Home / Eliot Spitzer: Irresistible Stupidity, Immoveable Standards

Eliot Spitzer: Irresistible Stupidity, Immoveable Standards

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New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who rose to power on his reputation as a crusader against white collar crime and lax ethics, has been implicated as a client of a high-end prostitution ring. My reaction? Here we go again.

One more time, a man in high political office is caught with his pants down. One more time, we cluck-cluck about how unforgivably stupid he was to behave in this way knowing – as on some level he must have – that his chances of being caught were high. And one more time we note the strange, lopsided standards that hold sway in the US, and how often the context of bad behavior – the fact of it – is worse than the bad behavior itself.

Of course Spitzer should have known better. Politicians have to be aware of the need for impeccable personal behavior, both legally and morally. Their careers depend on it more than most people's. That's because the American press, and a portion of the populace, demand that politicians be as pure as clergymen. (Okay, maybe not clergymen – bad example.)

Yet time and again, the politicians fail. Perhaps with power comes a false sense of invulnerability, but I'll leave the psychology to the psychologists; my point is that every time this happens, we talk about our foolish standards for politicians, about how their personal lives shouldn't suffer such scrutiny or bear so heavily on how well we judge their job performance – yet nothing ever changes.

To make a somewhat extreme analogy, do you actually know anyone who thinks marijuana should be flat-out illegal in every circumstance? I'd wager most of us know very few, if any, such people. Yet politicians continue to believe that that's what their constituents want. There may be some areas, some constituencies, that back the federal government's zero tolerance policy for marijuana even for medical use, but it's not most of the country. Yet nothing changes.

Nothing changes for politicians and their sexual peccadilloes, either. Of course, some get away with their shenanigans, even when caught, but that's when circumstances are murky, or so tawdry that most of us would rather not even think about them.

As of this moment, Spitzer's not saying whether he'll resign, but he may well have to. Given his law-and-order reputation, it seems doubtful that his political career can survive. And then the weirdness of our standards will drop out of public discourse. We'll go on as we have been, holding politicians to impossibly high standards, and sometimes thereby losing the services, or the effectiveness, of some of the most talented and useful ones we have.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
  • Spitzer has to go. I don’t need nor expect politicians to remain monogamous, and don’t care what happens in the personal lives of consenting adults, but being involved with an illegal prostitution ring opens the politician up to potential blackmail and all types of shenanigans. The people of NY are lucky the FBI found him first.

    Asking our public servants to put their job and the people’s trust ahead of their own desires doesn’t seem like a potentially high standard. He shouldn’t have pursued and accepted the job if it was more than he could handle.

  • Correction : Asking our public servants to put their job and the people’s trust ahead of their own desires doesn’t seem like a[n impossibly] high standard.

  • Bennett

    Personally, I want my politicos well fucked. I want them to be relaxed, and able to focus on getting on with their job of running whatever they have to run.

    I don’t want them sexually frustrated and unless they break the law in doing so (as in this case), I don’t give a rats ass how they get their rocks off.

    It’s none of my, or anybody else’s business.

  • I agree with you, El Bicho, Spitzer should go. But it’s because he was stupid, and because of the implications and likely effects of that stupidity. And fundamentally, and in general – still not knowing the exact circumstances of this case, of course – it’s sexual Puritanism that makes opportunities for people to be so stupid.

  • Pablo

    Nice article Jon,

    I too have no sympathy for politicians that get caught with their pants down. That being said if prostitution was not a crime, and being the world’s oldest profession it is never going to disappear (thank god), he would not have to give up his job as I believe he will, perhaps without his wife.

    As to your reference of marijuana, (of which I am a lover of and not for medical purposes, strictly recreational)mimho the reason that it is not legal has nothing to do with the will of the people, and what they want. The politicians in Washington, and most state legislatures gave up serving their respective constituencies years ago. Frankly the work for vested corporate interests, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, which loathes pot for obvious reasons. I have commented on numerous posts as well as written an article on why I think that the voting system in this country is rigged from the ground up.

  • Bennett

    Jon, I should have mentioned in my comment that I enjoyed reading this. Please keep up the good work.


  • Thanks Bennett, and I agree with you that politicians who have satisfying personal lives are probably better for us as a rule. How many of us secretly (or not so secretly) thought, when the Monica Lewinsky thing happened, “Well, he shouldn’t be cheating on his wife, but at least we have a President who isn’t an uptight robot – he actually has a sex life.”

  • Clavos

    I’m curious, Jon, as to why you omitted Spitzer’s political affiliation in your otherwise fine story?

    Interestingly, many in the MSM (including ABC, NBC, and the AP) have done the same.

    Equally interestingly, I can’t remember a single story omitting Mark Foley’s political affiliation when that story broke…

  • Clavos, it didn’t even occur to me that his political affiliation was relevant. Also, probably because I live in New York, I didn’t think about people who don’t live here and wouldn’t necessarily know Spitzer’s party.

    But you raise a good point. The Republicans have been the sex-scandal party lately, and the press certainly points it out with relish. That’s because the press loves to point out hypocrisy, and it’s the Republicans who typically campaign on “family values.”

  • Clavos

    Thanks, Jon. I take your point.

    I only mentioned it because usually, when a politician is mentioned in print, his/her affiliation is appended onto their name, so it’s remarkable that it’s omitted in so many of the stories.

