Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On scandal

I assume everyone has heard about Eliot Spitzer by now. If not, he is the Governor of New York who rose to prominence as Attorney General by being a very effective fighter against corruption in areas that the government had always had a hard time reaching...mostly financial markets. He won big precedent setting admissions of guilt from mutual fund market timers, brokerages with tainted research and insurance brokers getting kickbacks from underwriters. His m.o. was not to fight every battle, but to fight the highest profile one and let the repercussions teach everyone else a lesson. And for the most part, he was very effective in that role.

He also, as has been noted today, broke up some prostitution rings along the way. He took the fame he won by battling some of the most unpopular people alive and turned it into a landslide victory for Governor and a clear spot as one of the Democratic party's future stars. He was absolutely considered someone who would run for President some day.

In addition, he is an heir to a massive family fortune and has a lovely wife and three beautiful kids. So why, we are all left to wonder, was he paying $5000 to transport a hooker across state lines to keep him company? (For my foreign readers...most crimes become much more serious when they go across state lines, and this is one of them...it goes from soliciting a prostitute to something closer to "human trafficking", not to mention all of the Federal Wire crimes for moving the money. Anywho.)

Personally, I think it is arrogance. And, given his personal reputation as being one of the most pompous asses to ever live, that seems to fit. I think there is just a part of him that wants to feel like, not only can he take down the most powerful people in the country, but that he is even more important than they are, because he can get away with these things. How else to explain the fact that he used his personal bank account, transferred money electronically, used his own cell phone and expensed the travel as part of his regular duties? Remember, he once made a really smug statement about the things criminals should not do if they don't want to get caught, and he openly did many of those very things.

Growing out of the arrogance is just a complete self-absorption that shows up in dragging his wife onto the stage with him for his press conference. Seriously, why do politicians do this? Who told them it makes them look good to have their family behind them? It doesn't...it makes him look like even more of an asshole. What, it wasn't bad enough that you have broken every promise that you should have made to her and your kids, but now you want to humiliate her by making her stand there and look like the fool you just made her for? I don't understand why he would want her there, and I don't understand why she would want to be there (unless she is simply waiting for her attorneys to iron out how this affects the pre-nup...)

I actually had a really nice post about family and some related things planned for today, which maybe I will write tomorrow...but this was top-of-mind, so it got my blog-tention. Not really a story that affects anyone dramatically, but it seems to be a growing pattern amongst our elected officials, and I can't believe that this will be the last case.

On a totally unrelated note...the Catholic Church added seven new sins yesterday. It took them like 1,500 years, but they have updated their list. So now...drug use and genetic manipulation are out. However, sexually molesting little boys still seems to be a-ok, which works out pretty well for much of the clergy...

5 comments:

anne said...

I think that is exactly it. Bill Clinton was once asked why he did it - and he said it was because he didn't think he would get caught.

Ys said...

because men like that think with their dicks, especially ones in high power ;)

the 7 new deadly sins list really made me laugh. i can't work out if it's the media hyping up something that was nothing big or if it was seriously thought out. oh dear, dear.

brandy said...

Yep, I agree. It sounds like this guy had a lot of bad karma stored up (it's one thing to fight against corruption- it's another to take as much pleasure as he did in some of the things he did), and got what he needed.

I'm always curious about the wife though. What's going on there? I'm not sure I would have what it would take to stand by my man in such a scenario...

AaroN said...

zing!

Are You Willing to Change? said...

I agree with your comments, and I have to say that I think that many men in politics and high powered men do this type of thing and many as Bill Clinton said just don't get caught. I think that they start something like this under the assumption that they won't ever get caught and then they do, and they have to overcome their fall.