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NEW YORK STATE GOVERNMENT is run by three people — the governor, the speaker of the assembly, and the majority leader of the senate. Legislators do little more than make regular runs to Albany to put in their “member items,” the budget lines that bring back goodies to their constituents. The legislature holds no hearings, has barely functioning committees, and only votes when and how their leaders tell them. New York has no ballot initiatives or any other way that the populace at large can intrude on what transpires in Albany.
The best voters can do is split the legislature between Republicans and Democrats, which they have for more almost fifty years. The governor therefore holds the balance of power. Spitzer already had the ally he needed, Sheldon Silver, Democratic Speaker of the Assembly, but that wasn’t enough. In a rerun of his Wall Street days, Spitzer decided to defame upstate Republican Joe Bruno, majority leader of the senate, by dispatching the state police to prove Bruno was using state planes for personal business. (He wasn’t.) When the story got out, Spitzer claimed to know nuthin’ from nuthin’. Not even his closest allies believe him. (See Michael Goodwin and Fred Siegel’s excellent account in the Weekly Standard.)
When Spitzer finally got around to presenting his agenda for the state, it turned out to include one exciting innovation — giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. The arithmetic here is simple: driver’s licenses + motor-voter laws = more votes for Democrats. Somehow this didn’t go down so well with the legal population, however, and Spitzer was once again besieged on all sides. He finally relented this week — although not before dragging Hillary Clinton down with him.
So how did New York end up with the most regressive state government in the country? New Yorkers are so enamored with their own “progressivism” that they fail to note the rest of the country has long since zipped by them in making government responsive to voters. Their participation consists solely in sitting around watching the three-man carnival in Albany. Amidst this boredom, the best show in town is watching yet another attorney general bash his way to the governor’s mansion by going after Wall Street. (Another Governor Cuomo — doesn’t that sound exciting?)
The important thing is to protect the rest of the country from all this. Either Wall Street should pick up and move to a less hostile environment (it’s already happening) or perhaps somebody down in Washington should take note that there really is such a thing as the Interstate Commerce Clause.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?