    In any case, Mr. Spitzer certainly seems to have joined the ranks of the “hypocrisy challenged.”

    I would imagine there’s a lot of celebrating taking place on Wall St…

  • His real crime, is that he didn’t shop around for a better price.

    He got scre….



  • This guy was angling for the prez job one day. Guess that’s not a career option anymore.

  • Isn’t it ironic that only this morning – I think it was about 27 seconds before the story broke – someone on these threads was seriously floating Spitzer’s name as a possible running mate for Hillary.

    Well – he certainly got himself noticed!

  • Baronius

    I’m sure not complaining about the “strange, lopsided standards” in America. The problem isn’t with our standards, it’s with the people who fail to live up to them. Do you really think that not transporting an individual across state lines for the purpose of prostitution is an impossble standard? I’d guess that most of us live up to that standard every day. (Most of us also don’t smoke marijuana.)

    I want to say that even if we don’t agree with the laws against prostitution, we should expect politicians to obey them. But you know what, that’s crazy. Prostitution is wrong. It should be illegal. Spitzer should be ashamed, and he should be prosecuted.

  • Prostitution is not wrong. What’s wrong is the exploitation that goes with it because it’s illegal. What’s wrong is someone like Spitzer who prosecuted many a prostitute and many a John hypocritically supporting laws against prostitution while being one of those who helps to exploit women in prostitution who are indeed exploited no matter how much they charge, so long as it remains illegal.

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see Spitzer turn around and argue for the legalization of prostitution in the aftermath of this. But keep hoping – it will never happen.


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I dunno….

    Spitzer is supposed to have been a smart Jewish lawyer. According to his bio at the state of New York, he was not religious and did not have a bar mitzva.

    If he had ever recited “Shma Yisrael” and the associated lines from the Torah, he would have come across this from b’Midbar/Numbers 15:37-41.

    And Hashem said to Moses saying: “Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them that the are to make themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations….And it shall constitute fringes for you that you may see it and remember the commandments of Hashem and do them; AND NOT CHASE AFTER WHAT YOU DESIRE IN YOUR HEART AND LUST AFTER WITH YOUR EYES.”….

    This is recited twice daily.

    The fringes, called tzitzít in Hebrew, function as a string around one’s finger, reminding one of his obligations to G-d.

    I’m not saying that all religious Jews are moral saints. Far from it! But of the “religious” Jew who cheats, steals, lies and abuses G-d’s laws in other ways, one need only point at the tzitzít as condemnation saying, “you should know better, dummy!” If the fool tries to brazen it out after that (and there are many who do), he only digs himself into a bigger hole of dishonor.

    Spitzer, the smart Jewish lawyer from Riverdale, had nothing to remind him not to follow what his eyes lusted after. So he arranged for an hour with a high priced whore and boy, is he paying now….

    Whether he quits or not doesn’t matter. His career prospects are severely damaged. And his wife, smelling blood, might decide to charge him $5,000 per hour in the sack retroactively.

    Let’s hope for Spitzer’s sake that he has indeed learnt his lesson, and that the woman he married does not turn vicious on him.

  • Pablo

    Very well said Dave.

    Baronius prostitution is wrong? You see thats what i love about you conservatives who when push comes to shove are as hypocritical as they come. All the talk about freedom, and the rights of the individual, is all meaningless crap outta your movement Baronius. Last time I checked a person’s body belongs to him or her, and what they do with it, excluding violating another human beings rights is their own damned business. One could very easily argue that marriage itself frequently is an act of prostitution, particularly when the girl marries the guy for dough, and the guy marries the girl for her sweet pussy, dont you think Baronius? I certainly do.
    You also mentioned Bill Bennett as on of your heroes, I cannot recall a bigger slimeball hypocrite than him. From his days as the drug czar when he began to see that everyone not just drivers and pilots have to submit to random urinalysis to prove to the state that their blood was pure enough, to his compulsive gambling and losing 6 million bucks. I will dance on that fuckers grave when he kicks the bucket, you can rest assured. Conservative? I call it fascism Baronius, Bill Bennett my ass.

  • Clavos

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch…

  • Maurice

    Contrast Barney Frank with Larry Craig. They both like to get a blow job from a guy. For one of them it is career ending; the other it is career enhancing. I think politicians can represent whatever walk of life they want to as long as they are consistent in their views and actions.

    One thing I have to point out. Most of our politicians (including Sptizer) are lawyers. Does anyone have high hopes of high standards for these jerks? Their approval rating is lower than Bush’s for a reason….

  • The Obnoxious American

    I’m jewish, not religious, I think it’s a sin to have sex with a prostitute when you are married. Not only disrespectful to the wife, but you could give her a disease god forbid. That said, I think prostitution should be legalized and regulated, like in Vegas. It can be done, and it would be a better alternative to the slavery that exists today in the sex trade. Plus, we could tax it!

    In terms of spitzer, I want to relate my personal spitzer story.

    I was a dot commer, I amassed a large amount of stock options during my work in those days. Enough to conceivably strike out on my own and be independent. Then the bubble burst. There were stocks that were recommended to me, stocks that shouldn’t have been recommended. Thanks to the magic of the AMT, and my own lack of experience trading, I lost virtually everything. I licked my wounds, I picked myself up and started over again. I was sad at the lost opportunity.

