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Tags: Eliot Spitzer

Bob Filner and the Bad Boys of American Politics



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The final Morning Jolt of the week features the shocking news that the NSA behaves as badly as we always feared; a review of Planes, the latest Pixar/Disney effort to separate parents from their money; and then this big lesson from our seemingly endless cavalcade of scandals:

Bob Filner’s Psychotic Behavior Needs to be a National Teachable Moment

Bob Filner and the rest of the bad boys of modern American politics are spectacular, vivid reminders of why the Founding Fathers distrusted the accumulation of too much political power, and sought to spread it around and install checks and balances.

Allahpundit at WarmerThanWarmAir.com points out what we’re learning as one accuser after another comes forward against Filner:

He wasn’t “coming on” to people, like a random person at a bar might do; he was using his status as mayor to pressure women, supposedly in great volume and sometimes with unwanted physical contact, who worked for him and with him into socializing with him. Given the freakish tenacity with which he’s clung to his office, it seems like the power stroke he got from all of this was at least as exciting as the prospect of sex. In which case, why wouldn’t he target a great-grandmother? Every woman he met was potentially at risk, I’d bet, but especially the ones who had official city business with his lordship, the mayor.

In short, Filner wants power, and his refusal to step down in the face of great embarrassment, abandonment of his allies, and public outcry and ridicule suggests a certain psychological addiction to power.

A lot of people want power. With power, you get all the other stuff you want. For Anthony Weiner, power brings young women who want to talk dirty to him on Twitter. For Eliot Spitzer, power brought him access to the Emperor VIP club and the really expensive prostitutes. For Jesse Jackson Jr., power brought a lot of money in campaign donations that he could spend on “$43,000 gold Rolex, cashmere capes, nearly $20,000 of Michael Jackson memorabilia” and a lifestyle significantly more luxurious than that of a standard-issue congressman.

My television viewing habits recently added Camelot, which early on features the villain King Lot, a classic brutal conqueror-ruler character. His motives are simple; He wants power, territory, sex, food, and the ability to enforce his will whenever he wishes, including the brutal murder of anyone who would defy him. That desire is not as rare as we might think in this world. Just look at Egypt; just look at Syria.

Thankfully, the United States does not suffer marauding warlords, raping and pillaging as they please. But we (and the rest of the Western world) do have our share of people who see political power as a path to achieving a certain status of fame, wealth, and so on, in which they can indulge themselves of anything they desire with no negative consequences. Look at Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the alleged ‘party king’ of Paris and Washington, holding orgies with prostitutes in luxury hotels. Look at Silvio Berlusconi. Look at John Edwards, convincing his wealthiest supporter to finance a secret effort to keep his pregnant mistress quiet and hidden from the media. Heck, look at John F. Kennedy and his use of 19-year-old interns while in the White House.

What’s more, these folks can pursue their own wealth and pleasures while convincing themselves and some segment of the public that they’ve dedicated their lives to public service.

If you’ve met some figures in public office who have earned your respect, and who show no signs of being a Nero or a Caligula, good. Not every politician is a selfish monster seeking to turn their public office into an entry key into a bacchanalia that would make the Eyes Wide Shut parties look tame. But a sufficient number of them are, and as a result of that, they shouldn’t be put up on pedestals, and they shouldn’t be greeted with messianic reverence.

They’re contractors, and both we and our elected officials would be better off if we all remembered that.

Tags: Bob Filner , Eliot Spitzer , Anthony Weiner , John Edwards , DSK , Silvio Berlusconi

Why Democratic Women Stick By Their Creeps



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

It is not necessarily the most important question before us, but it is one that persistent and widespread this week: Just what is Huma Abedin thinking?

The delightful Kemberlee Kaye asked why so many Democratic women are willing to overlook, accept, or forgive creepy and awful behavior from their elected officials:

“Public service has nothing to do with bedroom service. 98.4367% of men cheat. I do know a few good men who don’t. Leave Weiner alone,” Tamara Holder tweeted. Bogus statistic aside, why should anyone ignore the actions of a sexual predator*, particularly one currently seeking the mayorship of the largest city in the United States? And the young women he sought out? What about them?

