This Meddlesome Priest


Rich Cooper reimagines Choppergate as an updated Becket, with Eliot Spitzer playing the part of Henry II and Joseph Bruno as the Archbishop of Canterbury. I’ve never seen the 1964 film, but apparently King Henry relies on his henchmen to “rid him of this meddlesome priest,” just as Spitzer tried to use his henchmen to rid himself of Bruno.

Cooper is spot on when he points out that the underlying scandal — Bruno using a government helicoper for “political” purposes — is a canard:

Why do Governor Spitzer, let alone Senator Bruno or Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, have to travel outside Albany at taxpayer’s expense? Aren’t the bill signings, facility opening ceremonies and “fact-finding” visits really just trips to promote themselves, their party, and state power in general.

The distinction between official and political is false and artificial. The official visits are largely propaganda exercises.

It’s really no different than former governor Pataki running blatant campaign commercials under the guise of “public service announcments.” To paraphrase that other Englishman who is currently holding court at Giants Stadium, every breath they take, every move they make is about self-aggrandizement.

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