If Suozzi Yells in the Forest…

Okay, so Tom Suozzi is in trouble by any measure. The polls show him trailing Eliot Spitzer by 60 points. And, as Liz Benjamin reported yesterday, his media adviser has just bailed out – hardly an indication that Suozzi has built the sort of ruthlessly disciplined operation of dedicated believers that make for a credible insurgency.

But the one argument he ought to be making with the straightest face that he can muster is the insider-outsider one: Suozzi challenges Spitzer, as many times as he humany can between now and the primary election, to prove that he can bring the hammer down on his institutional Democratic allies.

Though he may not have much to show for it at the moment in terms of public recognition, Suozzi is still the guy who took the extraordinary step of engineering the defeat of a sitting Democrat in the Assembly, leaving just about everyone in his party mortified for the sake of a reformist gesture.

Though Spitzer is anything but a pushover by temperament, the fact remains that he’s spent eight years as state official with investigative powers. And Albany, I think most of our readers will agree, still stinks as a model of democratic governance.

Yesterday, Suozzi took a break from his fruitless pursuit of face-to-face debates to try to convey the message, once again, that the attorney general is a captive of the state’s political institutions, calling on Spitzer to recuse himself from an ongoing investigation of the teacher’s union, which has endorsed him in the past.

Suozzi must have been listening to ‘Tom,’ who offered him the following free advice yesterday in the comments section: “You have a powerful message…stick to it, and force Spitzer to defend Albany…”

UPDATE: The Suozzi campaign just brought to my attention a release sent out this morning that hews to the same theme of Spitzer’s ties to the powers that be in Albany:

MINEOLA, NY – Democratic candidate for Governor Tom Suozzi today called on his opponent, Eliot Spitzer, to break his silence and take a stand on the sex offender bill that top Spitzer backer Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is blocking.

“Once again, Eliot Spitzer is missing in Albany, standing silent on the sidelines while his strongest political supporter, Shelly Silver, is gumming up the works, double-crossing women around our state, and disrespecting our democracy. If that’s Eliot’ s idea of leadership and reform, no wonder every Albany insider and lobbyist is behind his campaign,” said Suozzi.

Read the whole thing after the jump.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2006

CONTACT: David Chauvin
(516) 741-5315

SUOZZI SLAMS SPITZER FOR
SHELLY’S RAPE BILL SELLOUT
Calls on AG to Choose Sides on Sex Offender Legislation
MINEOLA, NY – Democratic candidate for Governor Tom Suozzi today called on his opponent, Eliot Spitzer, to break his silence and take a stand on the sex offender bill that top Spitzer backer Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is blocking.

“Once again, Eliot Spitzer is missing in Albany, standing silent on the sidelines while his strongest political supporter, Shelly Silver, is gumming up the works, double-crossing women around our state, and disrespecting our democracy. If that’s Eliot’ s idea of leadership and reform, no wonder every Albany insider and lobbyist is behind his campaign,” said Suozzi.

“Shelly Silver is cheating the public interest to please a special interest – in this case, sabotaging a critical piece of legislation with broad bipartisan support to throw a bone to his trial lawyer friends,” Suozzi added.

Silver has been widely criticized by political leaders of both parties – including Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau – and women’s groups for holding up legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions of serious sex crimes, by insisting on adding a provision to eliminate the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in the same kind of cases.

“I fully support this bill as is and oppose any efforts to weigh it down with poison pill provisions like the one Shelly is pushing. We must hold rapists accountable and protect people, not protect the Speaker’s political friends,” said Suozzi.

“Now it’s time for Eliot Spitzer, who just happens to be the State’s top legal officer, to choose sides. Is he going to show some leadership and stand with the people he was elected to represent, or is he going to continue to follow his Albany benefactor Shelly Silver and stand with his special interest supporters?”

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