The Eliot Spitzer Suicide Watch
I started this rant just after a news item just came across my desk: after getting snagged with his involvement in a Prostitution Ring - Soon to be Ex-Governor of New York State Eliot Spitzer was debating or weighing resignation. Personally - I think he should resign, too. But I'm not talking about quitting his job as Governor of New York... I'm talking about resignation that involves his belt around his neck and a solid object that's higher off the ground then his height... which is right now somewhere between under a snakes belly but above a worm's forehead...
Or he should drive himself to the Adirondack's and find a place out in the middle of nowhere that closely resembles Miller's Crossing and die like some dumb animal and over-dose on a lethal injection of Vitamin L.
Unless, of course - if he's a fan of The Fedora Chronicles, Vintage Style and Classic Movies. Then he should reformat his hard-drive to remove any association with us and THEN drive up north before ending his life with the sharp clap of a hammer coming down on a high-caliber cartridge.
Before any of you ask, "Where's your heart?" Let me just ask you back: "What Heart?" It's been broken by too many folks who have violated the Public's Trust through hypocrisy and smug indignation.
My anger towards Spitzer isn't some holier-then-thou rhetoric or a mask to cover up my own misdeeds. I feel horrible for his wife, his children and his sycophantic supporters who blur the already grayed line between "Right" And "Wrong." Men should love, treasure and adore their wives as I do mine, never do anything that would blatantly break their hearts or violate their trust no matter how powerful they are. Were I to ever do anything one-eighth as stupid as this I hope I would have the nerve to pull the trigger on myself or just disappear.
Because of who and what Eliot Spitzer is and how he made his reputation by sending similar criminals to jail - the very least he should do is keep his those he put there company. Not as a visitor, but as a fellow resident.
Hard Times And "Night Shift"
Few years ago, there used to be a movie called "Night Shift" that played almost constantly on "HBO" and "The Movie Channel" in the 1980's. It stared Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton [someone once called me the "Bill Blazejowski" of The Retroverse, and I don't think they meant it in a good way...] and was directed by Ron Howard. (Who would have thought during the 1970's while starting in Happy Days that one would direct the other in a movie about two men who run a prostitution ring out of a New York City Morgue...) Henry Winkler (as Chuck Lumly) and Michael Keaton, play two men working at the city morgue fighting boredom at what must be one of the worst jobs in New York City. Chuck, a whimpy man with hardly a spine, gets kicked back down to the Night Shift at the morgue after years of working hard to get on the Day Shift. Chuck has a neighbor in his building who is indeed a prostitute (played by Shelly Long of "Cheers") who needs a new pimp. Bill (played by Michael Keaton) comes up with this great idea - they have the space, they have the time, and they have the cars (if you can call a hearse a car) to hall the johns and the call girls around.
Eventually - the guys get caught and the Prostitution Ring is broken up by some "Eliot Spitzer" type characters. Chuck finally learns to stand up for himself and eventually rescues his friends from a sleazy dive that used to occupy space on Times Square...
... But, the writers of this movie never touch the uncomfortable subject of other State Employees soliciting the services of the Prostitution Ring in a morgue or what would have happened if say, the governor's name was in some of their ledgers. What if someone who made a name for himself in politics by breaking up prostitution ring was actually one of "Night Shift's" best customers? I think I smell a sequel!
Night Shift was an hysterical movie, perhaps it was a motion picture that was just as influential to me as "Raiders Of The Lost Ark," proving to me that you could be funny, hysterical and manic while dealing with serious issues like death, solicitation, infidelity and loss of trust while remaining only partially dysfunctional. I might have read too much into it, but the fact remains that it was a deeply powerful film for my developing 15 year old adolescent and sarcastic mind. The lesson was - no matter how good your intentions are when you start doing a bad thing, you will eventually get caught.
Night Shift is funny when it comes at you on the screen as a movie, it's deadpan when it's coming at you via the news paper or cable news and you're hitting your 40's and having to deal with such laugh-out loud topics like the Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis and the Gas Prices Crunch. I'm holding my belly from laughing too hard. [Or is this food-poisoning on the rebound?]
The Worst Possible Time...
Since The Monica Lewinski - Bill Clinton controversy broke 10 years ago, there have been plenty of other politicians caught in sex scandals.
Larry Craig - Outspoken Republican from Idaho who is strongly against Homosexuality and Anti-Gay Rights, was caught propositioning another man for sex in a public bath room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Mark Folley - Florida Republican who's reputation was ruined when it was reveiled that he exchanged many sexually charged Instant Messages via the internet with members of his staff including volunteers who were under the age of 18.
As a prelude to Spitzer's problems: David Vitter admitted that it was indeed his name and number that was in an Escort Services' phone records.
Gary Condit: A democrat who admitted that he had an affair with intern Chandra Levy, who was later found murdered in Rock Creek Park near Washington DC. Nobody was ever changed for that crime.
