Sometimes in the States, you get into a new motel room, switch on the TV, and hear some bollocks about a high class ho-ker network implicating a popular anti-corruption governor, thinking “gee Law and Order has really lost it” before realising you’re tuned to CNN.

Thus it is that Eliot Spitzer, Democratic governor of New York State, who has made stamping out corruption, especially prostit-tion, a mast he nailed his colours to, has been caught going deep undercover in his pursuit of vice.

Your kid could write the rest. Busted was an international high class hook-r service called Club Emperor VIP, offering ladies at $1,000-$5,000 an hour. Because it worked across state lines, it was the subject of a federal wiretap, which turned up a conversation between the Club and a client known as Number Nine, who earnestly discussed rates for “Kristen” before arranging a date and the agency – as one commentator gleefully noted – put Kristen on the cheap train to town.

Number Nine was of course the governor, though he didn’t use his own name – in a touch of real class, he called himself “George Fox”, the name of a prominent Democrat fundraiser and friend until yesterday.

Much of the scandal has centred on the fact that Spitzer not only had an account with the agency, but was particularly enamoured with Kristen.

With any brouhaha of this sort – Spitzer rose to prominence heading an anti-racketeering team, whose whole stock-in-trade was wiretaps – you have to wonder what the hell they were thinking. All the networks called the sting “ironic”, but it doesn’t even meet the minimal Morrisette standards of irony. It’s simply a result of the regular separation politicians have to make between the private and public self. Governor Spitzer is simply another bloke walking around, of distant relation to Elliott, approaching fifty in a hotel room, waiting for a hook-r he’s fallen in love with.

With Spitzer expected to announce his resignation within hours, the attention inevitably turns to the junior senator from New York state, Hillary Clinton, who has received Spitzer’s blessing. Photos of Hillary with him, shaking hands etc are hardly fatal – there’s already one or two pics of her with a world-standard gormless shagger. But it ain’t gonna help. And only a fraction of the transcripts have been released. What else is lurking there that would portray the New York Democrats as a nest of old-skool machine politicians? Will this help blunt the problems Obama is having with his Rezko slum-lord association? Or simply hurt the Democrats overall?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey