Clinton’s sexual appetite was already pretty established by 1992 and we didn’t care. It was still an issue – though the Lewinsky thing hadn’t broken yet – in 1996 and we still didn’t care. His poll numbers remained relatively high even after the scandal, while his personal approval rating dipped.

I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this. Is it just calculation? Was it really just the economy (“stupid”) that buoyed Clinton, or something else?

From the comments section, and a hat tip to dadofone for putting this all together.

If you wondered, as Bill Maher did on a recent episode of Real Time, why the federal government was able to track down some rough sex between Governor Spitzer and a hooker but didn’t know about Bernie Madoff or the credit crisis, Eliot Spitzer himself has an answer for you: he got shut up.

We’ll have to see where this goes. Maybe old Spitz is making a comeback. Maybe we can legalize prostitution and put this whole thing behind us. Ya never know. . .

Well, I’ll be damned:

‘Girls Gone Wild’ Founder: Spitzer Call Girl in Video – 13WHAM.com

Joe Francis said his staff checked the archives and there she was as an 18-year-old, in a series of nude videos featuring same-sex encounters. Turns out Dupre visited Miami in 2003 to celebrate her 18th birthday and ended up spending a week on the “Girls Gone Wild” tour bus.

This Duprey girl needs to get her fine ass to The Bunny Ranch and start bankrolling the dough.

The RBJ is conducting a snap poll which asks the question:

In your opinion, what impact is Spitzer’s resignation likely to have on plans for Midtown Plaza and efforts to revitalize the upstate economy?

Ugh.  Hadn’t thought of that: all that money to tear down MidTown Mall and put up the Paetec.  Crimeny.

Rochester Turning has filed a report from the latest Eric Massa press call. They’re reporting that Mr. Massa has decided to give the money he got from Spitzer away to charity rather than keeping it. Below is the relevant text of the post, with some minor formatting:

rochesterturning.com: turning the tide upstate

Q, Jill Terreri, D&C: Why were you compelled to donate the money he gave to you?

A: I want to sever all ties with Eliot Spitzer and myself. I am not going to return the money to him so he can continue using it for whatever purpose he is using his money. We donated the money to battered women in Steuben County to put it to some good use.

Mr. Massa is definitely one of those guys who would make this sort of decision on his own, purely on integrity. But does it concern him at all that the NRCC has already made calls for Democratic candidates to release Spitzer’s “dirty money?” This action may come across to voters as a capitulation to Republican pressure, though his opponent Randy Kuhl has thus far not made the same demands. And what about other candidates, are they likely to follow suit?  Jared Smith at Massa for Congress was good enough to pass along my questions.

The Massa camp reiterated Eric Massa’s “disgust” for Eliot Spitzer’s actions, and said he shared those feelings with all New Yorkers.  They further responded responded that, indeed, their decision to donate the money to The Net Domestic Abuse Program in Steuben County was Mr. Massa’s own decision and not based on any outside pressure. They pointed out that Randy Kuhl is among those Republican politicians who have not returned the money taken from the indicted Tom DeLay, so NRCC pressure does not seem to concern them much.  As for pressure on Democratic candidates, the Massa campaign responded that they can only speak for and act on their own behalf.

I also spoke with Jon Powers‘ campaign manager, John Gerken. He indicated that Mr. Powers supported calls for Spitzer to resign as the best way to resolve the issue for voters in the state. When I asked about Eric Massa’s decision to donate Spitzer’s money, Mr. Gerken said that Jon Powers has not accepted any money from Eliot Spitzer.

Eliot Spitzer is going to be making an announcement at 11:30am this morning, in just a few scant minutes.  13WHAM.com will be streaming the video live, so those of you at work, now is the time to goof off for the good of our state.  Also, Evan Dawson follows up on the blog with reaction from Joe Morelle.  Joe wants (as I think we all do) a statement from our new governor, David Patterson, post haste.

Liutenent Governor Patterson on 13WHAM.comDown there at the bottom of a discussion of Patterson’s prospects of becoming governor, there is a fairly obvious hint that this is precisely what’s about to happen:

If Spitzer steps down, Paterson would move up – 13WHAM.com

Tuesday morning, Assemblyman Republican leader James Tedisco said he got a call from Paterson. Tedisco had been at odds with the Democratic Spitzer, but, Tedisco said Paterson asked if he would consider a fresh start.

It’s pretty obvious that Spitzer needs to step down, but to this moment, it has been less obvious that he would.  This phone call makes it seem like this may already be happening.  Indeed, speculation has been that Spitzer intended to use his stepping down as a part of a plea bargaining deal that would eliminate the need for him to be indicted.

After all the craziness happened yesterday afternoon, it seems like a good idea to pull the pieces of the Spitzer Strumpet Scandal and add my own thoughts. Things moved fast through the blog community and elsewhere, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. I’m sure I’ll miss some stuff, so don’t be afraid to hit me with corrections in the comments. But be warned: this is a very long roundup!

Continue reading

And he pays quite a bit.  According to the New York Sun (h/t TAP), these girls charged as much as $5,500 an hour.  Here’s a question: wouldn’t a guy who can afford that much be better served spending that money on a trip to the Bunny Ranch, where it’s legal?  There’s apt to be less FBI agents tapping the phones out there. . .

H/t to TalkingPointsMemo.com, from whence I find the story.  Well, if we have any defense against the coming onslaught of Republican cries of foul play in the Governor’s Mansion, it may only be that we can hope these girls were at least of age and probably not found in public bathrooms.  The same cannot be said of all Republican scandals:

Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring – New York Times

Just last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an expensive prostitution operation. Administration officials would not say that this was the ring with which the governor had become involved. But a person with knowledge of the governor’s role said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified as clients in court papers.

Ya gotta love Eliot Spitzer. Here this guy acts like he’s some kind of progressive during the elections, delivers nothing on his promises other than a pittance of money, and then every time you turn around, he’s got some new fascist program he wants to put in place.

First, it was the Real ID card. How did we go from documenting illegal aliens to Big Brother style national ID cards with biometrics? Fortunately, that one looks like it’s a back-burner issue now. We shall see. But the new thing? How about cameras on the streets, catching traffic violators? Well, if he has his druthers, it’s coming:

Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

Spitzer also proposed Tuesday that Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Yonkers and Nassau and Suffolk counties be allowed to have traffic safety programs similar to one in New York City that uses cameras at red lights. The Legislature must approve installing cameras. Last year Buffalo was rebuffed when it requested permission for 50 cameras expected to generate $3.5 million to hire more police officers and pay for other public safety initiatives. Spitzer’s request would allow up to 50 cameras for each locale. The cameras snap photos of license plates so that tickets can be issued to the owners of vehicles that run red lights.

O.I.C. So, this is only to catch red light violations? I don’t think so. Right there in the article is the fact that installing the monitors will raise revenues by 3.5 million dollars a year. Janet Napolitano in Arizona is already balancing her budget using revenue from the same types of camera monitors.

Notice that this has nothing to do with prevention. In fact, prevention is the last thing they want. It’s about raising revenue for the state off our failings as humans. Instead of having cops out there, watching what’s going on, making judgment calls based on all available evidence and maybe sending someone off with a warning, we’ll have disinterested cameras clicking away and raising insurance rates across the state.

Good for corporations, good for the state. I believe that’s the definition of fascism.