It Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Tyrant

I’m sure you are all well informed on the Spitzer chronicles by now. If not, crawl through the Memeorandum links to inform yourself (get a cup of coffee or other preferred beverage, because it will take awhile). I just wanted to point to some highlights.

(1) Radley Balko: Schadenfreude — “May your fall be steep and severe, governor.

Sweet, sweet karmic justice. Now, let’s all watch as a man who rose to power and fame by railroading people on ridiculous charges himself get tripped up by a dumb, unjust law.

I’ll get the popcorn. This one is going to be fun.

(2) Jon Henke: Speaking Truth to Tyranny — “The Great Man Theory of political improvement is bankrupt. The fundamental problems in politics are not resolvable by electing “better” people (though that might help at the margins); the fundamental problems in politics are the structural and systemic perverse incentives to pander, bribe and capture more power, and even the best-intentioned politician cannot escape those problems.

(3)(a) Dan Riehl: Hyp-Sock-risy — “My, what a scathing indictment of Senator David Vitter from the Blogosphere’s most infamous sock puppet Rick Ellensburg (aka Glenn Geenwald) when Vitter’s name turned up linked to a prostitute.

Maybe Vitter should have made things right - and changed his political affiliation before getting caught.

(3)(b) Socks: What’s the big deal? — “Regarding all of the breathless moralizing from all sides over the “reprehensible,” outrageous crimes of Eliot Spitzer: are there actually many people left who care if an adult who isn’t their spouse hires prostitutes? Are there really people left who think that doing so should be a crime, that adults who hire other consenting adults for sex should be convicted and go to prison?

Good question Glenn! Let’s ask Eliot Spitzer:

Mr. Spitzer gained national attention when he served as attorney general with his relentless pursuit of Wall Street wrongdoing. As attorney general, he also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

“This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. “It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”

Hmmm, I guess at least one person.

(4) Steven Bainbridge: I told you! — “Which leads to the ethics question of the day: Is schadenfreude a sin? If so, I’m sinning big time today. Why? Because Spitzer’s attacks on his various targets have always had a highly moralistic tone. He portrays himself as Mr Clean exposing the dity linen of business … Now, perhaps, the chickens are coming home to roost. One can only hope Spitzer encounters a prosecutor who brings to the task the same zeal as Spitzer brought to his own crusades.

Be sure to check out the compendium of Spitzer’s “zealousness.”

(5) RADAR: Nuance — “Clinton Yanks Spitzer Endorsement Faster Than A Hooker Yanks… Well, You Get It

(6) Jane Hamsher: Conspiracy — “How did Spitzer’s name get leaked to the media, and who did it? Didn’t happen to Dave Vitter.

Dunno, Jane. Perhaps it was that news conference that Der Guvenehr had today, after telling his staff of his (ahem) indiscretions, upon realizing that he bore a great deal of resemblance to Client 9. Or the VRWC. You pick.

(7) Reuters: New York joins the 20th Century — “David A. Paterson would become the first African-American governor of New York if the current governor, Eliot Spitzer, resigns in the wake of allegations of ties to prostitution.

Paterson, who is legally blind, was elected lieutenant governor in November 2006 together with Spitzer.

It’s about time that New York caught up with her less progressive sister states, such as Virginia and Louisiana, who elected black governors quite some time ago (indeed, La. elected P. B. S. Pinchback as Lt. Governor in 1868). Hell, here in Virginia we didn’t even need to have anyone resign. Doug Wilder (who now serves as the Mayor of Richmond) was directly elected Governor in 1990.

(8) Marc Ambinder: Scorecard — “There is a script to these things.

First, the politician acknowedges the gravity of the infraction. Mr. Spitzer’s brief public statement did not do so. This isn’t about prostitution. It’s about — allegedly — Gambino crime family money laundering.

Then the politician apologizes for unspecified obligation failings. This, Mr. Spitzer did.

Then the politician retreats into a period of solitude, and then acknowledges some congenital defect or longstanding condition, such as alcoholism. TBD.

Public pressure, aided and abetted by the media, mounts. TBD.

The politician either figures out what the public wants, or he does not — and proceeds accordingly. TBD.

Finally, my personal take is that Spitzer’s frequenting of prostitutes doesn’t mean much. He hurt his family (and his daughters I do feel sorry for), and he hurt himself, but that’s about it. Some have brought up the potential for blackmail, but I can’t see how that theory holds much water if he came clean the minute he knew the news would get out. Even the hypocrisy doesn’t bother any more than anyone else’s hypocrisy bothers me.

No, none of that is of much concern to me. The one emotion I truly feel about all of this is relief. Relief that this man will be stopped in his tyrannical tracks. Relief that his name and “for the Presidency” will no longer be uttered together. Relief that his heavy-handed Putin style of rule (OK, that’s a bit over the top … but just a bit) is coming to an end. And most of all, that Spitzer can no longer be seriously considered for any higher office in America.

OK, and maybe I feel a little bit of Schadenfreude …

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2 Responses to “It Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Tyrant”

  1. on 11 Mar 2008 at 9:50 am Joshua Foust

    You compared Spitzer to Putin? Don’t insult Putin. At least he has this whole “national glory” thing going on. And did Spitzer ever go on a weirdly homoerotic shirtless fishing adventure in Siberia? I think not!

  2. on 11 Mar 2008 at 10:00 am MichaelW

    Heh. Yeah, I forgot about that. I guess that wasn’t too fair to the “Commissar of Soul” was it. Speaking of incongruity, a Hit & Run commenter pointed to who should really feel disgraced over this whole thing:

    “Prostitute Admits Link to Eliot Spitzer; Resigns From Escort Service in Disgrace”

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