Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dog Bites Man

I guess the NYT loves having access to disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer, but they feature a piece today where Spitzer says that Andrew Cuomo is often motivated by politics when making decisions.  I am shocked, shocked that a politician might be motivated by the desire to gain office.  Ok, perhaps not as this is a foundational assumption for much work in Political Science, including my work.  You don't have to be a hard-core rational choice theorist to buy into this assumption, but it does make you eligible to join that club.

The funny thing is that Spitzer is noted for, well, being motivated by other desires, to the point of sacrificing his office.  Sure, when we speak of rational choice, we can imagine other goals other than political ambition, but it seems to me that Spitzer followed his ends through less than optimal means, unless his escort provided optimal services.

Ok, back to a higher plane--politics.  I did get some flak on my op-ed about Canada and Afghanistan, where I argued that politics is driving Prime Minister Harper's decision to pull all of the Canadian Forces out of Afghanistan, with folks saying duh!  But the point I was making was that the PM and his allies were making an excuse--that it was not politics and the desire to avoid a vote-losing decision but rather the mandate passed by Parliament.  But mandates can be changed if politicians want to exert leadership.

This article interviewing Spitzer raises another question: is it just me, or are 21st century journalists and media outlets more reliant on the folks who have failed out of positions for their information?  Didn't it used to be the case that if you were disgraced (Spitzer, Edwards, etc) or failed (Palin, Cheney), that you became irrelevant?  Why do we pay attention to these folks now?

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