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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Spitzer and Political Fallout

That chortling you hear off in the distance is the sound of Republicans gloating that a prominent Democratic Governor, who was a dogged fighter against corporate corruption, has been tainted by a sexual scandal. The GOP will trumpet their outrage until everyone is sick of hearing about it, demanding Spitzer’s resignation, while shrugging off the sexual scandals of Senators Craig and Vitter. Their strategy is clear — to prolong the controversy and hope the ill will generated will be extended to other Democratic candidates.
According to the latest New York Times coverage, it is still unclear what Governor Spitzer intends to do and when he intends to do it. In the best case scenarios, Governor Spitzer’s problems won’t have much effect on the ’08 elections. If he resigns with a minimum of fanfare, no Democratic candidate, from president to school board, will lose many votes because of it. There is some concern among NY Dems that it could have an adverse effect on their hopes to reverse the GOP’s one-vote majority in the NY state senate. Lt. Governor David Patterson, a strong Democrat, is ready to assume the governorship if Spitzer resigns. In terms of presidential politics, Spitzer’s problems will likely have more effect on ’12, or ’16, when he might have tested the presidential primaries.
If Spitzer does resign, the more alert members of the msm may ask the GOP why Vitter and Craig are still in office, pointing out the double standard in their highly selective outrage — Vitter, who was also implicated in a scandal with prostitutes, reportedly received a “loud standing ovation” from some of his GOP colleagues at a luncheon following his admission that he “sinned.”

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