    I read about Spitzers suit against the brokerage houses. He collected 1.3 billion dollars as part of a deal for some of the trading shenanigans that were going on. Great I though, perhaps I could get something back. No such luck, upon deeper inspection of the numbers, most of that money went straight to the state coffers. But I was one of the guys who lost money. It turns out only a small portion of that 1.3 bill was returned to investors, 90% went to the government.

    That’s not justice, that’s called a payout. From that day forward, I saw Spitzer for what he was. I would have been fine just losing in the market, it happens. But this so called fighter for the people, celebrated in the media for taking down goliath was really working for us, wouldn’t I see something? A penny? A couple of stamps? I didn’t even get that much.

  • JustOneMan


    So if “Republicans who typically campaign on “family values.” They are therefor vilafied by the MSM for having sex and/or being gay…

    The “Dumbocrats who tyoically campaign on undermining family values get a pass??

    And in my opinion the reason you left out Spitzers politcal affilation is because you and he are both DUMBOCRATS!


  • Dumbocrats… Dumbo… heh, that’s funny. The elephant is a GOP symbol, isn’t it? Anyway, enough silliness… if #21 is a typical JOM comment, I say let JOM say what he wants – it just reflects badly on you, JOM, if all you can come up with is “I know you are, but what am I?”

  • The Obnoxious American

    JOM’s comments aside, this is a clear case of partisan reporting. Not by the author of this piece, he may be a democrat, but this piece isn’t overly partisan.

    It’s not just family values situations, it’s any case where any transgression by our elected leaders occurs. Did everyone know that that case of the congressman stuffing money in his freezer was a Democrat? It wasn’t as clear as Mark Foley being a republican, that’s for sure. You can always expect to see the R after the name if they are republican, and nothing if they are a democrat.

  • Maurice, #19: Well said, especially your first paragraph.

    Jon, #22: Unfortunately that comment is all too typical of JOM. Just try to pin him down on exactly what he means by ‘Democrats working to undermine family values’ and see what happens.


  • The Obnoxious American

    I can see why some would suggest dems are anti family values. Support for gay marriage is a prime example, IF you happen to believe that gays can’t ever have a real family. I know too many gay people. A monogomous gay couple is about as boring as a hetero couple. No reason why they can’t be even more boring as a married gay couple in my opinion.

    I think the dems real offense against family values is the socialism stuff. Hard to have good family values when everyone is standing on line for toilet paper and potatos. In fact it’s the Dems’ socialist stances that are an offense on everything in my opinion. And if you think I am being facetious, just take one look at the CEO pay rhetoric by both dem candidates, or the gap between rich and poor rhetoric. I won’t fall in line comrade.

  • Obnox, I highly doubt whether JOM’s thinking is that sophisticated. He just parrots the talking points he gets from Fox News or the right-wing blogs.

    I realize it’s hard for Americans, particularly right-leaning Americans, to get their heads around this, but Clinton and Obama are not socialists and neither are their policies. I’ve lived under a wannabe socialist government (Britain, Wilson/Callaghan, 1974-79) and I assure you that nothing the two Democratic candidates want to do even approaches that.

    There aren’t going to be any bread lines in America any time soon. Enough with the tired old slippery slope arguments already.

    The fine speeches are populist rhetoric – not socialism.

  • REMF

    “I think the dems real offense against family values is the socialism stuff.”
    – Obnoxious American

    And I think the repubs real offense against family values is their sanctimonious hypocrisy, ie preaching about morals and doing the opposite:

    **Rush Limbaugh…3 divorces, busted for black market narcotics;
    **Newt Gingrich…adultery;
    **Bill Bennett…gambling addiction

  • JustOneMan

    Yes like Clintons “dont ask dont tell” hypocrisy..and Drege I have caught you and others in here copying right off of Huffington Posts as well as other left wing site…and I dont watch fox or listen to “Banality and Combs”

    JOM “Keeping these guys honest”

  • The Obnoxious American


    Thanks for contributing nothing to the discussion as usual. I don’t defend their actions, and it’s hardly an indictment of the GOP views, just like Spitzer’s transgressions are not an indictment of Dem views.


    I wasn’t being dramatic. I think the class warfare that the two dems are engaging in results in a breadline end game. Healthcare, which represents 16% of our GDP, if taken over by the government, would cause massive reverberations in our economy. How many fewer doctors would go through med school and residency? How many fewer drugs would be invented? How many jobs would be lost? How much would the result impact the economic cycle? And when 16% of our GDP is turned into a government program, what are the impacts to the larger economy? And at what point do those impacts (bad impacts) result in even more governmentalization of other services as well (housing, food).

    For the US, government healthcare would represent the first time we are dependent on Government for something we all require, and require often in some cases. It’s the start of a trend of being dependent on government, a dependency that doesn’t really exist toay. This isn’t some insane doomsday scenario, it’s plausible, and even likely.

  • For the US, government healthcare would represent the first time we are dependent on Government for something we all require

    TOA, take a look at the actual proposed health plans from Clinton and Obama. It’s not socialized medicine, it’s government stepping in to steer and regulate a sector of the economy, and more importantly an urgently important sector of the human condition, that the present system is failing at terribly. It’s quite obviously a situation where the free market is failing.

