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My Thoughts on Spitzer - Mo's Journal
March 12th, 2008
01:17 pm

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My Thoughts on Spitzer
I wanted to call this "My Thoughts on Yaoi Spitzer" but apparently strikeouts don't work in subject lines...

So we have a new governor, or at least will have one on Monday. It has been a wild ride the last couple of days. I think Spitzer did right to resign. I feel terribly sad for his family, and even for him. His behavior was remarkably reckless. I do think he can't function as governor.

More opinions behind the cut.



- Some have suggested that the press have gone after Spitzer in a disproportionate way, but I'm not seeing that, at least not here in NYC. In general, the press here love Spitzer. He was considered the darling of the media since his AG days. He prosecuted Wall St. movers and shakers, which made great copy, and he was nice to media folks and accessible and always had something good to say. I say this by contrast with Giuliani, who was generally hated by the press and they definitely kicked him when he was down (and wished they could have when he was up).

- He has thoroughly made his reputation as Mr. Clean battling against the forces of corruption, including expressing pretty credible disgust at prostitution. I think it's worth considering that kind of hypocrisy.

- He was instrumental in passing of a new law that increases penalties for men patronizing prostitutes. In the views of reformers, he was on their side in this: seeing sex workers as exploited and the johns as the criminals and they were getting away with it.

- As recently as a few months ago (while he was spending $4000 a session on call girls) he called up Nicholas Kristof at the NY Times - who often writes about human trafficking and sexual slavery issues - and asked him to write a piece about how he, Spitzer, had closed down and prosecuted a big international prostitution ring when he was Attorney General. The level of chutzpah in that makes me shake my head and wonder who this guy is. More to the point, the people who know him seem to all be shaking their heads and wondering who he is.

- He violated several federal laws, including financial corruption ones. This is a guy who made his name investigating financial fancy footwork and yet he was taking large cash withdrawals and giving money orders to fake corporations to hide his illegal activities. It's not like with Clinton, where the only legal issue was perjury (and it wasn't proven) so it was pretty clear the real issue was sex. This is layers of illegality to cover up the sex.

- If not for the above, I don't think this would be such a big deal, at least here on the ground. If he were found to be having an affair with a state senator, for example, I think he could have kept his job. But he committed at least a couple of federal crimes as well as state ones and the idea of a sitting governor being prosecuted while he's got a budget to deliver and plenty of issues to be dealing with in a large and complicated state government is just too much for many people to contemplate. People are pissed off that he just left everything in limbo for two days without any word to his lieutenant governor, who could have been starting a transition process. There's a state to run here!

- People close to Spitzer politically appear truly shocked. The press is shocked. Some people are happily shocked (some of the Republicans seem beside themselves with glee) but I'm quite convinced that nobody expected this, not even his closest associates. From what I've read FBI apparently thought they were going to find an underlying financial crime he was covering up and they were shocked, too, to find out it was prostitution.

- The shock is reflected in the news accounts. A governor getting caught in something big (and I do think it's big) and resigning is big news, anyway, but there's a different spin when it seems completely at odds with what everyone who knew him thought of him. McGreevey was news, too, but in a different way - nobody but his wife was shocked. Press, politicians, average citizens - all of NJ knew he was gay. So I think the shock is there and it's going to show up in the media. With McGreevey, Craig, Clinton, Teddy Kennedy, Vitter, the press coverage was "Now we're talking about what was previously an open secret." With Spitzer, it's "ZOMG WTF happened!"

- I don't know much about Paterson but he seems competent and well-regarded. And I think it's exciting and historic that New York will have its first black governor and its first (and maybe the country's first?) blind governor.

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From:marag
Date:March 12th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad he's resigning as well. And I agree that there's a difference between Spitzer (who quite blatantly broke several laws) and someone like Clinton (who had sex outside marriage).

Un-friggin-believable. ::shakes head::
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From:mofic
Date:March 12th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
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Andrea Bernstein said this morning on NPR that Spitzer was planning on being the first Jewish POTUS. I don't doubt it. All that ambition, all that promise - he totally threw it all away.
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From:davidfcooper
Date:March 12th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
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I don't doubt it either. I hope when it happens the first Jewish potus will be scandal free.

I'm guessing that after seeing President Clinton's adultery disclosed by a blabber mouth paramour Spitzer thought that engaging the services of a professional would be more discreet. But hiding the source of funds added further layers of deceit, and if he was going out of state to meet a prostitute he should have gone to Nevada where it's legal. It's a pity for Spitzer and a lucky break for David Paterson, who is quite capable and a really good guy.
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From:thinking_lotus
Date:March 12th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
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wild ride is right!

I was never a Spitzer fan, mainly because I didn't see how he was going to clean up Albany, but as you know I was quite perturbed by the news.

David Paterson is a really smart, charming guy in interviews. I hope he does well as governor because heaven knows NYS needs it.

Ugh I wish whoever is in charge of these things had gotten to Joe Bruno first because I think he really is corrupt, in a fundamentally far more serious way than Spitzer (but you're right, I don't think Spitzer could stay).
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From:aurienne
Date:March 12th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
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It reminds me of the Robot Chicken episode (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOGhdjAIkf4) where they reveal that Aliens took the real Michael Jackson, and replaced him with a White Michael Jackson, and this was to somehow aid in conquering the earth. (The aliens don't quite know how that would work, either.)



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From:tarchannon
Date:March 13th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
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Honestly, I don't really care about his using prostitutes (hey, for all I know his wife gets off watching him getting tied up and beaten by Mistress Polly). I don't care about his lying about it for a while (he's a politician, after all). I don't even care about all the time and money this all took to resolve. What I care about is two-fold: 1) another politician is shown to be a universe-class hypocrit, and 2) he actually unequivocally broke the law. And, to be honest, I'm most disturbed about the former. Are all politicians that unbelievably stupid to think that they will not get caught? And why on earth the self-destructable behavior? How many Dick Cheneys, Daniel Craigs, and Elliot Spitzers are out there? I mean I expect it from the psycho-fundies, but top line politicians? How disgusting.
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From:mofic
Date:March 13th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
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There may be some positives in this. The more I hear about David Paterson, the more I like. Everyone seems to think he's competent and smart and well-liked. And that - unlike Spitzer - he knows how to get along with the folks in State government, in both parties. He would not have been elected governor - there just isn't the name recognition - but he might turn out to be a good one.

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