'The curse of the Massachusetts AG'
digs deeper into the curse of the AG
and comes up with more logical reasons why they’re such political losers in Massachusetts. Reader A also had a logical explanation
for their losing pattern here. …
I half agree with Reader A that NY voters seem more amenable to electing ex-prosectors to higher offices. But they’re not that much more amenable, if you look at it more closely. Dewey and Spitzer were ex-prosectors who won NY gubernatorial races
. But Dewey was never AG or a U.S. Attorney. He won national fame as a special prosecutor going after gangsters, such as Dutch Schultz and Lucky Luciano, and Nazis. Hollywood made him an almost genuine celebrity – and that made him exceptional. That leaves Spitzer – and we’ll leave it at that.
New York’s deeper association with elected crime fighters comes at the city level. Teddy Roosevelt was an ex-police commissioner (and war hero) before becoming governor. Rudy Guiliani, ex-fed prosectuor, later became mayor (and hasn’t risen since – and probably never will).
I didn’t check NY’s Senate history. But the only recent ex-prosecutor that jumps to mind is RFK, the former U.S. AG, who won office because of his famous name, not because of his crime-fighting abilities. *
So the bottom line is that a head-prosectutor's ability to move up the ladder is, surprisingly, more the exception (Dewey, Weld, Spitzer, etc) than the political rule (Richardson, Quinn, Bellotti, Shannon, Harshbarger, Reilly, etc.), here or elsewhere. It may actually be a hindrance, as Joan and others have explained.
* Note: I certainly didn’t get into whether someone was an ex-assistant/deputy AG, DA or U.S. attorney, etc. They’re a dime a dozen. No one really thinks of John Kerry as an ex-assistant prosecutor.