See also Ted Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Bob Filner, Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards and Al Gore.  Their legacies, at least in the minds of the collective left, do not include their abhorrent treatment of women. No, no, Democratic women wouldn’t dare criticize the way these power-drunk politicians treated their wives, mistresses, ladies of the evening, et al. At least not publicly.

*If you momentarily feel the instinct to dispute the notion that Weiner was a sexual predator, keep in mind he chatted online with a 17-year-old girl but assured the world that “nothing inappropriate took place.”

We should try to resist the temptation to believe that you and I are better, smarter, or more moral than other people because we’re conservatives. That’s just not true. You and I are better than everyone else because you read this newsletter.

Yes, you can find plenty of folks on the Right who fail to live up to their own ideals or general standards of acceptable behavior. But thankfully, for all of our flaws, you don’t see a lot of conservatives arguing, or, the idea that certain creepy behavior has to be accepted out of party loyalty. And that represents a key philosophical difference with the Left, at least in practice.

Whether you come from a more socially-conservative perspective or a more libertarian one, your philosophy gives you some strong arguments about why this sort of behavior is unacceptable.

If you’re socially conservative, your values are likely shaped by a Judeo-Christian teaching that every person is created by God and thus deserving of respect, etc. So besides the usual Biblical/Torah-based teachings – don’t commit adultery, etc. – sexually harassing your underlings, using an employee as a sexual plaything or using your wife as a human shield during an embarrassing press conference is to objectify them and pretty obviously not in line with God’s teachings.

If you’re libertarian, one of your core tenets is the value of the individual and the need to protect the rights of the individual – and sexual harassment undoubtedly represents an infringement upon the rights of an individual. You may have less of an issue with adultery between consenting adults or even with prostitution (freely-agreed contracts!) but ultimately whatever happens must be agreed upon by both/all parties. Cheating on one’s wife and humiliating her in a public scandal isn’t usually part of an agreed contract. (Someday we may have a political power couple in an open marriage, and it will be interesting to see what the public reaction will be.)

However, modern liberalism usually defines the world in terms of groups and group rights. The rights of the individual are much less important (see how often the Left criticizes our society as too individualistic or “go it alone”) and their vision of a wise redistribution of money, power, authority, rights, etc. often requires the correct person or group to be in charge. Having the Left’s preferred people in charge is, in fact, the preeminent value on the Left, and any other “rule” can be broken in its name – i.e., it’s okay to serve on corporate boards and make lots of money, as long as you donate to the party, etc. 

In short, the rights of a female employee of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner don’t amount to that much in the minds of a lot of San Diego Democrats, compared to the need to keep Filner in charge so he can enact their preferred policies. In fact, when forced to take a side, they side with the powerful man running the gravy train:

The local Democratic Party has known for a long time about sexual harassment allegations against Bob Filner, a former Democratic assemblywoman said in a Thursday interview.

“I blew the whistle on this two years ago to the Democratic Party leadership,” former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña said.

Saldaña said that in summer 2011 six prominent women in local politics, business and education told her that Filner had physically or verbally harassed them. Saldaña had been exploring what turned out to be an unsuccessful bid for Congress and the conversations came in the context of the 2012 elections.

Saldaña said she contacted former party Chairman Jess Durfee with the allegations and Durfee was among a group of Democratic leaders who met with Filner to discuss them that summer. She said nothing happened.

“As disgraceful as Bob’s behavior has been, it’s been tolerated by our Democratic Party leadership,” she said.

Saldaña said Filner never personally harassed her and declined to say who alleged to have had run-ins with the mayor. She said former City Councilwoman Donna Frye, who is calling for Filner’s resignation over unspecified sexual harassment allegations, inspired her to talk.

Saldaña has a long history of conflict with Filner, most prominently over a failed border sewage treatment project about a decade ago. She also wound up endorsing him for mayor.

Party leaders, she said, made it clear that if people didn’t support Filner they wouldn’t receive their support again.

Most of us recoil from that as a soulless and ghoulish way of seeing people, as insignificant cogs whose well-being is easily sacrificed in the name of the “greater good.” But that’s why we’re on this side.

Discussing this on a conservative e-mail list, Emily Zanotti of NakedDC noted:

A lot of these Democratic men use their power and position to cow these women. Sanford was a schmuck, but his affair was consensual. Weiner (and Clinton and Spitzer) all had affairs with women who basically worshiped them. The latest girl revealed to be messaging  Weiner kept saying, ‘I can’t believe I’m talking to you!’ ‘wow, you’re so awesome,’ etc. Clinton banged an intern. Spitzer paid sex workers. 

It’s a combination of power-broking and power-worship that probably results from the ideology but takes on a really perverse sexual form.

While we’re on the subject… dear Mainstream Media: every disgraced politician wants the kind of soft-focus powder-puff coverage that People gave Weiner and Abedin in 2012 to help their redemption narrative. Don’t give it to them.

 

 

“I’m very happy in my present life,” Weiner, 47, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “The only next dramatic steps I’m planning on are Jordan’s first,” he says, referring to his 6-month-old son and remaining noncommital on whether he will run for office again.

In his first joint interview with wife Huma Abedin, who is deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the couple address how they survived Weiner’s lewd text and photo scandal that led to his resignation, as well as who has diaper duty.

Around the same time as that interview, Weiner was beginning his online relationship with his new 22-year-old object of affection.

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Eliot Spitzer , Bob Filner

The Most Carlos Dangerous Game



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Really long Morning Jolt today. Besides today’s preview on the sleaziest mayoral candidate in the country (Carlos Danger – er, Weiner) and the sleaziest mayor in the country (Bob Filner), there’s news of a new group forming to retire Lindsey Graham, another deal from Terry McAuliffe looking at, and thoughts on Man of Steel and superhero sequels.

The Era of the Psychotic Candidate

Remember Alvin Greene? He was the guy who scraped together the filing fee to appear as a candidate for Senate on the Democratic line, and who won, even though almost no one in the state knew who he was. One of his major ideas to improve the economy was making an action figure of himself. We all had fun laughing at the surreal Forrest-Gump-come-to-life, and he was enjoyably crazy candidate, right up until the moment he started howling and wailing at a reporter who showed up at his home, and then it started to feel like we were laughing at a man with serious mental health issues.

We can still laugh at Anthony Weiner… and we will be laughing at him for a long time. But it is starting to feel like we’re watching a man with serious, deep-rooted psychological issues relating to his sexuality, his self-control, his ability to assess risk, his inability to admit the truth unless confronted with overwhelming evidence of his falsehoods, his willingness to see others as objects and God knows how many other issues…

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner said he sent texts and lewd photos of himself to a woman over the Internet after he resigned from Congress, prompting at least three rivals to call for him to drop out.

The gossip website The Dirty posted correspondence between the unidentified woman and Weiner, 48, who left the House of Representatives in 2011 after similar pictures sent to women surfaced. The latest images used the name “Carlos Danger,” the website said. It displayed a photo taken straight down a man’s body showing bare feet and strategically placed pixels.

“I said other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have,” Weiner said at a press briefing in Manhattan with his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton. “While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me.”

Weiner said he would stay in the race for mayor.

God, I wish Andrew Breitbart were still alive so he could have hijacked the podium again yesterday.

Full video of the most brilliant comeuppance of the modern media era.

Did anybody really think Weiner had really changed from the man caught in scandal two years ago? Some may have hoped that fatherhood would make him grow up some, and some may be surprised that he would be so reckless as to choose to run for mayor with additional women out there, waiting to tell their tales of his much more recent tawdry behavior… but did anybody really believe that he had turned over a new leaf and become a changed man? Back in June, BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer quoted professional therapists who contended Weiner’s description of his short stay at a psychiatric evaluation center did not come close to what they would consider serious treatment.

