Look on the Bright Side, Ericka!

Ericka Rosenberg of WXXI seems to enjoy, like many commentators, having a bit of fun with Eliot Spitzer’s “Day One” dillio from the campaign.  They all gasp in feigned shock to discover that everything did not, in fact, change on day one.

But seriously, were you really so foolish as to have believed that *everything* was literally changing the moment Eliot Spitzer was sworn in?  Did anyone fall for that as a literal promise, or did most people take that to mean that the debate was going to change and that real changes might for once in New York’s history be possible?  If you knew *everything* was going to change the minute you elected a leader, wouldn’t that be dictatorship, and why would you have voted for that?

Don’t be silly.  Great to jab the current executive of the state, but let’s not lose our sensibilities.  And as Mrs. Rosenberg points out herself, there have been changes, albeit not of the earth-scorching variety:

Policy Wonk: Legislative Lessons for a New Governor

At least this year the leaders parted ways over genuinely important issues and each was forced to publicly state his position. In the past, Bruno has been able to sidestep the campaign-finance issue. This year, because of the high profile Spitzer put on the issue, Bruno had to confront it. Yes, he tried to brush it aside by saying voters don’t care how campaigns are financed, but he also had to employ the “campaign giving is free speech” argument to defend the high limits and loopholes in the law.

And oh, what a memorable collection of Bruno quotes it has been, eh?

While I’ve been critical of the governor’s style from time to time, the fact remains that, especially where Clean Money, Clean Elections is concerned, the dialogue in Albany has changed dramatically.  Inasmuch as talking about election and campaign finance reform won’t be all it takes, it is important to recognize that once an idea is planted in the minds of the body politic, some definitive answer to the question is inevitable.

What that answer will be remains open for debate.  The Citizen Action people are pushing hard to make sure that CMCE is the adopted standard in favour of Sheldon Silver’s ill-omened “partial financing” option.  Of course, Albany leaders can try to sit on this one as long as they can, like usual; silence is also an answer.

But Eliot Spitzer has done a great job changing the discussion in Albany, the rest is up to the activists to bring that message to the people and the people to Albany.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.