By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Spitzer reportedly to resign

The Times is now reporting that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to resign this morning.

I’ve been thinking about why, in the post-Bill Clinton era, Spitzer can’t just brazen out what is at its heart a sex scandal. I think there are three reasons. (There are always three, aren’t there?)

  • The hypocrisy angle. Spitzer is simply too closely associated with having gone after prostitution in the past. He can hardly argue that it’s a victimless crime now. By the way, it turns out that the 2004 bust I referenced yesterday still hasn’t come to trial.
  • The money angle. The thousands of dollars Spitzer spent on prostitutes came from one of three sources: (a) his personal funds; (b) campaign contributions; (c) taxpayer dollars. If the answer is anything other than (a), he’s got big, big problems.
  • The jerk angle. Judging from the coverage, it seems that no one can stand him, and that the Democrats will be just as happy to see him depart as the Republicans. He can’t survive something like this without allies, and apparently he has none.

That said, we should remember that few people believed Clinton could survive revelations of his scandalous behavior with Monica Lewinsky. If Spitzer decides suddenly to dig in his heels and stay, who’s to say he can’t survive — provided his answer to the money question is the right one?

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  1. Anonymous

    If Spitzer is as narcissistic as Clinton, he will survive to observe the remains of the electorate he had purported to SERVE. Just what NY needs, someone to further coarsen the culture. Now that we’ve destroyed the concept of what “sex” is, can we similarly wreck what little is left of “marriage”? Ugh.

  2. Anonymous

    Why should Spitzer resign? Perhaps because he broke the law?Glen BergendahlWeymouth

  3. Anonymous

    You missed the blackmail angle. The public can’t have a governor vulnerable to attacks along those lines.

  4. Anonymous

    You and most others are concentrating on the prostitute part of this story. I believe the more serious crimes relate to his money laundering scheme e.g. using dummy or shell corporations. Who knows what he did with these and for how long, but there must be tax consequences and other kinds of frauds. anonbymous

  5. Rick in Duxbury

    Today’s WSJ Op-Ed page has a “must read” by Kimberley Strassel. She explores the culpability of the press as enablers for Spitzer’s activities. Journos don’t come out of this one looking good, Dan.

  6. Skeeter

    Out is out. (Round One.)He’ll see the light and wind up on Wall Street all ablaze as the reformed are, and become a saviour as he makes more $$$ (probably demand Euros) than ever!

  7. liamstliam

    Hey, Dan.There’s a presidential election angle here.Spitzer was a superdelegate, pleadged to Hillary Clinton.Not the governor. Not a superdelegate.I do not know if the new governor will get that superdelegate spot.

  8. acf

    The new governor to be is already a super delegate because of his position in the hierarchy of the NY State Democratic Party. I guess the question is what will become of that super delegate that Spitzer was? Will someone else be named delegate, or will New York now have 1 less?

  9. liamstliam

    Being in upstate New York, I cannot look away from this trainwreck.So David Paterson will be the first Black governor in New York state history and the first blond governor in U.S. History.All by accident.This reminds me that I better be comfortable with John McCain’s running mate. Even he admits that.

  10. Don, American

    Spitzer was only being a (Clinton) Democrat. What’s the big deal?

  11. Steve

    As for where the money comes from, I would hope that it came from his personal funds, which are quite plentiful.And Don, as much as you would like to link this to the Clintons, you are confused. What Bill and Monica did wasn’t a crime. Spitzer paying for prostitution IS a crime. I’m glad I could clear that up for you.

  12. Anonymous

    Bottom line, Hillary loses a super because of this. The Lt. Gov. in line of succession is a Republican.So, what’s not to love?

  13. liamstliam

    There’s a line of succession for LG?

  14. Anonymous

    Dan, you didn’t “reference” the bust. You referred to it.Please assure us that you’re teaching your students to watch their words.

  15. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 2:10: Check out definition #14.

  16. Anonymous

    Your all ignoring the curious nature of this whole story, i.e., the prostitution ring was uncovered by investigation of Spitzer, not the other way around. Apparently some of Spitzer’s banks noted unusual transfers by Spitzer and alerted the IRS. The DoJ got involved and, using the Public Integrity Section (which has targeted 6 times more Democrats than Republicans during the Bush regime), soon realizes that this has nothing to do with bribery or public malfeasance. Nope, it’s a good old sex scandal, one involving a powerful Democrat who one day may challenge for the presidency. Federal prosecutors rarely investigate, never mind prosecute, prostitution rings (and please, the Mann Act is a joke), but the DoJ authorizes an extensive, expensive wiretap and sting operation. Within days of finally capturing incriminating text and phone messages involving Spitzer, the story is leaked to the press. Voila, another top Dem is taken off the board. You think it’s absurd to believe the Bush machine is beyond this kind of skullduggery? Tell that to Don Seligman in Arkansas.

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