Friday, September 2

Ask The Man Who Owned One

LET'S have a quick look back at the newly-ended career of former New York City Deputy Mayor and Chief Morals Officer of Indianapolis Stephen Goldsmythe. Not because of schadenfreude; just because I've always wanted to say "newly-ended career of Stephen Goldsmythe".

First, it's "Goldsmythe". I don't know why the papers are always misspelling it. Back when he was screwing up snow removal in the Midwest it was revealed that he was registered to vote as Stephen Goldsmythe, 123 Fake St., Indianapolis. Since it's a felony to vote under an assumed name, or address, and since he was never charged, this information was apparently correct.

Which is how he should have explained it, instead of claiming he was hiding out from all the bad guys he'd put away as Prosecutor. At the time Rudy Giuliani, who had put away some real bad guys, was living at Gracie Mansion. Okay, plus various love nests, but you get the point. And Giuliani is still with us, as everyone who's about to be subjected to a month-long tenth-year anniversary of his artificially inflating the WTC death toll for the purpose of increasing the political hay harvest can attest.

Anyway, after becoming an Eagle Scout, like Dick Lugar, graduating from Michigan Law, like Ann Coulter, and landing a six-year gig with the US Army Reserves at the height of the Vietnam War, like Dan Quayle, Goldsmythe started work for a well-connected Indianapolis law firm, and shortly after went to work on the government's dime as Corporate Counsel, and later chief trial deputy, for the city. He won a surprise victory for Marion County Prosecutor in 1978, thanks to the popular Nixonian law n' order blather and some fortuitous financing. Goldsmythe spent the next twelve years as Prosecutor, pissing off Bad Guys and carping about Permanent Indianapolis Mayor the Reverend Bill Hudnut, whose job Goldsmythe wanted. Hudnut--a popular, likable, and moderate fellow who could've gone on being Mayor indefinitely--finally decided not to run for a fifth term, citing "that goddam flea infestation in the Prosecutor's office". Though not exactly in those terms.

Goldsmythe, meanwhile, had become a disciple of Government Privatization, on the grounds that this seemed like a good deal for his backers. His antics, which to this point had been only about 10% more disturbing than the run-of-the-mill politician's in these parts--he had a particular fixation on "cleaning up" massage parlors and adult bookstores, and no apparent concern with Constitutional rights, nor the cost to taxpayers of losing extended court fights over overarching prosecutions--now became, in a word, insufferable. Indianapolis did not undertake Privatization under Stephen Goldsmythe for the sake of economic efficiencies or improvement of services; Indianapolis undertook Privatization because Stephen Goldsmythe was metaphysically correct in his every assumption, and on his way to important political office.

Fans of the genre will not be surprised to learn that Privatization, to the Goldsmythe administration, meant selling off contracts to do things the city already did, and that it emphatically did not mean that the Simons should be forced to build their own new stadium for their own basketball team, nor that the Colts should be held to their original lease, nor that the Simons should build their own downtown megamall, nor that Eli Lily should be forced to expand its operations without massive tax rebates, nor that any of this should be accounted for publicly.

In brief--okay, too late for that--Goldsmythe continued the twenty-five year program, beginning with Dick Lugar, and continuing through Bill Hudnut, of propping up the value of downtown property, and the Old Money portfolios it fit in, with taxpayer dollars. Unlike his predecessors, though, Goldsmythe did it while proclaiming loudly how opposed he was to government spending.

Fans of the genre who aren't already way ahead of me will by now be wondering when all the self-flattery went to the man's head. Which would be 1996, when, ignoring the results of the 1995 Indianapolis mayoral elections, which he won easily against a woman who was as surprised as anyone to learn she was running, but with a decided Nobody Really Likes You, Stephen turnout, he ran for Governor, bulling his way through the Republican primaries--Republicans didn't really like him, either--before being pretty much humiliated in the general.

Fill in the rest: 'conservative' sinecures at Lockheed Martin, Harvard's Kennedy School, domestic advisor to the Bush 2000 campaign, public crybaby when he only got the #2 job at the Faith Based Initiatives Boondoggle as a result.

For me Steve Goldsmythe will always be a sort of link between the Nixon Crime Family and the Reagan Snake Oil factory, a guy who never really sounded like he believed what he said, but who sounded like he believed he needed to say it to enrich himself. I swear his blade-dulling swath through the mid-90s Indiana Republican party served as the bad example Mitch Daniels' handlers "learned" from; Goldsmythe's arrogance is why we got Mitch Daniels, plaid-shirted RVer, rather than the accurate Mitch Daniels, Fuck, He Must Know Better Than You, He's Rich. There's been no shortage here, the last two days, of people expressing their surprise that Little Stephen, Former World's Youngest Eagle Scout, would get bunged up on a domestic battery beef. At a time when Indianapolis has elected Gomer Pyle mayor, and just ousted Ratso Rizzo as Prosecutor, I'd just like to say that for some of us who can still remember Steve the real surprise was the news that he'd been hired to get things done in a city that needs things done, and where Rube is just one of many voting blocs.


Uncle Omar said...

"...graduated from Michigan Law like Ann Coulter..." You forgot such high level thinkers from the UM Law Family like Hugh Hewitt and Larry Elder. Damn not the institution with faint praise by naming only one of its distinguished graduates.

celiadexter said...

As a Michigan Law grad (and longtime lefty/ public service attorney), I'm embarrassed by these folks too and glad I never crossed paths with them. But please don't conflate the school with Regent, or Liberty, or other spawning grounds of the idiot right!

grouchomarxist said...

... a guy who never really sounded like he believed what he said, but who sounded like he believed he needed to say it to enrich himself.

He is the very model of a modern day political.

Brilliant, Doghouse, as always.

Deggjr said...

You always hurt the one you love, the one you shouldn't hurt at all. You always take the sweetest rose and crush it til the petals fall ...

Li'l Innocent said...

Oh, Doghouse, I love your posts on local Indiana/Indianapolis politics, a far country about which I otherwise am completely ignorant! It's like reading a combination of H. L. Mencken and Lewis Carroll.

marksmall2001 said...

I would like to point out that he received his bachelor's degree from Wabash College, where Phyllis Schalfy was received as a heroine.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Dog, I wondered if I was the only one who remembered the "L. S. Goldsmythe" garbage.
I used to work down at the C-C building during Goldsmythe's tenure there. T'was an education.
Any word on whatever happened to that child actress he hired to play the part of his daughter "Olivia" because his handlers thought it'd make him more electable?