I realize that pinning the entirety of the financial crisis on the greedy evildoers of Wall Street is a popular and populist progressive assertion (just remember: political big-government do-goodism and the artificial incentives it created had nothing to do with it), and that even campaign ads can take artistic license to make a point. But the point of Eliot Spitzer’s newest advertisement, I gather, seems to be that NYC electing him as comptroller will result in… the shut down of the city’s entire financial sector? And that scaring traders away from the stock market, in which millions and millions of Americans have a direct stake and on which much of our economy hinges, is a good thing? What? H/t Jonah Goldberg:
Anyhow. It’s going for rather a different tone than his first sorry-for-that-whole-prostitution-thing campaign ad, and I think the less literal message here is supposed to run along the lines of “I am an incorruptible and heroic sheriff of Wall Street on behalf of the little people, and NYC can totally trust me with their money.” …But I think Spitzer is probably hoping that the city has forgotten all about his erstwhile and egregious abuses of power amidst all of his oh-so-beneficial Wall-Street taming activities, reminder courtesy of the WSJ:
This was the same Eliot Spitzer who as Attorney General called John Whitehead after the former Goldman Sachs chairman published an article on this page defending former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg. “I will be coming after you,” Mr. Spitzer said, according to Mr. Whitehead’s account. “You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done.” …
Encouraged by a press corps that largely adored Mr. Spitzer and profited from his leaked smears, some New Yorkers applauded Mr. Spitzer for his willingness to take on the titans of Wall Street. Only later would it be clear how much damage he had done.
After he used the threat of a corporate indictment and death penalty to force AIG’s board to fire Mr. Greenberg, the new management made the giant mortgage bets that would inflame the financial crisis. Shareholders also suffered greatly when Mr. Spitzer forced a management decapitation at insurance broker Marsh & McLennan and installed as CEO Mike Cherkasky, a nice guy who knew nothing about insurance. …
This is the Spitzer political method, yet now he wants control of New York City’s pension funds. Normally we wouldn’t care much about a candidate for NYC comptroller, but putting this guy back in any job with discretionary power would be like putting Dennis Kozlowski back in charge of Tyco.
Also, from earlier this week: Oh, snap.
Mayor Bloomberg took a swipe at Eliot Spitzer Tuesday, saying crowing about fighting Wall Street is no way to help New York shore up its revenue-generating financial industry.
“One of the things that’s not very helpful — one of the candidates for one of the citywide offices takes great pride in being able to go after Wall Street,” Bloomberg said in a reference to the controller candidate at a meeting of the Financial Control Board.
“This is our industry. That doesn’t help, thank you very much,” Hizzoner said. “We’d appreciate if someone recognized that this is our tax base; this is how we pay our firefighters and police officers and provide services.”