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New York politics, post-Eliot Spitzer

March 11, 2008 | 11:24 am

With Eliot Spitzer's resignation as New York governor looking more and more like a matter of when, not if, the political scene in one of the nation's key state's will be dramatically recalibrated. Our friend Glenn Thrush at New York's Newsday has taken an early look at the landscape and finds six pols who may benefit (some immediately, some in the long-term) from Spitzer's misfortune.

Here's his list:

1) Michael Bloomberg: "Suddenly there's an open job that fits the New York mayor's ego, ambitions, a decade of cozying up to state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and self-professed managerial genius. It also gives him the most valuable gift a lame-duck mayor can have: Something to talk about other than snowstorms, the latest City Council scandal and water main breaks. He's out of office in January 2010. The gubernatorial campaign would begin a few months later -- leaving him weeks of quality time on the golf courses of Bermuda before writing himself the inevitable $200 million check."

2. Bruno. "So much for the purifying Democratic tidal wave that was going to sweep the dirty, corrupt GOP out of power in the state Senate."

3. David Paterson (the lieutenant governor who would succeed Spitzer): "Nice, upstanding guy who's being given the chance of a lifetime. Will he turn into an unbeatable incumbent -- or Malcolm Wilson II? Wilson succeeded Nelson Rockefeller in late 1973, less than a year in office before he had to run against Hugh Carey (a race he lost). Should Spitzer resign, Paterson will have two-and-a-half years to make his own reputation."

4. Chuck Schumer. "Felt dissed when party elders told him ...

to put aside his gubernatorial ambitions to clear the path for Spitzer. People close to Schumer say he's moved on and is now quite happy to be the man behind the Democratic throne in the U.S. Senate. But who knows? At the very least he's got one of the all-time great I-told-you-so's.

5. Hillary Clinton. "It won't do her a bit of good now, but Spitzer's blundering insistence on pushing ahead with his immigrant driver's license plan saddled her with an awkward, unpopular position she has since ditched. From a payback perspective, she must be having a discreet chuckle."

6. Andrew Cuomo. "Before the rise of Prince Eliot, New York's attorney general used to be the abrasive, hard-driving political son whom everybody detested. For the moment, he's earning high marks for humility and his pursuit of mortgage-disaster villains. It's clear he wouldn't mind taking back his dad’s old job. The downside: David Paterson's in the way."

-- Don Frederick