Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

By the way, you have my word that I won't say anything nice about anyone for the rest of the day.

At the Personal Democracy Forum Conference yesterday, I was very impressed with both Elizabeth Edwards and Eliot Spitzer. Edwards I'll leave aside, because I want to focus on what can happen when progressives govern in the states.  Spitzer gave a speech on technology deployment and government policy, and was interviewed afterwards by Mark Halperin of ABC News (and The Note).  Spitzer's up on the latest collaborative web technologies and the political implications thereof, and he understood that it was the content and not the technology that made the Dean campaign tick.  And in his speech, he laid out what I think will be a key progressive plank over the next fifty years, a universally accessible high speed data network.

While New York has a vast transportation infrastructure to move people and goods, we don't have the broadband infrastructure to move ideas and information. If you're a kid growing up in South Korea, your Internet access is ten times faster at half the price than a kid growing up in the South Bronx. New Yorkers are at a competitive disadvantage that is simply unacceptable.

Spitzer went on to outline the mechanics of implementing a statewide high speed network.  He finished with a conclusion that I find fitting, since I'm in a fight where government-sanctioned monopoly providers are arguing against government rule-making.

There will always be nay-sayers - an army of the status quo - who say we can't get this done, that the digital divide is too wide to close or that government is in no position to lead this fight. History is littered with nay-sayers. Governor De Witt Clinton's Erie Canal was dubbed "Clinton's ditch" before his ditch blew up the status quo and transformed New York and the rest of the country. The Wright Brothers were told that heavier-than-air flight was both impossible and contrary to the will of God. The Beatles were even told that their guitar sound was on the way out. And IBM engineers initially were told that there was no market for personal computers.

The future of New York doesn't belong to the army of the status quo. To those who say this can't be done, I say why not. It must be done. If New York State is ever going to regain its competitive advantage, if we are ever going to be the participatory democracy our Founders promised, if we are ever going to be the Empire State once again, every New Yorker must be empowered with the limitless potential of affordable, high-speed Internet access.

There are always critics, and there are deep illiberal strains within the American political system.  As progressives, we should always be on the side of the public and never be afraid of a spirited public debate.  What a visionary politician does is set a moral and spiritual path to getting there, and that's what Spitzer is doing.

Ok, so maybe there's a little kool-aid drinking going on here, and there are things about Spitzer that concern me.  He had no position on net neutrality, though I'm sure he'll come around.  On the whole I was really impressed.  At least in New York State, there's great progressive Democratic leadership.

Eliot Spitzer 2012?

Tags: broadband, Eliot Spitzer, net neutrality (all tags)

Comments

28 Comments

Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Spitzer is going to make a great Pres...um, sorry! I meant Governor

The Extremist Rantings Of A Mainstream Progressive

by frizzle 2006-05-16 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Anybody like to ask the great crime-fighting Elliot Ness father figure where he has been while the illegal naked shortselling was crippling or even destroying many small innovative small corporations?

Profiting from it through his connections to one of those involved in the dirty business is the way I hear it.

While Bill Gates was bragging to the UN that his and Melinda's billion-dollar donation to fight tropical diseases had produced a cure for african sleeping sickness, Spitzer's friend and benefactor was running a piece in Street.com claiming the trials in the Congo could be a hoax while spearheading a wild short attack on the company involved in the trials.

One group of corporate sleazes that Eliot Spitzer never got around to were the naked short sellers.

He did put out the word he was interested though.

Good to have interests.

by terryhallinan 2006-05-16 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

This is the kind of criticism I hate - Clinton got it all the time from the left.  "Sure, this guy did a lot of good, but he didn't do enough (or what I wanted him to do) in this one particular area, therefore he's completely undeserving of any kind of support whatsoever."

Show me a politican who's perfect, and I'll vote for them.  In the meantime, I'll happily vote for the ones who do more good than harm.

by schroeder 2006-05-16 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

>>This is the kind of criticism I hate - Clinton got it all the time from the left.  "Sure, this guy did a lot of good<<

Did a lot of bad you mean.

Nobody did more to destroy the Democratic Party than Clinton.  If that is your model, than you are not much of a liberal I methinks.

Want to tell us what you think is wrong with Russ Feingold?

I am sure there is something or other if you want to look real hard.

Corruption is bad in any politician.

by terryhallinan 2006-05-16 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Always nice to hear some good news about my next governor; I've only heard a few negatives.  I love to see bold leadership and idealism.  As for 2012...We'll have Mark Warner go for his second term.  But hey, we could always use an attorney general.

by John Nicosia 2006-05-16 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

I think you meant Russ Feingold going for his 2nd term...

by teknofyl 2006-05-16 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

He meant Al Gore.

by Andrew C White 2006-05-17 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

> To those who say this can't be done, I say why not. It must be done.

