Crazy Like a Fox, or Just Crazy?

“The ‘too far’ is taking the Spitzer people hostage,” said Mr. Chartock. “The State University of New York is held up because Bruno is pissed off at Spitzer? That’s absurd.”

Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who has worked for Mr. Spitzer in the past, predicted that the governor’s Republican pursuers were getting close to the political danger zone.

“They’re getting close to the edge because there is nothing new in the story, so the story is becoming boring,” he said. “Which is what happened with the Whitewater investigations. They kept pounding and pounding and pounding and there was nothing there.”

He added, “The Republican problem is they have to come up with something new, fast, because nobody likes old.”

But Mr. Bruno, for now, at least, has one major advantage: The public is never going to hold him and his members accountable for gridlock in Albany if no one knows who they are.

“More than half the voters don’t know enough about him to have an opinion and those who do are more negative than positive,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “And that has been the history over the last couple of years any time we looked at the legislative leaders, whether it’s [Assembly Speaker] Shelly Silver or Joe Bruno.”

Mr. Greenberg continued: “Various sides in different disputes have been known to overplay their hands and that certainly could be something that happens. But we haven’t seen it yet.”