The AP reports: A poll released late Tuesday found that 70 percent of New Yorkers think Spitzer should resign, while 66 percent believe he should be impeached and removed from office if he doesn’t. (source)
That seems to be an awfully harsh indictment from the state that roots for the New York Yankees – a moral crime that is far worse than banging some hooker.
But seriously, I have conspicuously remained silent about the Client 9 issue, because I make no value judgments about people who decide to be prostitutes or patronize prostitutes. Everyone should have the freedom to do both.
I do, however, delight in feelings of schadenfreude for politicians and public figures who embark on moral crusades, and then are destroyed when it is revealed that they are just as sinful as their targets. I never had a problem with Bill Clinton’s philandering because he never seemed to have a political axe to grind with anyone else’s sexual conduct. Smoke up, Billy!
I have not been a student of Eliot Spitzer’s career. I only knew him as a public servant who tirelessly pursued corporate corruption — and I was grateful to him for that.
Perhaps I am the last one to know, but it appears that Spitzer was an anti-prostitution crusader himself. The New York Times reports:
As New York’s attorney general, Eliot Spitzer had broken up prostitution rings before, but this 2004 case took on a special urgency for him. Prosecuting an international sex tourism business based in Queens, he listened to the entreaties of women’s advocates long frustrated by state laws that fell short of dealing with a sex trade expanding rapidly across borders.
And with his typical zeal, he embraced their push for new legislation, including a novel idea at its heart: Go after the men who seek out prostitutes.
It was a question of supply and demand, they all agreed. And one effective way to suppress the demand was to raise the penalties for patronizing a prostitute. In his first months as governor last year, Mr. Spitzer signed the bill into law.
Now the human rights groups, which credit him with what they call the toughest and most comprehensive anti-sex-trade law in the nation, are in shock. Mr. Spitzer stands accused of being one of the very men his law was designed to catch and punish. (source)
He even went so far as to go after New York businesses that sold “sex tourism” travel packages to Thailand and the Philippines, despite the fact that no crimes took place on American soil, let alone in New York.
And now we come to find that Mr. Spitzer was “Client 9.”
This news has forced me to change camps.
I don’t care if a public official or public figure (or anyone else) does in the privacy of their own home, hotel room, or wherever. If I have learned one thing, it is that those who you least expect it from are probably the freakiest in the crowd. I almost prefer my politicians to have a rough edge to them.
But when a politician pushes a morality based agenda that, if applied fairly, would ensnare him too — I spit on him.
For the good Spitzer has done for us all throughout his distinguished career, I thank him. But, I now (belatedly) join the chorus calling for his resignation.