People go into politics for a lot of reasons – some altruistic or idealistic or principled, some base, and for many, a mix of both. A career in politics can provide an individual with a lot of what they desire – power, admirers, fame, money. Kissinger declared power to be the ultimate aphrodisiac, so perhaps political stature is indeed a great way to enhance one’s sex appeal. (Right now, half my male readers working in politics just mumbled to themselves, “I must be doing it wrong.”)

Clearly, those fulfilling those desires can be addictive. We’ve seen the comeback playbook executed by politician after politician, time after time, so that it has become a boring, predictable cliché; the more a candidate sticks to the playbook, the less persuaded we should be that there is any real remorse or acceptance of responsibility.

After the “deny, deny, deny” strategy (as Monica Lewinsky quoted Bill Clinton) blows up in a politician’s face, he admits some portion of the accusations, but denies others. (A “modified limited hangout.”) There may be counter-accusations; there is an acceptance of some consequences but not others. At the press conference, the wife may be rolled out as a human shield. There is an insistence that the focus on the scandal has been a distraction from the politician’s real work. There is an insistence that this wrongdoing was a private matter and not the public’s concern. The accusations are driven by partisan motives, anyway. There is an admission of sin and often a very public seeking of spiritual counsel from political allies who are religious figures. There is a soft-focus interview that appears to be an open confession but that remains vague on key details; the privacy of others will be cited. God will get mentioned a lot. And throughout it all, the politician remains convinced: I can come back from this. This isn’t the end of me. As his presidential campaign flopped and his sex scandal ticked like a time bomb, John Edwards was utterly convinced he could trade his endorsement for the running mate slot to either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton; when that effort went nowhere, he set his sights on being attorney general or, ultimately, nominated to the Supreme Court.

They need this. They so, so need this. They really cannot go on to living a life outside the spotlight, just practicing law somewhere or running a hardware store. (Well, John Edwards is apparently returning to practicing law.)

The spoils of political victory – power, fame, groupies, lucrative post-elected-office jobs in lobbying or consulting – will always attract a certain number of unscrupulous head cases, egomaniacs, narcissists, and borderline unhinged. They will only go away when the voters say “no.”

Speaking of “no”, and how some politicians don’t realize it means, “no” …

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: Heroic Veteran of the War on Women.

Okay, San Diego. What’s it going to take?

A former employee of San Diego’s mayor stepped forward Monday claiming she was forced to resign after she said the mayor treated women as “sexual objects or stupid idiots.”

 “The past six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life,” said Irene McCormack Jackson, former communication director for Mayor Bob Filner.

McCormack Jackson had worked as a journalist and as a manager with the Port of San Diego before she accepted the position on the mayor’s staff.

Among the allegations: that Mayor Filner told her to work without panties.

She also claims the mayor said he wanted to see her naked and couldn’t wait to consummate their relationship even though they had only a working relationship.

“He thought it was acceptable behavior to regularly make sexual comments that were crude and disgusting,” McCormack Jackson said.

Wait, there’s more!

SAN DIEGO – San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith will question the police officers in charge of Mayor Bob Filner’s security.

A lawsuit filed Monday by former Filner communications director Irene McCormick Jackson claims the men who guard the mayor witnessed sexual harassment.

“McCormack Jackson was in an elevator with … Filner along with the police officer…” the lawsuit alleges.
 
“The police officer was fixing his handcuffs,” the lawsuit claims. “The mayor put a headlock on (McCormack Jackson) and said, ‘You know what I would like to do with those handcuffs?’”

The lawsuit also says Filner stopped the harassment when a member of his security detail walked in on it.

“Mayor Filner only ceased trying to kiss her when the elevator stopped and a staffer got in with them,” the lawsuit said.