    And it’s most definitely NOT the first time we’re dependent on Government for something we all require. How about national defense? How about getting the trash picked up? How about all the health and safety regulations the government already imposes?

  • The Obnoxious American

    National defense is not at all the same thing as being reliant on government for healthcare. The military is not an industry, nor should it be. The government of it’s people needs to be able to defend the country but that’s hardly the same as providing goods and services for it’s people.

    We all go through our lives dealing with the government when we pay a parking ticket or voting. Currently, unless we are on welfare, there isn’t a single need that we have from government, our main interaction happens on April 15th and the first week in November. HRC’s health care plan would change all of that – all of a sudden the government would play a big role in the care we receive.

    To suggest that insurance would still be a real industry when government is telling insurers that they have to cover everyone (Obama’s plan) is absurd. Insurance is a risk based calculation and once you take away the calculations, and regulate who must be covered, it can no longer be profitable. If you think a company will exist for any length of time without making a profit, you are dreaming. Same kind of things are true for hospitals, doctors, drug and device makers.

    I’ve never said that there aren’t problems with our existing medical system. I’ve documented many solutions for such many times in past writings. But the candidates plans for as you put it government steer and regulation, I would describe as control.

    The fact is that none of their plans would make healthcare any better. It wouldn’t make it cheaper. It wouldn’t necessarily make it more available (Dave Nalle’s recent article to wit). Why would so many people be willing to agree to this sham, and throw out an industry that albietly has warts, but has also helped to extend and improve the lives of generations of americans is beyond me.

  • The Obnoxious American

    and btw, many cities outsource their trash pickup. either way, it’s not a service provided federally. And if you want to talk about health and safety regulations, you’d only be helping my argument (trans fats ban to wit)

    I’m not saying healthcare or insurance is perfect, I deal with the vagaries of insurance all the time as I am sure most here do. But any government involvement needs to address these issues realistically, and in the private sector.

  • Drege I have caught you and others in here copying right off of Huffington Posts as well as other left wing site

    You’ve got a fucking nerve, JOM.

    To my recollection, I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than a few minutes at Huffington’s site in my entire life. I reference whatever is pertinent to the discussion, whether it’s from a left-wing site or the unabridged ravings of David fucking Duke. And I always link and/or credit my sources.

    On the other hand, I’ve called you out more than once for block-copying from others’ writings without citing them. It’s easy to spot. It’s when your comments suddenly start to string more than two words together articulately.

  • National defense is not at all the same thing as being reliant on government for healthcare. The military is not an industry, nor should it be. The government of it’s [sic] people needs to be able to defend the country but that’s hardly the same as providing goods and services for it’s [sic] people.

    Why is it so different? National defense is a service provided to the people. Why should the government provide it? Why not the free market? Oh, that’s right – because it’s REALLY IMPORTANT and can’t be left at the mercy of the free market. Health care is obviously a lot less important, at least on the right wing of the political spectrum.

    You say the military is not an industry, nor should it be. So, why should health care be an industry, but the military not?

    I’m not arguing for 100% socialized medicine – I still believe there may be a way to preserve the good aspects of our private health care system while fixing the bad. But obviously it’s going to take some sort of government action to fix the broken system. And you seem to see it as being less broken than I think it is? Saying mildly that it has “warts” betrays a blindness to the disastrous condition of our health care system.

  • Obnox, extrapolating from some of your points it’s hard to see where government has any sort of role at all in your ideal society.

    According to the founders, government indeed should not provide national defense – it was responsible for raising a militia when needed but not for maintaining a standing army. That, of course, is not realistic in this day and age, but one could say the same about this laissez-faire attitude towards healthcare.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Do you work in an office? Can you imagine your office workers routinely giving their lives in order to get the project done? How about if you work at a McDonalds?

    The government’s charter, based on our constitution is to ensure that we have life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness. That means protecting our lives and liberties (military, police) and ensuring our right to pursue happiness (personal freedoms).

    Moreover, the military isn’t entirely government. The companies that the left loves to bash, who develop the weapons and equiptment for our military are private and they employ hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans in the effort of delivering these goods and services. These companies are usually chosen based on their competitiveness, or their ability to deliver something unique. Either way, their regulation is the specification of the work, and not much else. So even our military benefits greatly from the private sector, and vice versa.

    This does not translate well to medical care however. The reason is because medical care is a skilled service. Anyone can serve in the military, but not everyone can perform surgery (although some in the military can). You can’t take away what makes medicine profitable, and still expect the private sector to support it. You invariably wind up with the government needing to take over a larger and larger role.

    I hear many people say, well this will only effect those without healthcare. Since we get employer based healthcare, nothing changes for us. Not so. I’m sure we’ve all seen the cuts in our work environment in any possible way. My office won’t even pay for paper cups anymore by the water cooler. If the government offered a health care plan, my employer wouldn’t. It’s that simple.

  • The Obnoxious American

    My attitude is hardly laissez-faire and it’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Government should play a role, it should regulate. But let’s not pass socialism off as a form of regulation. The solutions to healthcare being offered by the candidates is not regulation, it’s a take over. I’ve written a variety of articles on this, so this is a bit of a remedial discussion for me. I’d advise anyone interested to read some of my past writings on this, especially The Obnoxious American Loves Hillary and The Official Obama Hit Piece. But you get a sense of some of the concerns I have given my comments above. The candidates are not offering a way forward that keeps anything about the existing system.

