Ed Driscoll

New York Gone Wild

Or, Mad Men, 2010-style:

Once a source of national leaders of both political parties, New York state has descended into a bizarre, riveting spectacle of corruption and political debasement, with its governor facing calls to resign as well as new charges of accepting illicit perks and lying under oath, the dean of its congressional delegation giving up his gavel over corruption charges and another House member announcing he won’t run again amid allegations of sexual harassment.

And that was just yesterday.

The latest, dizzying episodes of political disgrace in New York follow a half-decade of disaster during which three top state politicians were forced out amid allegations of everything from large-scale theft to small-scale sexual indiscretions.

And while Republican leaders have drawn their share of blame (and indictments), New York is now effectively a one-party state. Its current scandals attach themselves to the dominant Democrats, and the riveting soap opera is feeding a narrative of corruption that threatens to deepen the party’s national woes and distract from the White House’s attempt to refocus the country on health care. And it also hastens a decades-long diminution of the state’s 20th-century pre-eminence, a rise powered by the reform-driven Roosevelt presidencies.

Still, all of the scandals help to keep the public’s mind off of the flat, moribund economies of both New York City and New York State. The American left’s goal is transform America into a version of post-World War II Europe, and the parentheses states of New York and California (as Tom Wolfe once dubbed them) are perfect examples of how all of that is playing out.

Update: Well, there’s a headline that doesn’t sound good: “Paterson Still Governor, for Now”, the New York Times notes.