Spitzer’s Loss Still Seems Unfair…to New York

US Politics
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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
many…

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.

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