Cuomo Slugs Spitzer, Catches Gov. Off-Guard

Despite the swagger and vows to do battle with the forces of reaction in Albany, the rapidity with which Mr. Spitzer has turned state officialdom against him is nearly unprecedented in recent memory.

“I don’t think anybody expected this type of situation to exist,” said Bill Cunningham, a consultant who served in the administrations of Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo. “What you really have, going back to December, is a series of events that nobody foresaw, even by Albany standards, that were totally off the radar. The whole comptroller’s situation, a process in place, the breakdown, the governor fighting with the legislature, the governor fighting with the State Senate majority leader, fighting in public like never before, and now this.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Cuomo—who once had a reputation as a shameless self-promoter—has won positive reviews for his style since arriving in office. He has largely kept himself out of the public eye, emerging only to announce the positive results of some investigation (most notably in the case of a student loan scandal that garnered national attention) or to declare a lawsuit against some designated public villain. Or, as was the case this week, to deliver a swift and devastating blow to Eliot Spitzer.

“The Sheriff of Wall Street,” declared Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant who worked for Mr. Cuomo’s main rival in the 2006 primary, “was attacked by the Sheriff of Albany.”

Imagine that.