Tuesday, March 11, 2008

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.

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.


Blogger Doug said...

"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the situation Tuesday, saying he sent the governor his best wishes.

"I told him my thoughts were with him and wished him all the best," said Bloomberg, adding that any conversations between himself and Spitzer are private.
Just sparing the wife and family additional humiliation by ignoring them right?
Far be it from me to know how the minds of our superiors really work.

3/11/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Although his wife may be in limbo,
I'd bet my life she feels like Hell.

3/11/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

The difference here, as opposed to a dalliance or affair (which I could buy as a private affair) is that prostitution is illegal. It seems that the Governor of NY broke the law, and if he doesn't resign will probably be prosecuted.

3/11/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

one of the difficulties in this world is understanding that there are a collection of temtations/sins that inhere to failure. And an entirely different set of temptations/sins that inhere to success.

3/11/2008 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Please let us not think Spitzer will be prosecuted. THAT is for PEONS. Not important elected officials of his class and breeding (he's the son of a billionaire).

He will go on, and serve as Governor. He *might* be charged with a misdemeanor, and plead community service which he will likely never serve.

WHY would he resign? Or be impeached? He rules, others serve.

3/11/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Word is now that Spitzer may have spent as much as $80K for "escort services."

And also, Spitzer is a Democratic Party Superdelegate - currently pledged to Hillary Clinton. Does he lose that power if he resigns?

No word yet on who the hookers voted for. But with that kind of income they may well be Republicans.

3/11/2008 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

He should have said, "I did not have sex with that prostitute, Mistress Kevin, not one time. We shared a pizza and watched Old Yeller. We both cried at the end. He, I mean she, offered me a marijuana cigarette but I did not inhale. Then I convinced him -- her! -- to go to law school and stop being a whore."

Then Madelaine Albright could come out and say she believes him. After all, everyone lies about not having sex. The NYT could grant him victim status. Missed his chance, in my opinion..

3/11/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Eliot Spitzer offered me $500 for a blowjob in a Bronx porta potty. I accepted.

Mitch Haase

3/11/2008 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

I hope Spitzer does not resign. He makes such a good Pinata.

The Churchill speech with the ner give in line is part of John McCains new web commercial: Man In the Arena.

Go watch it. It is well done and inspirational.

3/11/2008 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Spitzer is mad-keen to cling to power at all costs: he's an arrogant bully, and always has been. He doesn't need the money, being worth some $500 million himself. He wants that power.

But in the streets of New York, even the Dems are saying "get the bum outta there." NY1 interviewed a lot of folks in the street, and the reporter seemed stunned that, out of some two dozen people he buttonholed on the Upper East Side, only two gave (qualified) support to Spitzer. Spitzer had better wake up and smell the socks.

3/11/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

Sir Churchill was right to "Nevah Give In", for reasons of honor.

Spitzer should withdrawl, for reason of good sense, I fear there is little honor to be found in Albany tonight.

3/11/2008 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

But Spitzer has assigned himself a value and it zero.

More like a negative integer, actually....soon to be a real imaginary number....

Because it's more than the hypocrisy, and it's more than the lying: follow the money, and keep in mind that the IRS always gets its man.

Or nearly always. And this case is a particularly juicy one.

But as far as Spitzer channeling Churchill goes, is it not likely that, with Alan Dershowitz at his side, he will ultimately proclaim:

...We shall fight in Albany and New York City, and all the hamlets and burgs of this great State,
we shall fight on the great lakes and mighty rivers,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in our stretch limousines and virtuous intentions, we shall defend our name, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight in the courts,
we shall fight in the newspapers,
we shall fight in the alleyways and in the streets,
we shall fight in the legislature;
we shall never surrender!

(On the other hand, Spitzer ought to be careful. This paranormal business is always a bit tricky, and he might actually end up channeling the wrong Churchill....)

3/12/2008 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

If one were given to conspiracy theories and the primacy of back-room deals you might suggest that the NY Democrats realized that they have really screwed the pooch relative to retaining the black vote by their support of Hillary – and thus came up with a way to ensure that a white governor in their state was replaced by a black one well before the November election….

Just a thought…

And it has as least as much credibility as did Hillary Clinton’s “It’s all a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy!” explanation for Monicagate.

3/12/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

A Twofer, RWE:
A Blind Black Man!

3/12/2008 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Actually, Spitzer could have got off scot-free if he could have secured his wife’s cooperation for his explanation.

He could have just said that all those hookers were procured for his WIFE - and then no one would have said a peep.

In fact he would have been lauded for it by some.

3/12/2008 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Captain USpace said...

Spitzer's garbage and a megalomaniac, he's been bad news for years. It's amazing that he got over 65% of the vote for Governor.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe loves
abusive prosecutors

wasting money on weak cases
then blackmailing defendants

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
sabotage your career

give America a gift
leave politics forever

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never believe in karma

what goes around never comes
back around to bite your butt





3/13/2008 08:12:00 PM  

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