Any Given Tuesday: Lis Smith on Cuomo, Spitzer and a political life | Books

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OWith Any Given Tuesday, Lis Smith delivers 300 pages of smack, snark and vulnerability. A veteran of the Democratic campaign, she shares close-up shots of those appearing in the news and cooks up autobiographical vignettes. The book, his first, is a political memoir and coming-of-age narrative. It’s airy and informative.

For two decades Smith worked in the trenches. She has witnessed much and bears the resulting scars. Most recently, she was a senior media adviser to Pete Buttigieg, now transportation secretary in the Biden administration, and advised Andrew Cuomo, now the disgraced ex-governor of New York.

According to Smith, Buttigieg made politics ennobling and fun. More importantly, he offered a path to redemption.

“He saw me for who I really was and, for the first time in my adult life, I did too,” Smith writes. According to exit polls in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Buttigieg brought meaning to middle-aged white college graduates. These days he is seen by Democrats as a possible alternative to Joe Biden in 2024.

Smith dated Eliot Spitzer, another disgraced New York governor.

“We were like a lit match and dynamite,” she wrote. Smith also raves about Spitzer’s “deeply set cerulean blue eyes,” the “most gorgeous” pair she’s ever seen. A 24-year age gap provided additional fuel, but Spitzer, once known as the Sheriff of Wall Street, spent less than 15 months in office. His administration ended abruptly in 2009, during his appointment with prostitutes.

Smith can be blunt and blunt. She savaged Cuomo and flattened Bill de Blasio, the former mayor of New York, like a pancake.

Smith recounts in detail Cuomo’s mishandling of Covid, sexual harassment allegations and his obfuscation. He “died as he lived”, she writes, damningly, “without any regard for the people around him and the impact his actions would have on them”.

As for De Blasio: “This guy can’t handle 9/11.” He also broke down, we are told, in the personal hygiene department: a “rude guy with no shower”. De Blasio withdrew a job offer from Smith, after his relationship with Spitzer became tabloid fodder. He also coveted an endorsement from Spitzer that never materialized.

“We both tried to sleep with Eliot but only one of us succeeded,” boasts Smith.

On Tuesday, De Blasio dropped out of a congressional primary after winning 3% support in a recent poll.

Smith is truly New Yorker. She grew up in a leafy suburb of Westchester, north of the city. His parents were loving and politically aware. His father ran a large law firm. He introduced his daughter to football and the New York Jets.

Smith went to Dartmouth. Unsurprisingly, his politics are establishment liberal. She has worked on campaigns for Jon Corzine, for Governor of New Jersey; Terry McAuliffe, for Governor of Virginia; and Claire McCaskill, for senator from Missouri. In 2012, she got a credit from Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Smith has kind words for McAuliffe and McCaskill, but portrays Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs chief executive, as aloof, never warming to the reality that elections are about retail politics and people. Despite this, Smith fails to mention the failure of MF Global, a commodity brokerage run by Corzine, which left a trail of ruin.

“I just don’t know where the money is, or why the accounts haven’t been reconciled to date,” Corzine testified before a congressional committee. “I don’t know which accounts are unreconciled or whether or not the unreconciled accounts were subject to the segregation rules.”

Corzine holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Smith is candid about the corrosive effects of the Democrats’ left shift.

“If someone doesn’t support all the policies on their progressive wish list… they’re labeled an enemy or a Republican in disguise. If these ideological purists think a Democrat from West Virginia is bad, wait until they get a charge from the Republican alternative.

But Smith is also a victim of ideological myopia. Discussing the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and its far-reaching political consequences, she appears to blame Ferguson police solely for the death of the African-American teenager, who she says was “shot dead in the middle of day”. Like Hillary ClintonSmith forgets to mention that the police shot after Brown lunges at an officer’s gun. She also doesn’t mention that Brown had a falling out with a convenience store owner before his run-in with the law.

A New York Post front page refers to the scandal involving New York Governor Eliot Spitzer in March 2008. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Inadvertently, Smith highlights the volatility of the multicultural coalition of Democrats. Worshiping the twin altars of identity politics and political correctness exacts a high price in votes and can negatively impact human life. See New York’s current crime wave for proof.

Smith reserves some of his sharpest digs for Donald Trump’s convicted and then pardoned confidant Roger Stone, correspondent for the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. She calls him a “stone-cold sociopath.” But she skates on the animosity that existed between Stone and Spitzer, her ex. In 2007, Stone reportedly quit a threatening phone message for Spitzer’s father, a real estate magnate. months later, Stone told the FBI Spitzer “used the high-priced call girl service” while in Florida.

Ultimately, Smith is an idealist.

“I believe in the power of politics to improve people’s lives,” she writes. “I still believe there is hope for the future.”

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