Perhaps Schneiderman’s most significant role in Trump’s presidency, though, has to do with Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation — and particularly, the case against Paul Manafort. Given that a president can only pardon someone for federal crimes, Schneiderman is viewed as something of a backstop — the guy who could take up the case against Trump’s former campaign chairman for state crimes if Trump effectively wipes Manafort’s federal slate clean. Schneiderman has been investigating Manafort, and he has even leaned into the pardon situation pretty publicly. Last month, he asked lawmakers to change the state’s double jeopardy law to exempt presidential pardons, which would mean he and local prosecutors could try people at the state level for crimes that have already been tried in federal court. In his letter calling for the change, Schneiderman made clear it was about Trump’s apparent pardon deliberations.
Okay, he’s gross, yank him out of there, put somebody else in, right?
“We may see a slowdown in the short term, but maintaining a firewall against Trump policies and sustained action against Trump allies may become a de facto litmus test for the new AG,” said Basil Smikle, the former executive director of the state Democratic Party.
Added New York Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf: “The last three New York state attorneys general — [Eliot] Spitzer, [Andrew] Cuomo, Schneiderman — have all aggressively used their offices to take on national issues. Schneiderman’s replacement will likely continue.”
I know we are all about the cult of the individual, all about the Steve Jobs genius theory where a great man somehow manages to do what previously could not be done, but it’s kind of horseshit always, and it leads to things like valuing total assholes more highly than the functioning of an organization.
We imbue these people with superhuman powers, like Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose are the only people who can talk on TV because they have some kind of gift. Trump’s entire candidacy — and to be honest the candidacy of every CEO-type who runs for public office for the first time — was predicated on him being a special guy who could solve problems big dumb government couldn’t solve. (A lot of people thought that about Obama, too, including at times Obama.)
We devalue the office and the law and the structures we’ve created by propping up these oh-so-special people and that in turn enables them to think they can do anything they want because their value places them above the law or the norms of society. It makes it more difficult for victims to come forward and be believed, because if we value someone as a magical person instead of creating ways for work to be done, we see accusations like these as a threat.
We should value the work. Plenty of people who are good at their jobs are assholes, but what enables them to get away with it is placing a higher value on keeping this particular man in place than in getting the work done. Very few of us, and certainly none of the hairdos who’ve gone down recently, are irreplaceable.