Monday, March 10, 2008

Eliot Spitzer and the 'B Word'

How long has Eliot Spitzer been patronizing prostitutes?

To me that's the only question worth exploring in the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. Reading the New York Times article, you have to wonder if he's been "No. 9" or some other number with other hookers for a long time. While he was attorney general, for instance?

That's because the key word here is not "hypocrisy" or "morality," it's "blackmail." If Spitzer has been patronizing prostitutes, he'd be leaving himself open to being shaken down, perhaps by the mob. The Russian mob is heavily involved in prostitution.

While I doubt that Spitzer would have succumbed to blackmail, had it been attempted, it was a risk he should not have allowed the citizens of the state to take. If, that is, this was not an isolated incident. If it was, then this is a big, fat nothing. (Unless the accusations about his committing a felony in the structuring of his payments to the prostitutes turn out to be true. That ain't nuthin'.)

UPDATE: Congressman Peter King made the same point in National Review Online:

"Spitzer himself was very severe going after prostitution rings that had to do with white collar crimes. He was very hard-nosed with his tactics. To leave himself open to blackmail — putting himself and the state in a compromised position like that — it's just awful."

So did Dealbreaker:

That a man so versed in the blackmail style of prosecution would so readily open himself up to that dark art is, at the very least, extraordinary. One would think that a man who deployed his aides to whisper about a corporate executive allegedly “banging” his assistant, would be wise enough to the ways of the world to avoid putting himself in a position where he could be blackmailed. That he lacked such wisdom—or ignored it—shows a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the high office to which the people of New York elected him.
© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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