more shocked. Eliot Spitzer seemed like the least likely politician to
get tangled up in a sex scandal. He just seemed like maybe he was too
busy. I just don’t get it, but then there’s a lot I never got about
He always seemed like such a great prosecutor, but he
never showed any hint of having the qualities needed to govern. He had
a lot of great ideas, and some hopeful policies for upstate cities, but
he seemed most adept at getting in his own way. He was the smartest kid
in the class, but he couldn’t help but keep telling you. He was the
only man in Albany who could make Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno seem
As the Spitzer moment in Albany flames out, and a new
chapter in scandal blogging begins, there are just three questions I
have to ask.
What is it with political wives? Will they suffer
any indignity standing alongside their man as he reveals to the world
that he has been, to use a euphemism, a first-class asshole? There was
Mrs. Gov. Jim McGreevey, Mrs. Sen. Larry Craig, Mrs. Sen. David Vitter,
and, of course, Mrs. President Bill Clinton. This time we were treated
to the spectacle of Silda Wall, Mrs. Gov. Spitzer, paraded silently in
front of the press looking as if she had been hit by a truck that
wouldn’t let go of her.
Think of how her day was going. Since breakfast she had
learned that her husband, New York’s governor, had a predilection for
ladies of the night. Not only that, but it was about to cost him his
job, and cost her the life she had given up her life for. Specifically,
she had just become aware that her husband of 21 years, the father of
her three children, had paid several thousand dollars for sex with a
prostitute in a Washington, D.C. hotel--on the night before Valentine’s
Day. I’m sure that as she stood there by the lectern listening to his
lawyerly apology, she could picture the Valentine present Eliot had
left her before he headed to Washington to meet Kristen.
Worse than that, Wall is a smart enough woman to realize
that she has been protected from sexually transmitted disease only
through the pluckiness of her husband’s consort. (Kristen is quoted in
an affidavit as saying the guv wanted to do “unsafe things.” She also
knew enough to tell him that it was latex or the highway, and in the
end everything went her way.)
Why did Spitzer choose as his nom-de-amour British preacher George Fox?
That’s the name Spitzer used with his pimp/madame at the Emperors Club
VIP. Freud has to be aching to rise from the grave to puzzle over this
one. Fox was the founder of the Quakers. Isn’t that beyond bizarre?
What was Spitzer thinking? Did he think that taking the name of a
founder of a pacifist religion would impress the young lady from the
Emperors Club VIP? The club’s Web site does have its spiritual side.
Note this excerpt: “Gentle, thorough and sensual touches will free your
imagination, mind and soul of your busy day to day worries and
intoxicate all your senses.”
Or maybe he was just hoping to meet someone with whom he
could sit in silence until the spirit stirred one of them to speak?
Could be a way to somehow tell himself that, in spite of it all, he was
still a good person. Quakers are always good, no matter what.
Did Spitzer, who many say harbored presidential
ambitions, know of Franklin Roosevelt’s recovery from a sex scandal
early in his career? It’s true, FDR was at the center of a
controversy of his own doing. Just before he contracted polio,
Roosevelt was under-secretary of the Navy. He approved a sting
operation using sailors in the Newport, R.I., area to entrap local men
by offering to have sex with them. Their orders went so far as to order
them to engage in oral sex with the locals in order to later have them
prosecuted. The New York Times ran the story on page one in
July 1921. But 10 years later, when Roosevelt ran for the Democratic
nomination for president, the story was long forgotten.
Then again, he didn’t have to contend with Jon Stewart.