It seemed odd to me that Eliot “courtesans are for royalty, not plebs” Spitzer chose comptroller as his avenue back into politics. Paul Krugman, in probably the most Krugman column ever, opines that comptroller would give him a chance to tangle with the Wall Street fat cats. Of course, Krugman spent the previous column bashing “Libertarian populism” without ever mentioning that a core tenet of libertarian populism is breaking up the big banks and reigning in Wall Street. Apparently, Wall Street can only be attacked by rich hypocritical aristocratic friends of Paul Krugman.
It’s worth repeating what I said in an earlier column: Spitzer went to enormous effort to jail guys looking to get laid and women trying to make some money while he ran around with a high-priced courtesan; Spitzer structured his payments to avoid triggering bank reporting laws; Spitzer used his money and legal friends to avoid any prosecution for his acts. Spitzer is everything liberals claim to hate.
“Conscience of a Liberal”, my ass.
Then agan, maybe Krugman is hoping that electing Spitzer would be so idiotic that it would provoke that economy-stimulating alien invasion he’s always on about.
Walter Olson has a much more likely explanation:
Strong-arming gun makers to act against their perceived business interests, as well as those of their customers:
…in retrospect, there were a few clues that Spitzer was eying a job whose duties include managing the city’s pension funds…
In December, after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Spitzer wrote a column in the online publication Slate arguing that pension funds should use their investing clout to pressure corporations such as gunmakers to act in the public interest.
New York City’s comptroller, Spitzer said in the interview, is “a significant player in terms of the pension funds and how those shares are voted. And when I speak with folks about corporate governance, the missing link in all of this has been ownership.”
Eliot Spitzer has long been a key player in efforts to intimidate lawful gun manufacturers through both strained litigation theories and hamhanded attempts at economic pressure. The NYC comptroller’s office, with its sway over billions in pension fund money, would present him with a large sandbox indeed.
This sound very likely to me: that Eliot Spitzer is seeking to politicize a pension fund and gain unaccountable unrestrained power to bully, intimidate and harass any business that he doesn’t like. Indeed, it’s for these reasons that I oppose most Social Security privatization plans: because of the power that trillions in investment money would potentially give the government.
But … as shown by Krugman … liberals love Eliot Spitzer. They love him because he may be a pompous, power-hungry, hypocritical, Constitution-shredding horse’s ass; but he’s a pompous power-hungry, hypocritical, Constitution-shredding horse’s ass against people they don’t like (i.e, bankers). So the idea of using NYC’s pensions to bash lawful businesses into obeying their whims sounds great.
The problem is that sleazy tyrants like Spitzer are never satisfied with just going after one enemy. It won’t be long until Spitzer is trying to blackmail newspapers that run escort ads. Or those that run gun advertisements. Or those that are insufficiently groveling. New York may soon elect a comptroller who sees his job not as managing finances but advancing an agenda. Just don’t whine when that agenda turns on you.