Master of Whisperers
There’s a character in Game of Thrones named Varys. He’s a eunuch who is known as “Master of Whisperers” on the King’s Council.
He has a network of informants. He’s a manipulator. But as dramatic events unfold, like the murder of kings, he’s always thinking about what’s best for the kingdom. He works to prevent the kingdom from falling into complete chaos, which would hurt the simple people for whom he really and truly cares.
Recent events have got us thinking: We could sure use Varys in Albany right now.
Why? Because we’re on the verge of complete chaos in state government. Again.
This is an exaggeration, but not by much, Preet is like one of those preternatural forces on Game of Thrones. He’s devouring leading politicians and their children, too. In so doing, he obliterates normal functioning of state government.
So what would Varys’ counsel at this moment?
The first thing he’d do is level with the person in charge. That would be Andrew. He’s say: “You need to act as though you might be next.”
And Andrew would say: “And do what, exactly?”
And the eunuch would say: “First, settle side battles so you can focus on the real fight. Resolve the increasingly bitter teacher evals and opt-out controversies. Make peace with people you’ve antagonized. The list includes progressives, unions, the media and other elected officials all of whom you’ve feuded with and gratuitously disrespected. Do this because you’re going to need allies.”
“Second, press forward with additional ethics reform. Stop claiming that incremental progress is “transformational” reform. Tell people reform is an ongoing process that will never be over and done with.”
“Third, get off the defensive and start pushing back against Preet.”
Now at this suggestion, Andrew will probably balk, and the eunuch would respond:
“Where is it written that a U.S. Attorney can’t be questioned? Of course, he can and Federal Judge Caproni opened the door to it the other day. Such questioning has to be done respectfully, but it can be done. The key question is as follows: Does the U.S. Attorney have the right to review established political practices in state government and make determinations on legality? Can he really say: “This practice is ok, but I really don’t like that one, so I’m going to make it a crime.”
The eunuch would conclude with: “The asking of this particular question is totally legitimate and in the public interest. But until someone raises it and insists on a public dialogue about it, there are no limits on the U.S. Attorney’s power and no limit to the disruption of state government he could cause.”