Jeff Pearlman

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The stooges running New York State

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By Michael Lewis

There are certain things native New Yorkers take for granted.

Traffic in midtown. Obscene restaurant prices. Outstanding pizza.

And of course, idiots running state government. Usually, it’s pretty funny, how pathetic and argumentative the elected guys in Albany act.

When I worked in a little upstate town called Glens Falls, a snowball’s throw from Albany, I saw the “government” of my state up close. It was, in a word, pathetic.

And I’d like to say with apologies to you folks in Illinois, and to the good people of Louisiana and New Jersey, New York has the most dysfunctional, stupid, idiotic leaders anywhere in these here United States.

If you haven’t been following the lunacy of the last month, here’s a quick refresher: State Senate was led by Democrats by one vote. Two Democrats defected, putting Republicans back in charge, while the Senate was in recess. Then one Democrat got cold feet, and defected back to tie the “score” at 31 each. Fighting, arguing, the whole magillah ensued. Nobody is quite clear who’s the Senate president right now.

And because of that, well, we get this lovely N.Y. Times story from yesterday, explaining that, literally, no one knows who would be in charge if something were to happen to Governor David Paterson. Seems that since Eliot Spitzer resigned after his little prostitution scandal, no one got around to appointing a lieutenant governor.

And since there’s no state Senate president that anyone can agree on, you or I basically have as much right to the governor’s chair as anyone, if ole’ Dave should suddenly have a tragic accident or something.

This is beyond ridiculous. Pathetic. Absurd. How do you have a pissing contest go on for five weeks, as this N.Y. battle has, with so many problems facing the state?  I don’t even live in N.Y. anymore and it infuriates me.

Every single person in that state Senate should be forced to resign over this embarrassment.

The journalist in me does think it’d be kind of fun, in a macabre way, if Paterson had a scandal right now and was forced to resign; maybe it’d be like “Lord of The Flies” up in Albany, with everyone fighting for the Governor’s office.

But seriously, this is beyond ludicrous, and really quite disgusting.

I never thought I’d actually say this, but right now, I wish I were from New Jersey.

–M.L.

  • Ted Mark

    Mike, I’ll see your New York and raise you Nevada, my wonderful train wreck of a state.

  • lewis

    I don’t know Ted, show me your hand. I know Oscar Goodman is quite a character, but worse than N.Y.?

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  • Ted Mark

    Goodman’s small potatoes, Michael. Google our governor, Jim Gibbons.

  • Ted Mark

    Also, check out the latest on our junior senator, John Ensign. While he is not part of the state government, he is a product of that system.

  • We elected the guy from “Kindergarten Cop” to lead our state. (Well, I didn’t vote for him, but…)

    Anyways, I see your 49 other states and commonwealths and raise you California.

  • Ted Mark

    I fold, Aaron.

  • lewis

    Ted, I have to give it to you, I did research your Governor. Quite a public official, you were right. And Ensign, too, is no great public servant.
    But whatever you say about those guys, my New Yorkers shut down their government for a month.

    Why don’t we just call it a tie?

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life