    The problems in healthcare can be resolved without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We should at least give them a shot before doing so.

  • I wasn’t suggesting your attitude, specifically, was, Obnox. I take more of an issue with your depiction of Democratic healthcare plans as ‘socialist’, which is a common refrain from many on this site and in America at large. There’s still a tendency in this country to see things through McCarthy-tinted glasses, to glimpse a Red under every bed.

    Everyone seems to agree that the healthcare system in the US is terminally fucked-up, but the Democrats are so far the only ones to have come up with any concrete plans to fix it. (I await McCain’s ideas with interest.) Now Obama’s and Clinton’s proposals are ambitious and understandably alarming to those who have an ideological problem with them. Nobody ever got much done by being unambitious. Both candidates know full well that not everything they propose will make it into law – not even close to everything, in fact. They’re going to have to negotiate, modify and compromise. But hopefully enough of a kernel of what’s best about their ideas will remain to make a significant and positive difference.

  • It’s funny how an article on New York’s Governor (excuse me, New York’s Democratic Governor) going to a prostitute has turned into a health care debate. I wish I had the time and the knowledge to delve into it more deeply – but the published summaries of the Clinton and Obama health plans are too vague to really defend or attack. The Democrats are at least trying to do something, though.

    McCain’s plan, which I’ve just been looking at, is almost as vague as the Democrats’ and equally all about having the government step in to force this, require that, and “encourage” the other thing.

    TOA, I forgot to mention Medicare and Medicaid. These are huge government health programs that are generally considered to be big success stories and they come straight out of the socialist-leaning point of view. If those can succeed, why not a similar set-up for the overall health care system?

    One more point – you mention a fear that your company would stop offering health coverage if the govt. provided an alternative. In the Clinton plan, there are tax credits for small businesses to encourage health coverage, and requirements for large companies, so that might be less of an issue than you are thinking, but assuming the worst case, so what? Isn’t that just the free market at work? Why does your company offer health coverage now – out of the goodness of its heart? No, it’s to attract and retain good and dedicated employees. In other words – the market. Why would that change?

  • Everyone seems to agree that the healthcare system in the US is terminally fucked-up

    Not so, Dr. D. TOA thinks it just has “warts.”

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    What I find really amusing about this whole comment thread is that nobody wants to talk about why any woman (except one’s wife) would be worth $5,000 an hour in the sack.

  • JustOneMan


    As the joke goes the sure way to stop a JAP (Jewish American Princess) from having sex is to marry them!


  • Pablo

    Good point Ruvy 3 grand is my top price!

  • Maurice

    As long as jokes are okay… here are some of my favorite H. L. Mencken quotes:

    Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn’t they’d be married too.

    Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

    A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

  • Cannonshop

    Presumably, the Governor felt he could get away with because he’s the friggin’ GOVERNOR.
    Now, what surprises me, is that Spitzer going to a hooker is NEWS. He is, after all, a Democrat, and hypicrisy like this is rather expected. I wonder what we’re not supposed to notice that’s happening elsewhere?

  • I would enjoy seeing him prosecuted to the full extent. Not because of political reasons or even legal reasons, I want him to go down because he made his wife stand next to him at that pathetic conference.
    Not only does the man commit a very selfish act by using hookers, he commits another even bigger selfish act by making his wife stand next to him to make him look good.
    He should pay for that.

  • I said I’d leave the psychology to the psychologists. Here, the Times gets some input from some of them.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Jon, when reading the NYT article you linked to, it was hard to tell the talking heads from the pecker-heads.

    And I have to confess, I haven’t enjoyed a news story like this for a long, long time….

    Reminds me of the Senate employee who talked about Jake Javits always taking a young lady with him – along with a bagel…

  • The Obnoxious American

    The proof is in the pudding.

    Spitzer takes a major political hit – DJIA up over 400 points for the day. That should tell you everything you need to know about what Spitzer for President would look like.

    And to Ruvy’s point, any woman who would charge for sex isn’t worth it. That said, you don’t pay a prostitute for sex, you are paying for them to leave afterwards.

  • OA, to be fair, Spitzer is not anti-business per se. He’s a class action lawyer, but that just makes him a sort of parasite living off of business, but still depending on businesses for his livelihood. And I doubt there’s any connection between the market surge and Spitzer’s problems.


  • The market jump is a response to today’s action by the Federal Reserve (another one of those evil government institutions).

  • The Obnoxious American

    Well I do agree that the 400 point jump in the market probably has more to do with the fed action. But I don’t agree that Spitzer is not anti-business. I think he is a megalomaniac and anyone, be it business or whatever, standing in his way would get destroyed. It may not be explicitly anti-business (rather anti-anything-that’s-anti-spitzer), but it sure isn’t good for business any way you slice it.

    Jon, To your points, I think medicare and medicaid have serious issues as well. I think we must continue to support these programs because there are several generations who rely on it. But the problems that are just now starting to occur with the funding of these programs is only a hint of what we can expect from full on governmental healthcare.

    As far as employers offering perks, I think it really depends. If the medical industry no longer cares about profit, then it will be a very difficult environment for private healthcare to co-exist. The bottom line here, why wouldn’t we first try and address the many issues. Issues we could address. I won’t list them here but this isn’t an object we are talking about, it’s an industry, many of the people reading this may work directly or indirectly for this industry.