This scandal with Eliot Spitzer - As Attorney General he was The Eliot Ness of Vice in New York - reminds too many voters of another scandal that began with a news release on The Drudge Report about then President Clinton being questioned about an affair with an intern that made "Lewinski" a house hold name. Folks remember Hillary Clinton talking to Katie Couric about there being a "Vast, Right Wing Conspiracy" that was out to bring down her husband - and the charges turned out to be true. Whether or not Clinton deserved to be impeached is up to individuals like "Voters" and "Special Prosecutors," but the fact remains that this episode further reminds people of what the country endured a decade ago...
... It's also an inconvenient fact that Spitzer was also a "Super Delegate" for the Junior Senator from New York: Hillary Clinton. One can't imagine how awful she must feel with this string of bad luck right now. What are the chances that Spitzer's replacement will throw his "Super Delegate Vote" into the Obama ballot box? [Conspiracy, anyone?]
The only bright side in all of this is that this took some of the spot light way from Mr. Obama's victory last night in Mississippi after that state had it's primary.
But Why The Anger?
I was on the phone last night with a good friend of mine, and we were happening to be talking about people who are authorities and violate our trust and how it it sometimes hurts like a heart break from a trusted lover. Keeping in mind that this is a woman's perspective.
She made the point that when we look up to someone and follow them, we want something better, we want to believe that person is a better version of ourselves. We want someone who's a roll model for even adults. We what someone who can be a hero, but sadly most of the people we vote for are in fact politicians - overly ambitious lawyers with delusions of grandeur and eyes for a higher office with the mentality of "by any means necessary, just so long as I don't get caught."
What did Spitzer do that was so bad? Besides ordering up a prostitute after sending other men to jail for doing the same thing? Or that he spent thousands of dollars for some sessions? Or that he paid extra for "protection free" service? Or is it that he involved his wife and daughters in his confession to the media while trying to sound both contrite and sanctimonious at the same time?
Or is it simply the hypocrisy of it all?
Here's a news flash for Eliot Spitzer: People don't take kindly to elected officials taking advantage of their position and trust by playing games with the budget or morality. Life is pretty hard for a lot of us, and some harder then others who have to actually work for a living. We elect people to Public Office to look out for us, watch our backs and do what's best for the common good. When that's betrayed - folks get a little cheesed off and would like to take torque wrenches to the offending parties eyes. Because we're working so hard to pay TAXES, we can't always do the due-diligence and research into every candidates backgrounds and former speeches and statements. During campaign times, we pick the person through their speeches who personifies our own thoughts and beliefs, fears, wishes and desires for a better opportunity filled lives for our children. We take a leap of faith and hope that the person we vote for and elect won't make matters worse or profit off of the public trust while occupying the seat we hold out for them once they get our votes.
When we are betrayed - we can taste the bile in our mouths and we want to replace it with their blood.
The Legal Implications? Oh, How The Mighty Have Fallen...
You can just imagine those people sitting in jail right now who are watching the news wondering if this has any impact on their next parole hearing. Imagine the people who were sent to jail for either solicitation a prostitute, were arrested for prostitution or participating in the running or working for an Escort Service or other type of establishment - those people should asked to have their convictions overturned if Spitzer isn't prosecuted.... and how defendants might change their pleas or Attorney's might ask to have the cases thrown out and dismissed.
This isn't just a private matter between Spitzer, his humiliated wife and daughters. When you run for public office your life is an open book. Whether anyone likes to admit this or not - cases like this do a lot to erode things like the rule of law and the public trust, and perhaps that's a reason why the books should be thrown at Spitzer. Imagine the out-cry during the next news cycle if the current New York State Attorney General releases a statement that there won't be a prosecution against Spitzer. Might this be the precedence some have been waiting for to over-turn or change laws about this social issue.
When the final breaking news story is posted about this story in the weeks or months to come - what will remain is the sense that once again, someone who was elected to public office thought he was invincible and believed that he was above the law that he enforced - that there are another set of rules those who are in power and a separate set that the rest of us have to try and live by. There's the notion that bothers me about this - that Eliot Spitzer carried on with the mentality that we should all do as he says, and not as he does - and that's one someone like me would take great pleasure to see his resignation and further down-fall.
By the way - by the time this rant was complete - Eliot Spitzer figuratively fell on his sword....
Associated Press: "NY Gov. Spitzer resigns amid sex scandal,"
By VERENA DOBNIK and MICHAEL GORMLEY - Associated Press Writers
NEW YORK (AP) -- Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace Wednesday
after getting caught in a call-girl scandal that shattered his corruption-fighting,
straight-arrow image, saying: "I cannot allow my private failings to
disrupt the people's work."
Spitzer made the announcement without having finalized a plea deal with federal prosecutors, though a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said he is believed to still be negotiating one. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
"Over the course of my public life, I've insisted, I think correctly,
that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility
for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself," Spitzer said
at a Manhattan news conference with his wife, Silda, at his side. He
left without answering questions.
Spitzer will be replaced on Monday by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who becomes New York's first black governor. He also will be the state's first legally blind governor and its first disabled governor since Franklin D. Roosevelt..."
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