This blog is officially a No Defending Spitzer Zone.
Because it's not about the sex.
It's about headlines like this:
Headlines that were entirely predictable the first time he thought about shelling out a couple of grand to hire a pro, when he should have been asking himself the question most people about to do what he was about to do would ask themselves, What if I get caught?
In Spitzer's case the answer should have been, A lot worse things than just my wife yelling at me.
But it appears his answer to himself was along the lines of, I won't get caught.
It's not about the sex.
It's about the stupidity.
And the arrogance.
And it's about making chumps of everyone who voted for him and undermining the cause of reform here in New York. It's about headlines like that one in the Wall Street Journal and the stories that go with them.
The reason these Spitzer allegations hurt so much is he was one of the very few people in the country willing to take on the corruption of Wall Street. And I am not tlaking the kind of penny-ante corruption of the mob and their ilk. I am talking about corruption on a systemic level that we can now all see affects everyone in this country. Few had the guts to take on Wall Street and the insurance industry. But Spitzer did. Any subsequent calls for, or attempts to, reform Wall street will be that much more difficult in light of what happened today. This is not a blow for good government, but for sensible finance and regulation..
I don't care if prostitution shouldn't be a crime.
Do I think there might have been some political motivation behind the leaking of his name? Of course, but that was also as predictable as the headline.
And is it weird that the feds were targeting a local prostitution ring? Possibly only as weird as the Onondaga County District Attorney's office targeting a prostitution ring in Syracuse. It's their jurisdiction, folks.
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia is unique among the 94 United States Attorney Offices across the nation by virtue of its size and its varied responsibilities. It is the largest United States Attorney's Office with over 350 Assistant United States Attorneys and over 350 support personnel. The size of this Office is the result of the breadth of our responsibility for criminal law enforcement and our location in the nation's capital. We are responsible not only for the prosecution of all federal crimes, but also for the prosecution of all serious local crime committed by adults in the District of Columbia.
You may not consider prostitution a serious local crime, but you don't think like an ambitious prosecutor on the make. Very high priced call girls have rich and powerful clients. That makes for headlines, kids. If it hadn't been Spitzer it would have been somebody else just as high-profile and just as dumb.
Updated: At any rate, it doesn't appear the Feds were targeting the prostitution ring. They were "targeting" Spitzer, but only in the way they would target anyone moving large sums of money around like that because that's how drug dealers, money launderers, terrorists, and politicians on the take handle money, and this is how the Feds have been going after bad guys since the days of the real Eliot Ness and Al Capone, by following the money, as Spitzer well knew. Client 9 could have been any dope who thought he could sneak one past the IRS. That the dope turned out to be the reform-minded Democratic governor of Hillary Clinton's home state was just gravy to the Bush Leaguers. But see the note below.
As for Jane's wondering about the timing of Michael Bloomberg's public musings about the possibility he'll run for governor---well, now that he's come to his senses and stopped daydreaming about a third party run for President, the governorship is the next obvious step for him, and considering the erratic and arrogant and self-destructive behavior Spitzer's demonstrated as governor---and this doesn't include the latest news. The man's made people feel sorry for Joe Bruno, for crying out loud!---the possibility that he'd have been a one-termer was very real. It's just become a lot more real.
So in addition to the stupidity, the arrogance, the recklessness, and the irresponsibility, it's also about this.
Spitzer's just made the governorship Bloomberg's for the asking.
NY Times website still running slow? Lots of stories here from the Times Herald-Record.
This is below, here is the note: Scott Horton is right. Given the way the Bush Leaguers have corrupted the Department of Justice and the Federal Prosecutor's Office, there's a good reason to smell a whole colony of rats here. But Eliot Spitzer is no Dan Siegelman. Nobody had to set out to get Spitzer. He wrapped himself up with a bow and delivered himself as a gift.
This is a way in which it is, somewhat, about the sex. The House Judiciary Committee is finally getting serious about investigating the corruption of the US Attorneys Office. Bringing "Client 9" and "Kristin" into the story makes it very hard to keep the focus on what Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, and Rove have done.
Another note, trying to look on the bright side: Now I've got a reason to be glad if Hillary Clinton loses the nomination to Barack Obama. She'll be free to run for governor against Bloomberg in 2010.
One more note, a hypocritical, self-righteous, and sanctimonious one hypocritically, self-righteously, and sanctimoniously defending myself pre-emptively against charges of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and sanctimony: Yeah, I remember. Yesterday I said I wasn't going to congratulate myself on my superior virtue. But I was talking about the sex. This isn't about the sex. It's not about who Spitzer was screwing down in DC. It's about how he was screwing the rest of us back home in New York.