    Some have trivialized my comments, because I used the term warts. That’s all fine and good. But I have a feeling everyone posting here probably has a primary care physician, probably has access to healthcare. If you are one of the 47 million, is it because you really want healthcare and don’t have it? Who are these people we are talking about exactly? Statistics suggest that nearly half of the 47 million don’t even need healthcare (young people between 18-24) and some are illegal immigrants. Should we really trash what we have, something that, despite the exhortations on the left, works pretty well for the remaining 253 million of us?

  • The Obnoxious American


    “the Federal Reserve (another one of those evil government institutions).”

    You can argue with yourself if you will be continuing to make meaningless points such as this. When the federal reserve starts telling me I must bank with them is when you will have an apt comparison.

    I never said I was against all forms of government doing anything. And for a country to have trade, it must have an economic system. And that economic system cannot be run privately. I won’t sit here and go department by department with you over the difference between government run healthcare and things like the fed.

    In terms of strawman arguments, this is the strawmannyest.

  • JustOneMan

    Gee…I thought the market went up because Obama and Hillarys message and platform of tax, spend, open borders, weakness when it comes to terror and destroy business ownership are being embraced by investors….


  • Medicare and Medicaid may have warts, but they do provide essentially universal coverage for certain groups.

    Yes, it’s hard to predict what would happen to employee benefits if the health care system were to be partially de-privatized.

    Agreed, we should understand who those 47 million uninsured actually are in order to understand the true nature of the problem. I’d be very interested in seeing some sort of cost-benefit analysis. Intuitively, it doesn’t seem right to dismiss 18-24 year olds as not needing healthcare – I assume you mean health coverage – just because they are at lower risk. In doing that, you’re suggesting that we should accept risk for certain cohorts. But whose risk? 18-24 year olds get into an awful lot of car accidents. Should our tax dollars pay for their care? Or does it even out, or become a net plus, since they get sick less? Some data on that would be cool. Maybe the government should require health insurance, but only for people over and under a certain age.

    And speaking of car accidents – just for the sake of argument, here – the government requires me to have car insurance, so why not health insurance? I realize those are state laws, but don’t the states enact those laws partly because they have to comply with some federal mandates? The fed requires states to do lots of things by threatening to take away their highway funding.

  • Well, Jon, the US is often perceived (especially overseas) as valuing cars above humans…

  • …And I don’t think it’s available on YouTube, but the British comic Jasper Carrott once did a great skit on Americans and their car worship, with particular reference to the way automobiles are profusely given away on TV game shows.

    From memory:

    ‘Congratulations – you’ve won a car!’
    ‘I don’t wanna car. I’ve already won three. I want the garden spade.’
    ‘You can’t have the garden spade, that’s the jackpot prize. You won the booby prize. It’s a car!’

  • The Obnoxious American

    I think it’s all about defining acceptable risks, and then looking at ways to deal with the extreme cases. In terms of car accidents, it must be noted that the car insurance, and not regular medical insurance, pays at least in the NY and NJ as far as I know.

    I think it’s difficult comparing car insurance to health insurance. Cars being a privledge and perhaps important for some, but arguably not a need. That said, I think the answer lies somewhere closer to what car insurance is. Individual and not employer based insurance is a great idea. In order to do this, the government should lower taxes, across the board to enable individuals to pay for it. If companies want to assist in paying for the coverage in exchange for tax credits, all the better.

    What I don’t support is the notion to roll back the bush tax cuts (a tax increase) or increase taxes in order to cover everyone regardless of need or want. Nor should the government get into the business of defining doctor pay, whom insurers should cover, or the cost of drugs.

    Let’s try and resolve the real reasons behind why things cost so much, and when we do come across a situation where some (invariably) white fat cat is driving costs up solely for greed, we can deal with that then.

  • He needs to be out because he spent $4500 for a for an hour of ANYTHING. If he feels that is a reasonable rate… for ANYTHING… then he should not be in charge of tax payer dollars.

    With a mind like that, dude should be running ticketbastard. They are so perilously close to that 50% rate for service charges that Spitzer could be the one to push them over the top.

  • Pablo

    An excellent article written by Greg Palast the author of “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”, on the Spitzer affair is available at this link. HERE

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Palast’s assessment of the situation, and I find him to be one of the most coherent well informed journalists today. Unfortunately his work is not available in the mainstream US Press, he is widely read in the rest of the world and works for BBC.

  • Clavos


    rense dot com!!

    Why am I not surprised???

  • Pablo


    Just as I am not suprised at the drivel coming out of your mouth on a daily basis. 🙂

    I bet you never even heard of Greg Palast, for all your so-called political acumen. LOL

  • Clavos

    I see your point, Pablito.

    My drivel can’t hold a candle to that of Jeff Rense; it’s not nearly as paranoid or hallucinatory.

    “for all your so-called political acumen”

    So called by whom, Paul? You’ve never seen me claim anything even remotely like that in my comments.

  • Pablo


    And your opinion of the article and/or Greg Palast is? Perhaps if I showed you a link to the same article from another source your hysteria would be alleviated. I can do that, cause I certainly don’t want you to have a heart attack Clavos. After all that was the point of my post, not who might carry it, i.e Jeff Rense, I was referring to the credibility and excellent journalism of Mr. Palast. Your perchance haven’t read any of his books have ya Clavito?

    On a side note, did you watch Geraldo, defame the 9-11 truth movment yesterday? He all but accused the Times Square bombing incident on 9-11 truthers. Are you aware of any violence being perpetrated by this movement Clavos. Also the day before on Faux Newspeak, they were referring to a recent heckler of Mr. Clinton, who claimed that 9-11 was an inside job, three of the commentators suggested that they hoped this individual would be sent off to rendition and tortured. I can supply the link if you have any interest. I wonder if you support that kind of hysterical lying unamerican journalism Clavos? Here is a guy using his first amendment rights in a “free speech” zone, which is everywhere in the country, and not only do they ridicule him, which is fine, but they talk about sending him off to a dark prison to be tortured.

    Perhaps you would like me to send you links from FAUX as a more reliable source of the news Clavos. SMIRK

  • Can I play, Pablito?

    And your opinion of the article and/or Greg Palast is?

    I go with lying socialist scumbag.

    On a side note, did you watch Geraldo, defame the 9-11 truth movment yesterday?

    You can’t defame something which has no credibility in the first place, Pavel.


  • Pablo


    Ok I will bite. Suppose that Faux News was reporting on an avowed racist, something I assume we both find reprehensible. Would you support a mainstream media outlet calling for their rendition and torture? Thats exactly what happened on Fox yesterday. I find this to be disgusting and typical of their phony organization.

    As to Mr Palast, I do not recall, although I may be mistaken, that he is a socialist, I do know that he exposed how the 2000 election was rigged by disenfranching some 40,000 african american voters by putting them on the cull list as felons, when they were not, courtesy of Choicepoint. In case you didnt know it Dave a scumbag is a used condom full of dead spermatzoa. I hardly find that an accurate description, surely you can do better than that with your eloquent use of the language.

    9-11 was in inside job whether or not your intelligent enough to figure that out Dave is certainly not my problem.

  • Clavos

    My opinion of the article is that it’s rather poorly written. The allegations he makes are just that: mere unsubstantiated allegations, with no proof offered.

    One point he made that really doesn’t jibe with his characterization of Bush and the Wall Streeters: if Spitzer really is that dangerous to Bush and his cronies, and they are as ruthless as palast says they are, why bother with embarrassing and discrediting him? As long as he (Spitzer) stays alive, he continues to be a potential danger. Killing him would have been a much more secure (and efficient) way to silence him. It’s certainly easy enough to arrange a car crash or hit-and-run, even an airplane crash — there are lots of ways to eliminate enemies permanently with little or no risk.

    Why on earth would I want to watch a gossip monger like Geraldo? Puhleeze…

    He actually defamed the 9/11 conspiracy nuts? What a waste of time, they defame themselves with their lunacy.

    “I can supply the link if you have any interest”

    No, thanks, chico, I’m not very interested in anecdotes about 9/11 conspiracists.

  • Pablo

    What I do find interesting about the whole Spitzer affair is this. Here is a guy who has stood up to Wall Street’s corruption more than any other individual prosecutor in recent history. The fact that no other journalist or news organization has even raised the hint that perhaps this man has been set up (due to his own weakness of the female flesh), just shows me how much real collusion there is going on in todays media. You might spend the time Dave, even though you consider this man Palast to be a used condom with dead spermatzoa inside to read the article, it is fascinating. After all even someone who dislikes instensly the National Review occasionally will read an article in that irrelevant publication.

  • Pablo


    As usual you miss my point. I may as well be talking to an elementary student. My point was about Fox news openly (even though it was not serious per se, suggesting that a person excercising their free speech rights be hauled off to another country and tortured. Thats my point, but as usual it goes right over your head. You only see the 9-11 side of it, i e. you believe the government concoction, I am referring to something quite different.

  • Pablo

    Oh and one other little thing Clavos, you said:
    “No, thanks, chico, I’m not very interested in anecdotes about 9/11 conspiracists.” Does that mean that you dont think 9/11 was a conspiracy? How ignorant, of course it was, it just that YOUR particular brand of conspiracy regarding that fateful day doesnt hold any water, i e it is so full of holes that only a dimwit would believe it quite frankly, but hey each to her/his own. 🙂

  • Ok I will bite. Suppose that Faux News was reporting on an avowed racist, something I assume we both find reprehensible. Would you support a mainstream media outlet calling for their rendition and torture? Thats exactly what happened on Fox yesterday. I find this to be disgusting and typical of their phony organization.

    Not being a Fox News viewer or a big fan of Geraldo and his enormous mustache I haven’t seen this particular bit of video. Why not provide us with a link to it? I don’t support rendition or torture for any US citizen, however. I will say that I don’t think anyone considers Geraldo to be a serious journalist.

    As to Mr Palast, I do not recall, although I may be mistaken, that he is a socialist,

    He is.

    I do know that he exposed how the 2000 election was rigged by disenfranching some 40,000 african american voters by putting them on the cull list as felons, when they were not, courtesy of Choicepoint.

    The voters in question were not chosen by race as you suggest, but because they had irregularities in their registrations which could be capitalized on. It wasn’t just African Americans who were culled, though they were the majority. And I’d say it’s no worse than the Democrats challenging and getting thrown out thousands of absentee ballots, many of them from military personnel in that same election.

