I’m almost religiously unmoved by political advertising, which, I’m sure like, many, I usually find boring beyond rote; usually no more than talking points with pictures.
However, when I saw this 2006 campaign ad during Eliot Spitzer’s run for governor of New York State, it almost took my breath away.
As newspaper clippings hailing Spitzer’s legendary, almost righteous zeal as state attorney general—what CBS2 news’ Andrew Kurtzman rightly called his “stellar reputation for integrity”—zoomed from our near field of vision into the stratosphere, a cloud, a massive volume of words championing his sterling record overwhelms the sky. When the light is completely blackened, suddenly clarity from the darkness:
Now, just imagine what he’d do as your governor.
Spitzer for Governor.
I’ve never seen an advertisement for a politician so perfectly, wordlessly even, encapsulate both the aura of an elected leader and the possibilities of his higher service. It was actually inspiring.
Should Spitzer resign, his Black lieutenant governor, David Paterson, would succeed him. Paterson is legally blind and well-known to long-time residents of Harlem like myself, from his years representing us in the state senate. Paterson would be the first African-American head of the state ever, and perhaps the first legally blind governor in U.S. history.
Spitzer, meanwhile, now possesses what is probably the highest expectations-to-disappointment ratio of any politician in recent memory, in New York or elsewhere.
His governorship had been something short of a wreck, as he attempted to get across unpopular causes. But it looks like what has ultimately undone him is not “Troopergate,” or driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, but constituent Temeka Rachelle Lewis, 32, of Brooklyn, serving him as he acted out his role, not as governor but, as “Client-9″:
It is a very dark day in New York State government.