Theres more than a few ways to take the news that Democratic Governor Spitzer was a client of a prostitution ring. My immediate reaction was one of disgust with his stupidity, much along August’s lines:
Jesus tap-dancing Christ, are you stupid. Are you really that stupid? Oh my holy titfucking Jesus, you are actually that goddamn stupid. You absolute dick. You complete and total stupid bastard. I mean, good god. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. You are so fucking stupid.
Listen to me. No, look at- I said fucking look at me. Look. At. Me. You. Stupid. Cocknugget. What the fuck were you thinking? Do you have any idea how fucking stupid you are? I just- fuck you, stop looking at me. Goddamn it. You fucking idiot. Holy shit, you are stupid. You are so fucking stupid. You stupid asshole.
For Lindsay’s reasons (emphasis mine):
The fact is, Spitzer is intimately familiar with wiretaps and he has more enemies in the banking industry than any man alive. He should have known better.
It’s a cliche to criticize a politician’s judgement when you’re mad at him but you can’t summon sufficient moral outrage about his behavior. But this time it’s entirely appropriate to raise questions about Spitzer’s fitness to lead on the basis of his colossal hubris.
Regardless of what you think of the morality of paying for sex, and irrespective of whatever understanding Mr. and Mrs. Spitzer might have had… Eliot Spitzer was a self-indulgent fool to think that he could arrange for sex over the telephone and move his money around to cover it! (…in an election year, as the Dems were poised to take back the State Senate, on the heels of the State police intel scandal…)
Spitzer displayed a Nixonian level of hubris. If he thinks the rules don’t apply to him, he shouldn’t be in power.
What I wasn’t thinking, was this (Ezra via Linsday, emphasis mine):
This is sort of the boring take on Spitzer, but what we’re seeing here is not the fall — if indeed he does fall — of a high-flying governor. It’s the final tumble of a crushed reformer. Spitzer, for reasons both structural and personal, has been utterly humbled by Albany. The new capitalism he promised, the age of transparency he spoke of, the national ambitions he harbored — all have broken before the obstacles he faced in the governor’s mansion. When you think of the hype he was getting only a couple years ago, that’s a rather remarkable fact. I don’t care about the prostitution. But the capacity of the system to stand against those who would reform it, and who come into office with a broad mandate to do so, is really quite sobering.
What gets me isn’t the dead on accuracy of Ezra’s words (nor their ironic humility, for his observation is anything but boring). No, what gets me is why whenever the head of a movement falls the desires of the people who put that leader into power are ignored. Spitzer’s calls for transparency and corporate responsibility enjoy wide-spread support among the people, in particular in New York. Yet now that he’s been arrested, the people’s will magically becomes ignorable.
Lindsay is right. A man who thinks he is above the law has no business being in office, he belongs in jail (cough: Bush). But something is terribly wrong with our system when the only way to effect change is to elect a human being into office, and we suddenly are forced to forfeit that change as soon as they slip up. That goes directly against the core principles of what government should be.