That quote alone is why I'm proud to have Spitzer for a Governor*.  There aren't enough Democrats challenging their communities to rise to greatness - it's been far too long since we've heard an "ask not what your country can do for you" kind of call to arms, which is exactly what America needs right now - a reminder that we can strive to do better, not just wallow in rampant corruption and incompetence.

* just remembered I moved to Jersey City, and the election is still a few months off.  So factually, that's wrong.  But it has a certain truthiness to it.

by schroeder 2006-05-16 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Ahh, always looking for the perfect candidate, aren't we?  Well, Spitzer is perfect enough for me.  After 12 years of Wacky Pataki, gov't waste, no jobs, no nothing, Spitzer looks like a knight in shining armor.  

If you can't play with the big dogs, don't piss on the porch.

by Cyn NY 2006-05-16 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

No, 2016. Russ Feingold is going to be a 2-termer president.

by KainIIIC 2006-05-16 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

2012: In the words of Sameul L. Jackson

Ya damn right.

Hopefully I can stomach another cycle of Republican "leadership" and Chuck Hagel's ill-fated one term, and the ensuing financial collapse.

2012 can't get here soon enough.

by risenmessiah 2006-05-16 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

On the whole I was really impressed.  At least in New York State, there's great progressive Democratic leadership.

New Yorkers see things for what they are...and see that there needs to be change.  That is progressive.

*waving to Cyn*

by Lizzy 2006-05-16 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Lizzy, imagine meeting you here!!!

by Cyn NY 2006-05-16 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Good Company travels in the same circles, Cyn.  And I forgot to mention among the great progressives in New York is John Hall

He has quite a few fundraisers coming up...just check who is fundraising for him June 2, 3, 4.  

by Lizzy 2006-05-16 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Wow, if only I lived closer!  Sent the events calender to my NYC daughter.  She lived in Woodstock before she moved to the city.

by Cyn NY 2006-05-16 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

I don't know anything about the short-selling, but it seems to me that Spitzer has done a lot of good with regard to Wall Street and similar scandals.  

I'm especially glad to see him talking about "a universally accessible high speed data network," and agree with Matt that it will and should be a key progressive issue.

More generally, I'm glad to see young, smart, aggressive Dem leaders embracing this issue.  I definitely had that feeling when I heard San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom speak at a conference about a month ago to talk about the Wi-Fi service they're planning with Earthlink and Google. (I actually don't even know if Newsom is a Dem, but just assume he is from what he says and does, which is probably a good sign).

Like Spitzer, Newsom was dynamic and relatively charismatic and, based on his speech and my five-second personal encounter with him, also seemed pretty genuine in his desire to serve all of his constituents, try new things (and learn from failures) and, as needed, take on the powers that be.  And you could tell he realized it was needed, and welcomed the challenge.

I think the "universally accessible high speed data network," and "renewable and decentralized energy systems" are two tech areas that the Dems should bring close to the center of their policy agenda and political message.  These two pieces of "infrastructure" have the potential to revitalize and transform our economy and, to a great degree, from the bottom up.  

These two technology issues are also related to each other in key respects (e.g., you can monitor decentralized energy generation and transmission via a ubiquitous digital network), and so can fit nicely in an integrated vision of an American renewal.  

I also think these two issues--which combine a progressive tech vision with a progressive approach to policy in general--are ideally suited to a new generation of dynamic leaders like Spitzer, Newsom, Warner, Feingold, Obama, etc.  It's the place where the best of libertarian freedom&opportunity-loving ideals can merge with the best of liberal ideals of equal opportunity and compassion.  

The message is, as someone else said, "we're all in this together."  It's a vision of local and national (and maybe even global) communities being linked together by state-of-the-art communication and energy networks (designed and [maybe] built in the US of A) that allow us to efficiently create and share knowledge, energy and abundance--to help each of us help ourselves and help each other.  

I don't know how many Dem leaders there are out there who could embrace and express this vision, but there seem to be at least a few.

