Monday, March 10, 2008

Tough on Spitzer

It would seem New York Governor Eliot Spitzer loves the high-priced whores as much as Senator David Vitter loves the cheap ones, and quite possibly as much as Senator Larry Craig enjoys meeting new friends in adjoining stalls:

Spitzer, a Democrat ... was nicknamed "Eliot Ness" by the New York tabloids in reference to the incorruptible hero of "The Untouchables." He was known for rooting out corruption within Wall Street and on the streets.

He made several high-profile prosecutions of Wall Street figures, extracting billions of dollars in fines from investment banks, mutual funds and brokerage houses.

He also made a name for himself by busting prostitution rings.
They had me at "busting prostitution rings." Eliot Spitzer, of all people, understands the laws concerning prostitution, and he knows what he did. He doesn't need a trial to settle guilt or innocence. He needs to check in at the courthouse tomorrow morning, plead guilty, and recommend the legal penalties he sought to impose on others for comparable deeds.

I've said before I don't think prostitution should be a crime. But it is a crime in every jurisdiction in the USA apart from a few counties in Nevada, and Eliot Spitzer appears to be just another politically-motivated prosecutor who built a "tough on crime" persona in part by expending his prosecutorial discretion on prostitution. It worked! The voters of New York found him to be adequately "tough on crime." Now it's time for him to be tough on his own crime.

After he completes his lawful sentence -- which may or may not involve losing his office and losing his law license, I honestly don't know how these things usually go -- he will have plenty of time to re-think whether prostitution-related offenses should be using up jail space and occupying the courts.

Update: Maybe there are valid questions about this case. Maybe. In the press conference, he admitted to being a John. If that's not what he was talking about, this has been the most crazily misunderstood press conference ever.


Laura said...
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Laura said...

I was gonna go on about how I think prostitution should be regulated, and how I'm not sure how to think about sexual prostitution versus other forms of prostitution; but for now I'll just say I think they're getting their panties in a bunch over nothing. There's probably more going on behind the scenes that we're not hearing about.

Dale said...

Fair enough, Laura. I agree there is likely to be more than immediately meets the eye to this story. Time will tell.

It's sad. I think a lot of people were looking at Spitzer as a "rising star" in the Democratic party even though he was having trouble as governor of NY.

He was a moral crusader, and moral crusaders invite a higher standard. Obviously he fell well short of that. Again, prostitution is not a big deal in my book, and I wish we'd "get over it" collectively one way or another, but hypocrisy is a big deal. And for those who care about prostitution, he's damaged on both counts.

Laura said...

In my very limited experience, moral crusaders are just that because, behind close doors, they're depraved cowards looking to exorcise their own demons. But, I guess, live by the sword, die by the sword.

I don't see why his wife should stand behind him unless she has political aspirations of her own and needs to keep up appearances. How does one go about salvaging the loss of trust and abrogate the humiliation?