Remember, Filner’s excuse is, “I’m a hugger.”

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Eliot Spitzer , John Edwards

Did Sanford’s Comeback Trigger the Weiner and Spitzer Bids?



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If former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s comeback bid for the U.S. House had failed earlier this year, it’s possible that scandal-ridden former governor Eliot Spitzer and former congressman Anthony Weiner wouldn’t have launched their comeback bids.

“If he can do it, I can do it” is an optimist’s mantra, and it requires the public to gloss over any differences.

When Sanford’s disappearance from the state became public knowledge, he returned to the U.S. and, in front of the cameras, Sanford confessed his sins . . . and kept talking . . . and kept talking . . . and kept going until almost everyone in the state begged him to stop talking about it. A messy divorce followed; a state legislative ad hoc committee voted to censure but not impeach him. (Sanford may have been helped by the fact that quite a few political factions in South Carolina wanted the lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer, to have a leg up in the upcoming gubernatorial race.)

In some voters’ eyes, adultery is adultery, and the details don’t matter much. But Sanford’s scandal didn’t quite fit the standard template of political sex scandals. Rather than the usual chasing-the-secretary-around-the-desk, Sanford and Maria Belen Chapur had met in person just four times in eight years, and the two wrote effusive e-mails, calling each other “my love” and “sweetest”; Sanford later publicly referred to Chapur as his “soul mate.” The govenor and Jenny Sanford had separated, at her request, when he went on the infamous trip to Argentina.

After the Sanfords divorced, the governor and Chapur got engaged. In a country where roughly half of all marriages end in divorce and 19 percent of marriages that occurred in 2008 were the second marriage for at least one spouse, the sad ending to Mark and Jenny’s marriage is regrettable, but hardly uncommon.

Weiner, of course, did not confess when caught. He vehemently denied the reporting of Andrew Breitbart about the lewd images and claimed his Twitter account had been hacked; he and more than a few allies, like CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, suggested that Breitbart was probably lying. The controversy triggered days of questions about how and why someone would hijack Weiner’s account to send out those photos, and increasingly implausible comments from the congressman, including his famously telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he could not say whether or not the photo was of his own underwear-clad private parts. Weiner let his friends, like Kirsten Powers, go out and lie for him, contending the allegations couldn’t be true. He audaciously denied the charges with indignation, calling a reporter a “jackass” during a press conference.

A few days later, Weiner called a press conference in a hotel in New York City to admit that, indeed, that was him in the photo, and he had engaged in sexual chat with young women on Twitter. But before Weiner arrived, Breitbart stepped up to the microphones and “hijacked” the press conference, denouncing Weiner for lying and the media for uncritically repeating his lies.

Spitzer’s scandal was not mere impropriety; it was illegal. What’s more, Spitzer had, as attorney general, led the prosecution of two alleged prostitution rings and other companies he believed had ties to prostitution. Here’s the reasoning from Michael Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, on why he didn’t press charges:

ELIOT SPITZER has acknowledged to this Office that he was a client of, and made payments to, the Emperors Club VIP.

Our investigation has shown that on multiple occasions, Mr. SPITZER arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution. After a thorough investigation, this Office has uncovered no evidence of misuse of public or campaign funds. In addition, we have determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. SPITZER for any offense relating to the withdrawal of funds for, and his payments to, the Emperors Club VIP.

In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this Office, as well as Mr. SPITZER’s acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter.

Resigning from the governor’s office appears to represent “Spitzer’s acceptance of responsibility for his conduct.” Spitzer believes he’s spent enough time in the penalty box of the private sector, hosting shows on CNN and Al Gore’s Current TV, and is ready to return to public life.

As the song goes, “It’s up to you, New York.”

Tags: Mark Sanford , Anthony Weiner , Eliot Spitzer

Current Breaker



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Today’s Jolt looks at some meaty topics: the media dynamics forcing and fueling Representative Peter King’s tantrum over objections to pork in the hurricane relief bill, and the strangely quiet-to-nonexistent challenge to John Boehner within the GOP caucus . . . but nothing beats our third, lighter item:

Two Great Tastes You Never Liked, Finally Together as One

“Your Current TV got in my al-Jazeera! Your al-Jazeera got into my Current TV!”

You know why they called it “Current”? Because it had no future.

Al Jazeera on Wednesday completed a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore and his business partners seven years ago.

Current will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms. Current is available in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service.

Rather than simply use Current to distribute its English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel, called Al Jazeera America, based in New York. Roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States, while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.

Al Jazeera may absorb some Current TV staff members, according to people with knowledge of the deal who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But Current’s schedule of shows will most likely be dissolved in the spring.

“Poor Eliot Spitzer!” said absolutely no one.

Can this get any sweeter? Yes, it can: “Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.”

But wait, there’s more! Guess who Current’s old owners refused a deal with?

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze approached Current about buying the channel last year, but was told that “the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view,” according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Based on Hyatt’s quote, the owners of Current TV didn’t want Glenn to purchase Current TV and put TheBlaze in millions of home across the country because they didn’t agree with his point of view. They must not feel the same way about Al Jazeera, a news organization that ran an op-ed comparing Glenn to a terrorist.

Glenn has taken issue with Al Jazeera in the past, noting their connections to Islamic extremism and their anti-American leanings in their reporting.

Had TheBlaze successfully purchased Current TV, the current lineup of TheBlaze TV would have replaced the existing progressive programming in 59 million homes in the United States.

As one righty fellow said on an e-mail list I’m on, “This is just about the greatest worldview validation news item for conservatives  ever.”

Michael Goldfarb: “Al Gore, lining his pockets with fossil fuel money.”

Phil Klein: “Now Israel will be blamed for global warming, too!”

But crown Allahpundit for the best response: “I really don’t like the idea of an extremist propaganda outlet that seeks the destruction of America airing on U.S. cable. Fortunately, sounds like Al Jazeera’s about to get rid of it.”

Frank J.: “I haven’t been able to come up with a joke about Al Jazeera buying Al Gore’s Current TV; you can’t really improve on the premise.”

Ken Vogel of Politico reported, “Time Warner Cable did not consent to sale to Al Jazeera. Consequently, Current will no longer be carried on Time Warner Cable.” Good, we’re keeping this product safely contained.

Tags: Al Gore , Current , Eliot Spitzer

Yes, He’s the Wrong Talking Head to Complain About Fox News Contributors



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Friend of NR Will Cain guest-hosted Parker-Spitzer last night. There’s been quite a bit of discussion on CNN of the notion that by their count, five Republican presidential candidates are under contract to Fox News Channel: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and John Bolton.

“Never before in our history, that I can think of, has one media outlet with one coherent ideology had . . . access to half the presidential nominees and controlled one political party this way,” lamented Spitzer.

Yeah, it’s terrible to watch those politicians jump into cable-news jobs, huh, Spitzer?

The show’s guest, Dan Abrams, formerly of MSNBC, raised the irony of the complaint coming from Spitzer and also wondered whether the gripe is overstated, asking whether Bolton or some of the others are serious contenders or simply names being mentioned.

It’s odd to see potential GOP nominees clustered around one news channel, but that probably says more about the hiring mentality at the other networks than at Fox News. CNN could have signed any of the above, or Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush, or tried to line up a deal with outgoing Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Instead, they signed Number Nine and a columnist best known for trashing Sarah Palin to anchor their prime-time lineup. And we know no serious potential Republican president will ever collect a paycheck from MSNBC.

UPDATE: Hmmm. Where was Parker that evening? “Eliot Spitzer’s TV sidekick is so fed up with playing second fiddle to the hooker-loving ex-gov that she’s threatening to walk, sources told The Post yesterday.”

Tags: Eliot Spitzer , Fox News , Newt Gingrich , Sarah Palin

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