Spitzer’s Loss Still Seems Unfair…to New York

US Politics
on 6 Comments

Eliot Spitzer’s departure reminds me of an assassination. A week ago everything was fine. A week later, he’s gone. No drawn-out trial or scandal, no time for both sides–poof. A non-person.

I still think it’s unfair, and that prostitution should be legalized. Though as I said here before, I’m not going to the barricades on the issue, I must say: Here was a really smart dedicated guy who cared deeply about public service and the people of New York and committed a victimless crime of a sumptuous character. And now the State of New York is simply deprived of his service. Had Spitzer been an out gay man, I think he would still be my governor…

Part of my disbelief here springs from Spitzer’s heavyhearted statement, in stepping down, that we can always talk of "what might have been" in his administration. I’m tempted to believe those could have been great things; Michael Massing’s article in the NYRB notes that Spitzer was trying to make things fairer for kids who have to go into the army instead of going to college.

In the
1990s… New York State faced a choice between spending on
prisons and spending on higher education. It chose the former. As a
result, New York today has state-of-the-art prisons and run-down
campuses. The SUNY system in particular has been starved of funds, and
Governor Eliot Spitzer, recognizing the economic value of an educated
workforce, has made revitalizing it a top priority. Until that happens,
however, getting a college degree will remain a tough proposition for

Somehow I doubt that David Paterson has the force of character to bring Spitzerian reforms about. Yes the former zealous prosecutor was a hypocrite. I don’t care. We need to redraw the lines between public and private acts.

6 Responses

  1. Michael Blaine
    March 16, 2008, 2:22 pm

    "recognizing the economic value of an educated workforce"

    How about recognizing the inherent value of education itself, without framing it in economic terms?!!

    Michael Blaine

  2. Larry Joe
    March 16, 2008, 2:39 pm

    Unfair? Yes, unfair to those that believe it should be legalized. But this guy was an enforcer of keeping it a crime. He should have every single prostitution law thrown on him, no matter how minor. Let him bear the full brunt of all the silly prostitution laws he enforced.

  3. West Coaster
    March 16, 2008, 3:14 pm

    Spitzer getting busted with a prostitute may make great fodder for comedians, but personally, I think its much ado about NOTHING!

    Larry Craig was perusing a PUBLIC bathroom looking for gay sex…and he's still in office!

    Why the double standard for Democratic office holders then?

    At least it worked out well for Ms "Kristen", Spitzers prostitute. Apparently shes' a musician. Last I heard, on Drudge I believe, she had over 200,000 downloads on ITUNES…earning 70 cents per download.


  4. Jim Haygood
    March 16, 2008, 4:25 pm


    "I still think it's unfair, and that prostitution should be legalized. Had Spitzer been an out gay man, I think he would still be my governor…"

    All reasonable enough. But while the prostitution angle gets the sensational publiclity, the legal jeopardy which Spitzer faces relates to the structuring of wire transfers, not to prostitution.

    So NY loses Spitzer as governor, and there will be a brief, feckless debate about prostitution. But the FinCen surveilliance state, in which your banker secretly fingers you as a suspect for making innocuous transactions, will go unchallenged and undebated at all.

    Believing that "it was all about sex" in regard to Eliot Spitzer, or Bill Clinton, trivializes the weightier legal issues in both cases. "Structuring" should be no crime at all. But convicts are rotting in the federal Gulag for it. Would that Americans cared as much about their civil liberties as they do about sex scandal. Evidently, freedom just isn't sexy no more.

    Eliot Spitzer has no philosophical objection to the law against "structuring." He's just sorry he got caught. No great loss, then.

  5. samuel burke
    March 16, 2008, 11:15 pm

    Its the Laws, stupid.

    i oughta get a bumpersticker saying this because as hard as i try i cant get past the fact that its not about these individuals, rather its the laws, stupid.

  6. samuel burke
    March 16, 2008, 11:20 pm

    Its the Laws.

    the body of friggin Laws that replicate like some cell multiplier in a science fiction thrillah.

    laws to keep everybody under law.

    we ought to be questioning the laws, and not the celebrity breakers of the laws.

    the uneccessary laws that regulate everything.

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