Spitzer introduces himself
When Winston Churchill exhorted the schoolboys at his old alma mater, Harrow School, at the lowest point in the Second World War, to "never give in, never give in", he never imagined Eliot Spitzer. Churchill's full advice was to "never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense". And therein lies the rub.
Spitzer forgot the part about "honour and good sense". But then, what's that?
Walter Olson at the National Review Online doesn't think Spitzer is going to quit after being caught sneaking off to prostitutes while pretending to me Mr. District Attorney. "So he didn’t quit. To judge from Eliot Spitzer’s press event Monday, at which he curtly apologized for falling short on a 'private matter' and then said very little else before striding offstage, America’s most self-righteous elected official might even be thinking of trying to hold onto his office as governor of New York."
As Hillary Clinton continues to run the Democratic Party train headlong towards a cliff, putting her own personal self-interests over any 'loyalty' toward the Party the question is why should Olson or the public imagine they would behave differently. Just because a 'progressive' person constantly invokes principles doesn't mean they exist.
Stephen Spruiell notes that Spitzer "embarked on a crusade to impose gun control via litigation" and issued dozens of subpoenas targeting crisis-pregnancy centers which abortion rights groups accused of providing "abortion alternatives". And in September 2007 in his first year as governor "Spitzer angered opponents of amnesty for illegal immigrants when he issued an executive order eliminating legal residency as a requirement for drivers licenses."
The mystical connection between Spitzer and Clinton exerted its spooky influence even there as the Senator from New York found herself stumbling in a televised debate as she was caught endorsing Spitzer's position while simultaneously trying to back away from it. This did not seem as impossible as it might seem. "Never give in, never give in" means 'never never admit to nuthin'. Today's politicians might bow at every opportunity to people like Castro or Ahmedinajad. But before the truth they won't retreat by so much as an inch. And when caught in falsehoods they'll simply fire an aide, say they misspoke, declare it "private" or solemnly proclaim you're going to move on.
But they always move on to the next lie. And revelations that Spitzer had been using hookers for six years and possibly for at least a decade really speak less to the specific offense than to the astounding ability of public figures to lie with a straight face and feign outrage for deeds they themselves secretly commit. ABC News describes the elaborate routine Spitzer used to "shake off" his security detail so that he could indulge his appetites. Whether you believe the troopers were fooled or not by his alibis (I tend to think not) it shows that only do some politicians lie but do so deliberately.
And while the press may describe the scandal as a private incident or about sex it is really about the deep, black hole in the center of much political life. What Spitzer really did was show the public who he was.
When the New York Times News Service said that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson "was in limbo" as he awaited definite information on Spitzer's plans they unwittingly introduced a term that extremely apt to modern politics. The ancient concept of limbo is very much like the modern idea of the null, something that had yet to be assigned a value. Paterson may be in "limbo". But Spitzer has assigned himself a value and it zero.
The AP runs this update on the Spitzer story. Not surprising to me.
Democrats privately floated another option, telling The Associated Press that Spitzer was considering what was almost unthinkable immediately after Monday's bombshell apology: hanging on.
"If the public is fine, he'll stay," said a Democrat who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
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