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Spitz’ swallows his pride

by Archives March 18, 2008

Tsk, tsk, Mr. Spitzer. I’m not going to lie; I’m very disappointed with you.
For those of you that don’t know, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught last week ruffling the bed sheets at the Washington Mayflower hotel, with someone other than his wife. Not just any someone of course, no, the Governor was bumping uglies with Miss Ashley Dupre, the elite $1,000-an-hour call girl from New York City’s Emperor’s Club. Now, to be fair, he wasn’t literally caught in the act, like some hapless john on an episode of Cheaters. Instead, Mr. Spitzer’s . . . “indiscretion” came to light in the most embarrassing manner possible: as the result of a federal Mann Act investigation.
I’m not bothered that Spitzer is an adulterer. What he does in a private capacity is the business of his family and his family alone. Even if it were a matter of public concern, the story of a politician seeking comfort outside the marital bed is now more than commonplace. It is more American than apple pie. At the turn of the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson was busy fathering a secret, illegitimate family with his slave, Sally Hemmings. Roughly 200 years later, we find Bill Clinton playing a similar game with Monica Lewinsky involving his cigar and her nether regions. We’re all human right?
I’m not even bothered by the fact that Spitzer’s carnal playmate of choice was a hooker. Although admittedly Dupre’s bio doesn’t read like any Dickensian tragedy that I’m familiar with, we should bear in mind that she is neither an alcoholic nor a morphine addict. She merely likes to party at exclusive nightclubs, and jet set from New York to St. Tropez, with a certain kind of rich and powerful gentleman – think Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. Likewise, Spitzer isn’t a sexual miscreant. He’s a successful lawyer and politician who enjoys the company of beautiful, younger women, and who is willing to pay for such. In fact, the only real victim of the governor’s crime was his own reputation.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t see it that way. For the esteemed talking heads of Western punditry, the hypocrisy of a former district attorney, renowned for his relentless anti-corruption crusade, getting caught up in a Mann Act case is simply unforgivable. I’ve never been a fan of the “fire and brimstone” approach to commentary; I’m much more willing, to forgive the man on this sort of behaviour.
The most surprising aspect of the whole scandal is that Spitzer was caught at all. After all, he had been the district attorney for New York, had personally prosecuted people under the Mann Act and was intimately familiar with how these cases were investigated. Despite all that, he placed calls to the agency on his own phone, and flew Dupre to Washington, across state lines, in violation of federal law.

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