After all the craziness happened yesterday afternoon, it seems like a good idea to pull the pieces of the Spitzer Strumpet Scandal and add my own thoughts. Things moved fast through the blog community and elsewhere, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. I’m sure I’ll miss some stuff, so don’t be afraid to hit me with corrections in the comments. But be warned: this is a very long roundup!
Via TPM we find that ABC reports investigations into Spitzer’s suspicious money transfers – which investigators thought would lead to bribery or extortion – alerted the FBI to the hooker connection. There seems to have been a parallel investigation into the prostitution ring, but that doesn’t seem to have centered on Spitz, and investigators only later learned that he was the now-infamous “Client 9.” BTP of RochesterTurning discovered a Harper’s piece that suggests the revealing of Spitzer’s legal troubles by the Justice Department might have been politically motivated.
I think we can all agree that the Justice Department’s recent history clearly puts them above suspicion where political targeting is concerned. ahem.
But by whatever means the investigation unfolded, whatever was the inspiration or motivation to pursue the investigation, the fact remains that Spitzer did admit to wrongdoing (though he’s yet to have expressly admitted to floozy-mongering, for obvious legal reasons). Unfortunately, there are many of us on the Left who have felt compelled to spin this scenario in the most favourable way. This includes a number of people whom I respect like Micheal Bouldin writing for TAP and Open Left. h/t to RT for those links.
If we want to laugh at Republican misdeeds in the sexual department (and I for one definitely do), we cannot then turn around and support our own guys when they get caught with their hands in the. . . oh, let’s just call it the “cookie jar.” In fact, there is a very specific parallel here that has nothing to do with sex, specifically: both Eliot Spitzer and the Republican Party generally have both held themselves up as paragons of virtue. When they come crashing back down to Earth as the failed humans they – and we – all are, we have reason to find it amusing.
At least with Spitzer, we can take solace in the fact that while he’s certainly busted some prostitution rings in his time as AG, he’s not actively voting against gay rights and then getting caught screwing in the men’s bathroom. He’s not railing on in the State House about the gay agenda’s corruption of our young people and then IM’ing teenage pages about their sweaty underwear. He’s not scoring political points and spreading socio-political hate rhetoric about hookers at all; he did his job busting criminals as an AG, then for whatever reason, decided to go rent a high-priced, of-age vagina for a night.
And hey: it’s a boomin’ business with many more clients than our governor. Rottenchester is right: prostitution should be legal anyway. To quote George Carlin: “if selling’s legal and fucking’s legal, why isn’t selling fucking legal?”
So, let’s just get on with it. Spitzer’s not going to be effective as a tainted politician, even if he’s cleared of charges (which is OM-F*ing-G unlikely at this point). Let’s all bite the bullet, get Spitzer out of office and then get it all past us. That way, we can get back to doing what we aught to be doing with the next Republican sex scandal: pointing and laughing.
On the other side of the hysteria, you knew we could count on Republicans to drum up some pearl-clutching, swooning hystrionics to raise the level of discourse as we’ve come to expect. And who could be better than our very own Hyacinth Bucket, Maggie Brooks?
She said her first reaction to the news was as a mother and a wife, and noted how embarrassed Spitzer’s family must be that this is playing out in public.
If I may add to the “Blogversation” that continues on the 13WHAM blog, we didn’t hire a wife or a mother. We hired a County Executive. I could give a rat’s ass what she thinks as a wife and mother, why is this important to add to the story? Her opinion as a County Executive is, while predictable, relevant. Her opinion as a member of the Margaret Thatcher Outfit of the Month Club is not.
The NRCC is meanwhile spinning this completely out of control, as is there wont. Josh at TPM, ladkiddo at RT and the Washington Post all pick up on their mailers. These mailers screech that every single Democratic politician alive should immediately renounce Spitzer and send back his “dirty money.”
Oyie, vey, with the “dirty money” talk!
Spitzer wasn’t pimping, he was on the demand side of the NYC hooker economy. His money isn’t “dirty,” he wasn’t raising funds for the NY Dem Party by throwing hooker parties (imagine THAT party at Nathaniel’s! Come for the hookers, stay for the over-cooked sheet pizza.) and there is absolutely NO reason for anyone to give his money back. These mailers have the effect of making Republicans who’ve spent so long in the shadows of Mark Foley et. al. feel better about themselves. In this way, the Spitzer debacle helps Republicans tremendously.
I’ll keep checking in on the latest developments as they happen today, but that’s what I’ve got for yesterday.