The last time a governor of New York was impeached, Europe was inching toward World War I.
More than a century after the 1913 impeachment and removal of William Sulzer from elected office, state lawmakers may be heeding the lessons of that semi-forgotten drama.
Political analyst and Sulzer enthusiast Jack O'Donnell in an interview on Capital Tonight noted the Legislature achieved what amounted to a pyrrhic victory with Sulzer's removal: Democrats lost the state Senate and Assembly as well as the governor's office in the aftermath.
Now, as Democratic lawmakers this week outline their next steps in a potential impeachment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee have plotted out a cautious approach. They plan to take witness testimony and review the reams of documentary evidence produced by investigators who probed the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Cuomo.
"It sounds a little like the Assembly is ready to learn from them," O'Donell said. "I think the Democrats didn't do a very good job of how guilty William Sulzer was. The lost the governorship, they lost the Legislature and paid a poliical price."