Let us take a break from the gruelling campaign trail for a moment to wade down into the muck, sleaze and scandal surrounding disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, aka Client 9. It’s fun.
Or at least Wall Street thinks so. Spitzer made a lot of enemies in his time as a prosecutor who took it upon himself to root out corruption. As Slate puts it this morning, “there’s a bull market in schadenfreude on Wall Street this afternoon. Even as the Dow was on its way to notching another triple-digit loss, whoops of joy erupted from the dispirited trading floors today on news of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s disgrace” as news hit that Spitzer had been connected to a prostit-tion ring. Connected, in that he employed its services.
The Governor, flanked by his glassy eyed and deepy humiliated wife called a press conference to confirm the New York Times scoop, but did not offer his resignation. (Oh, and Obama just won Mississippi.)
The height of hypocrisy: What’s wrong with Eliot Spitzer is not so much that he praised good things and did bad ones. Most of the items he championed in his various moral campaigns were, when you looked behind the rhetoric, of dubious value. Really, he was a power-hungry, regulation-crazed functionary whose chief sin was to harness the power of the state to destroy his enemies and aggrandize himself. Had he been a little more hypocritical he might have been less dangerous. — Roger Kimball, RealClearPolitics
Will this damage the Dems?: As Spitzer twists in the wind — and the media covers every jot and tittle of the story — Democrats could experience a short-term brand problem as voters recoil in disgust. The more likely atmospheric impact is “a pox on both your houses” attitude from voters, as the electorate grows more and more frustrated with the actions of their elected officials. — The Fix, The Washington Post
What was he thinking? Only someone with a huge screw loose could do business with a prostitution ring, as Spitzer reportedly did, while relentlessly posturing as a holier-than-thou politician. Here was a guy who had it all – a high public office, a wealthy lifestyle, a lovely family. Not that long ago, people were saying he might be the first Jewish President. And he threw all that away by allegedly spending a night in a Washington hotel room with a high-priced call girl. So we can add self-destructive tendencies to the long list of personality flaws that have gradually crippled – and now, it would seem, destroyed – his political career. — Bill Hammond, New York Daily News
On standing by your man: In defense of the political wives who go to the press conference, smile forced smiles, and say nothing: Speaking (ahem) as a political wife myself, I can see one clear advantage to this option: It’s all over quickly. And no one asks you for a follow-up interview. You appear once—and then you vanish forever, along with your husband’s career. — The XX Factor, Slate
That ain’t cheap: Right off the top, though, you’ve got to wonder, for example, about a business where the posted price for the service runs up to $5,500 an hour. Who’s monitoring this industry? Are there no competition laws, no regulators pushing for a “say on pay” rule against prostit-tes, no attorneys general making sure prices are fair and equitable? No justice anti-trust probe? Is disclosure adequate? — Terence Corcoran, The National Post
A study in stupid: Of course, hiring a hooker isn’t evil-doing. It’s not like some suit stealing millions of dollars from the treasury or by lying to stock markets. In his favor is that the news cycle is accelerated and Spitzer already has this mostly behind him just by holding the press conference. All that’s left will be an expensive divorce — or else an elected seat for his wife to run for somewhere in New York — then the requisite “rehab” stint with either a shrink or a cleric. – Diance Francis, Financial Post
He might’ve got away with it: Politically, Spitzer might have survived a s-x scandal among consenting adults with no cash changing hands, especially if his wife, Silda, stood by his side as she did during Monday afternoon’s 64-second press statement. But beginning in 1999, Spitzer made his reputation as a crusading state attorney general who was more zealous than the Securities and Exchange Commission in prosecuting Wall Street misdeeds. As a former law enforcement official who shut down at least two “s-x rings,” Spitzer was guilty of the sin of hypocrisy by apparently patronizing prostit-tes. –Walter Shapiro, Salon