For Cuomo, AIG, Financial Crisis Is His Political Moment

One of the most troubling aspects of the AIG discussion in Congress, the White House and the media is the intertwining of personal political objectives while most Americans suffer grave economic consequences.

We don’t think the stampede to demand pain at AIG and among their employees has been good for the economic recovery one bit.  But it has been good for some politicians who are working to get public attentiona and future jobs.

Andrew Cuomo is one….

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By MICHAEL POWELL, DANNY HAKIM and LOUISE STORY
The New York Times
Andrew M. Cuomo, whose love of analogies is great, often likens his investigations to a fine opera.

The opening act, he instructs his lieutenants at the New York State attorney general’s office, is taken up with his investigation and rivets the audience’s attention. The middle acts are sung by tenors from executive suites, who agree to change their misbegotten ways.

The final act, in his rendition, is played by Congress or the State Legislature, which enacts new laws and systemic reform.

Mr. Cuomo, a double-espresso of a politician and an oh-so-careful guardian of his own media image, now has found his moment like few politicians in the United States. For months he has given voice to disgust with the abuses and self-regard within the nation’s financial industry. He has forced the three largest rating agencies to the bargaining table, persuaded mortgage lenders to agree to rework their appraisals and sought to force down the cost of student loans by shaming universities and lenders.

Mr. Cuomo’s use of his office, its powers and its bully pulpit, is muscular. He has sent his subpoenas to those in plush offices, and dragged out the names of bonus recipients from American International Group and Merrill Lynch, to loud applause from many voters.

But with names in hand, the attorney general is experiencing a very Cuomo-esque moment of agonizing about the propriety of exposure. As he watched Edward M. Liddy, chief executive of the American International Group, describe death threats that his employees had received, including a note suggesting hangings with piano wire, Mr. Cuomo began this week to wonder whether the public baying had grown too loud, an aide who was with him said.

“There’s a risk it gets so loud it becomes counterproductive,” he said, the aide recalled. “It’s important to take a deep breath.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/0
3/21/nyregion/21cuomo.html?_r=1&hp

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