One of them appears to be the "renewed" Al Gore. I think he really understands the substance of the issues and also has the passion for them, regardless of what one thinks about his prospects and suitability for another run at the White House.

by mitchipd 2006-05-16 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

It's nice to be able to agre with Matt again.  Spitzer IS incredibly impressive and will make a great Governor.  I don't know when he'll run for president, but I have little doubt that the guy will be a serious candidate when he does.  

by HSTruman 2006-05-16 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

how does elliot propose to pay for wiring the state? he does not address that issue. separately, mr spitzer is one of the greatest self-promoters in history. take a look at the ag website and note the kind of stuff he trumpets. minutiae of the first order which has no relevance to his ability to govern.......tom suozzi is a proven executive who rescued nassau county from the brink of bankruptcy and turned a county which a sclerotic republican party had run as the soviets ran moscow into a democratic bastion....he swept a democratic legislature into office and kept them in power with a second term victory.......he is a bold leader who is not afraid to challenge the existing power structure......jjj

by jsquaredone 2006-05-16 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

LOL! So the Attorney General is criticized for promoting on his website the small-scale actions which are the bread-and-butter of what AGs do for a living.

If Spitzer weren't promoting activities like nailing fraudulent funeral homes and cleaning up toxic waste sites, you'd attack him for neglecting his duties as AG.

Suozzi fans... the sharpest tools in the shed they ain't.

by DavidNYC 2006-05-16 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Please, talk about pandering to wealthy interests.  Senator Schumer, who I'm usually a huge fan of, recruited Suozzi to run because the corrupt industries Spitzer went after were the same industries who made up Schumer's donor base.

The entire primary challenge is a joke; I'm a Long Islander, but Suozzi's going nowhere and he can't offer nearly the experience or leadership Spitzer can.  This reeks of well-moneyed political opportunism, creating divisions at a time when Democrats should be united behind strong leaders.

You show me a strong Democratic leader, and I'll show you plenty of self-absorbed Democrats who will round up a circular firing squad at a moment's notice.

by Neimad 2006-05-16 08:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

I thuoght he said that the wires (ie internet over powerlines, etc) are alreadey there, we already paid for the network, it just hasn't been switched on.

Am I wrong?

by DMIer 2006-05-17 06:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

I've loved Spitzer since I lived in New York a few years ago, he's such a rising name to look at, ever since he led the crusade against Wall St corruption.  He's made some enemies by fighting the big fights, but he's just and he follows the law.

by auronrenouille 2006-05-16 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer

Right now Elliot spitzer looks like a great US Attorney General for the next Democratic president. But if he has higher aspirations that's Ok.

by Sitkah 2006-05-16 06:51PM | 0 recs
which one's the higher aspiration?

I'd love to have an Attorney General I can be proud of, for the first time in my lifetime (was Carter's any good?  I was busy learning to walk).  But I think, as big as New York is, and as big a Democratic stronghold, we need a great NY governor more.  Of course, maybe I'm just saying that because I grew up in NY, went to a SUNY right when Pataki took the axe to public education, saw my hometown of Buffalo crumble while Albany turned a blind eye, and worked in a school system (NYC) that had been ripped off by the state to the tune of a billion dollars in tax money.  Maybe Spitzer has a twin, and between them they can do both?

by schroeder 2006-05-18 12:03PM | 0 recs
Spitzer is the kind of fighter Dems need n/t

by Coral 2006-05-17 04:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

army of the status quo

Remember that phrase. You'll know the footsoldiers by nose-picking comments and terming supposed fellow Democrats "embarrassments" and the suggestion that it's ok to deny women fundamental rights if it's done in "good faith" and by running out a tired kids-these-days-are-lazy schtick in front of the plugged colon set at the US Chamber of Commerce.

Remember we're trying to effect change on two fronts. The ruling right-wingers are not the status quo--they want to blow it up and replace it with something abundantly more harmful. But the status quo is flawed too--it hampers democracy, curtails competition, holds back millions, and acts as a flywheel on excellence.

The funny (and cautionary) thing is that this is the exact same diagnosis the DLC made circa 1988-89 about the status quo. They were right then--so why the hell are they arrayed with the ASQ now?

And yeah Spitzer is what a progressive looks like, idiotic trolling aside.

by KevStar 2006-05-17 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is very impressive. If you have not had the opportunity to meet him personally or hear him speak then you should if you get the chance.

I had the extreme pleasure of introducing him as our keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Democracy for New York conference the evening of April 29. Both he and Jim Dean, Chairman of Democracy for America who followed him, kicked ass.

There are some issues where I differ from Mr. Spitzer and we are currently trying to get him on-board with paper ballot/optical scan technology as the voting system of choice in New York (unfortunately due to DOJ litigation against NYS and his role as AG he cannot take a political position on this) but overall I am very pleased to have such an impressive and capable man as the next Governor of the State of New York.

by Andrew C White 2006-05-17 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Eliot Spitzer: This Is What Vision Looks Like

I really like "Army of the Status Quo"

by dereau 2006-05-17 09:36AM | 0 recs

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