    In case you didnt know it Dave a scumbag is a used condom full of dead spermatzoa. I hardly find that an accurate description, surely you can do better than that with your eloquent use of the language.

    If the condom full of sperm fits…

    9-11 was in inside job whether or not your intelligent enough to figure that out Dave is certainly not my problem.

    I can tell a hawk from a handsaw, Pavel.


  • Cannonshop

    Have people forgotten how much of Spitzer’s rep was built busting…PROSTITUTES?

    Here’s where I have a problem-the guy is a John, who built a lot of his career busting providers. I don’t care if a politician (or executive, or carpenter, or garbage man) wants to pay for it on the side. It doesn’t even bother me if he’s married (though I suppose if he were my in-law, I might want to deliver some wall-to-wall counseling on the concept of monogamous relationships…possibly with a two-by-four.) No, the problem isn’t that.

    The problem is the same problem I’d have with a Narcotics officer using heroin or smoking grass when he’s not on-duty, or a cop shoplifting, or a Sherriff who drives drunk. It’s called “Crooked Cop Syndrome”, and at minimum, as in BARE minimum, he needs to be relieved of his position or forced to resign, and if he’s broken the law, prosecuted to its fullest extent. Not because he’s been questionably naughty, but because…


    period. by way of comparison, John McCain should probably be under federal investigation for taking backhanders (McCain Feingold anyone?), Bill Clinton should have at LEAST been fined, if not faced prison for Perjury (and over something that STUPID, too. geez…), etc etc.

    When you’re sworn into office, and you solemnly swear to uphold the law, if the law is one you can not obey, you need to depart the office or change the law (if you can).

    Spitzer’s a LAWYER, he knows (presumably) the law. He’s a PROSECUTOR, which means he (presumably) knew that he was not only breaking New York laws, but also FEDERAL STATUTES in place for many, many, years.

    This isn’t the same thing as a visitor from California breaking a Nebraska blue-law because it’s unusual, Spitzer knew EXACTLY what he was doing. Malice aforethought, folks. As a representative of the People of New York, their governor, a former prosecutor, and noted law-enforcement figure, he damn well ought to have known better, and therefore ought to be held to a higher standard than some illiterate streetsweeper.

  • Cannonshop,

    Thank you for bringing this comment thread round to where it belongs – it is about a governor, a former prosecutor, who broke the law.

    Are there laws against johns screwing whores in New York. If so, this idiot should be prosecuted under them.

    But, Cannonshop, given that he is married, and given that his wife also knows lawyers, I suspect that she will be charging him $5,000/hr for all of her service time in the sack with him (over twenty years, that can add up) – via a divorce. Given that Spitzer can face disbarment for what he did in office, he is going to have one hell of a time dealing with the locomotive coming his way.

    What he really needs is a Jewish lawyer smarter than he is – a father figure- like Alan Dershowitz.

    Mrs. Spitzer, now in the catbird seat, only needs a cushion to make the catbird seat a bit softer and more comfortable….

    The rest of us can laugh at poor Eliot – after thanking G-d that we have not been so exposed for our own stupidity – and praying that we are not so exposed in future.

  • Cannon, there can be no justice when the law itself is unjust. Breaking a bad law is like striking a blow for freedom.


  • Cannon, there can be no justice when the law itself is unjust. Breaking a bad law is like striking a blow for freedom.

    Yeah, you tell ’em, Dave! Start with your wife…. Explain to her how sleeping with a whore for five grand an hour is striking a blow for freedom. And then head for the next state!

  • Clavos

    “My point was about Fox news openly (even though it was not serious per se, suggesting that a person excercising their free speech rights be hauled off to another country and tortured.”

    1. I don’t get my news from television (except for local news), so I didn’t see the segment to which you refer. How could I comment on something I’ve never seen? I certainly won’t comment based on your assessment of the report, given the strongly skewed viewpoints you hold on practically anything, as revealed in your comments since you arrived here.

    2. Case in point: now, you admit the remark was said in jest. You didn’t mention that very salient fact the first time you brought it up. Had I commented previously, I would have been expressing an opinion based on insufficient facts filtered through your twisted, bizarre biases, which is exactly why I didn’t comment.

    3. Re #70: No, I don’t believe your (and others’) theories about 9/11 having been an “inside job.”

  • Pablo

    Yes the remarks were in jest. I suppose in your book it is ok for these kind of remarks to be aired on a national news network. It does not surprise me however.

  • Clavos

    “I suppose in your book it is ok for these kind of remarks to be aired on a national news network. It does not surprise me however.”

    As usual, you attempt to impute thoughts and attitudes to people you don’t even know.

    You have no idea what I think, except for what I choose to post here, and I have said nothing about the jest; simply because I never saw it; I have no idea whether it actually even happened, much less the context.

  • Pablo, if you admit the remark is in jest, then couldn’t the nature of that jest have been an ironic critique of the restriction of free speech in the current political climate?


  • Pablo

    The clip in question was not fox, but msnbc, I have a hard time differentiating between the two, and I know that Clavos being the anal retentive he is will probably jump all over me for it. Anyways here is the link and I would like to hear Dave’s response to it. cnbc story

    This kind of reporting in my view respresents the worst of so-called American Journalism. This person was excercising their first amendment rights, to ridicule him is one thing, to actually say that this person should be sent off to a secret prison for rendition, is quite another.