Oh, Eliot Spitzer, you were going to be so great. I mean, this dude was elected with about 470% of the vote, and could have been a contender. He was up against the Majority Satate Senate leader, notorious homophobe, death penalty lover and all-around jerk Joseph Bruno, and was fightin’ the good fight. Then he pulled some dirty politics on Bruno, ran a deficit, his approval plummeted to 33%, and then he, well, you know.
Apparently there’s some dithering on whether or not he’ll resign, but I’m sorry: I’m a lifelong pinko yellow-dog Democrat, and I’m here to tellya that if you get caught in a prostitution ring after thwarting prostitution rings as governor, you gotta quit. That seems to me like simple algebra, or, as my 10th-grade lit teacher would call it, “poetic irony”.
Most people think the same thing after an event like this – WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE MAN THINKING? Using bank transfers and text messages to arrange upscale brothel visits is only slightly less stupid than Jerry Springer paying a prostitute by check when he was mayor of Cincinnati. Here’s a man who has pretty much everything to lose, living in a world of ubiquitous surveillance, the frickin’ governor of New York, and the best pseudonym he can come up with is his friend George Fox?
There was a time when my mind would have boggled at that kind of self-destructive stupidity, but now, after years of being close to those who suffer, I see it for what it is: an untreated addiction. Where once I felt anger at those who seemed to lack willpower, I now understand it as something they truly can’t control. It’d be like asking a drunk to stop drinking, a smack addict to stop heroin, or me to stop eating sour gummi worms.
What the man needs now is to disappear, enter the “program” of his choice, get his addiction worked out in some healthy way, and then rehabilitate his character – because, in the case of the relentless Mr. Spitzer, he’s worth it. This is a guy capable of endless amounts of public good, but not for a while.
I’ve been trying to think why I hold a double standard for this case versus the Clinton/Lewinsky saga. My feeling about Bill and Monica was “who gives a shit?” Getting a blow job in the Oval Office and then prevaricating around it was dumb, and showed poor judgment, but it didn’t make him any less of a great president. Despite the shrill, endless screeches still echoing from the right-wing echo chamber, most Americans (around 65%) agreed with me.
But this time, it seems different. Maybe because the job of governor is so specific, with prostitution itself being a target. Maybe because it came so far out of left field. Maybe because shameless, hypocritical sex addicts who try to hold onto power is a tactic best left to the Republicans (see Mark Foley, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Rep. Bob Allen, Congressman Ken Calvert, Ed Schrock, etc.) Or maybe because, all politics aside, anything else would be insane.