The fall of a governor

The governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, a democrat who made a name for himself prosecuting white-collar shenanigans, was found to be a client of a high-price prostitution ring. His involvement was discovered when law enforcement officials saw suspicious wire transfers of funds that made them think the governor was laundering bribes!

As a rule, sexual misconduct dooms Republicans, but it usually is forgiven Democrats. This, however, looks to be an exception.

Power seems to blind some people, not only to morality but to common sense. Surely a reasonable governor would know that he is a public figure and so he had better stay away from activities that, if discovered, would ruin him. Perhaps such figures rise so high that they think they are entitled to whatever they want, that rules for lesser beings cannot apply to them. The mystery–and stupidity–of iniquity.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    This, however, looks to be an exception.

    This time the Mann Act is involved.

  • Carl Vehse

    This, however, looks to be an exception.

    This time the Mann Act is involved.

  • Bror Erickson

    I sometimes wonder if they aren’t intentionally committing political suicide, going down their way. From what I understand Spitzer’s incompetance was catching up with him. He probably was not going to make another term in office. Maybe he thought this was a better way to bow out, than losing an election. Certainly, it was more fun. Even if somewhat hypocritical on his part. Maybe it wasn’t so much the power but the prospect of losing power?

  • Bror Erickson

    I sometimes wonder if they aren’t intentionally committing political suicide, going down their way. From what I understand Spitzer’s incompetance was catching up with him. He probably was not going to make another term in office. Maybe he thought this was a better way to bow out, than losing an election. Certainly, it was more fun. Even if somewhat hypocritical on his part. Maybe it wasn’t so much the power but the prospect of losing power?

  • Joe

    I know it is technically not irony but Mr. Spitzer, as governor, championed and signed into effect certain enhancements to New York’s criminal penalties for human trafficking. Human trafficking is defined as paying (or forcing etc) someone to cross state lines for the purposes of engaging in illicit behavior. Mr. Spitzer’s companions on several occasions were brought from Washington DC to New York for their meetings. Mr. Spitzer may very well be one of the first people prosecuted under the law he championed and signed.

  • Joe

    I know it is technically not irony but Mr. Spitzer, as governor, championed and signed into effect certain enhancements to New York’s criminal penalties for human trafficking. Human trafficking is defined as paying (or forcing etc) someone to cross state lines for the purposes of engaging in illicit behavior. Mr. Spitzer’s companions on several occasions were brought from Washington DC to New York for their meetings. Mr. Spitzer may very well be one of the first people prosecuted under the law he championed and signed.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m a NY resident and live in a very democratic area. Here is one time I think that a democrat won’t get away with this kind of scandal. Why? Spitzer was “Mr. Clean” who made his constituents motivated and energized about reforming NY after years of suffering under a RINO. In reality, however, Spitzer began to disappoint everyone after raising prices of taxes and “fees” dramatically, creating a big mess with the investigations of Joe Bruno, and the whole deal with drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens. I may be wrong, but that’s my thought on it.

    Thank you!

  • Elizabeth

    I’m a NY resident and live in a very democratic area. Here is one time I think that a democrat won’t get away with this kind of scandal. Why? Spitzer was “Mr. Clean” who made his constituents motivated and energized about reforming NY after years of suffering under a RINO. In reality, however, Spitzer began to disappoint everyone after raising prices of taxes and “fees” dramatically, creating a big mess with the investigations of Joe Bruno, and the whole deal with drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens. I may be wrong, but that’s my thought on it.

    Thank you!

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    “As a rule, sexual misconduct dooms Republicans”. Notable recent exceptions to that rule include David Vitter, Rudy Giuliani, and possibly Larry Craig (still in office, though opting not to run again).

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    “As a rule, sexual misconduct dooms Republicans”. Notable recent exceptions to that rule include David Vitter, Rudy Giuliani, and possibly Larry Craig (still in office, though opting not to run again).

  • Bruce

    “Mr. Spitzer may very well be one of the first people prosecuted under the law he championed and signed.”

    A kind of “Bellerophontic Letter”?

  • Bruce

    “Mr. Spitzer may very well be one of the first people prosecuted under the law he championed and signed.”

    A kind of “Bellerophontic Letter”?

  • Don S

    tODD, “usually” does not mean “always”. However, Vitter was harmed, in that his gubernatorial run was doomed in 2002 because of prostitution allegations. What saved him in the “madam” scandal of 2007 is that the allegations were for misconduct nearly 10 years ago, and his wife had his back, strongly asserting that he had dealt with those issues 5 years ago, had repented of them, and sought forgiveness from his family.

    I believe Giuliani’s presidential candidacy was seriously harmed by his philandering past, though there were no allegations he did anything illegal. As for Craig, he is ending his senate career this year, so how can you say he wasn’t ruined by the “mens room” incident?

  • Don S

    tODD, “usually” does not mean “always”. However, Vitter was harmed, in that his gubernatorial run was doomed in 2002 because of prostitution allegations. What saved him in the “madam” scandal of 2007 is that the allegations were for misconduct nearly 10 years ago, and his wife had his back, strongly asserting that he had dealt with those issues 5 years ago, had repented of them, and sought forgiveness from his family.

    I believe Giuliani’s presidential candidacy was seriously harmed by his philandering past, though there were no allegations he did anything illegal. As for Craig, he is ending his senate career this year, so how can you say he wasn’t ruined by the “mens room” incident?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@7), why do you think Giuliani’s candidacy was harmed by his “philandering”? None of the articles I found covering his dropping out mentioned anything about it. His campaign just bled support until he had to give up.

    Craig may not be running again, but that is rather different than being forced out of office mid-term, either electorally or by popular acclaim. The fact is that he remains in office, as does Vitter. I doubt we can say the same about Spitzer for long.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@7), why do you think Giuliani’s candidacy was harmed by his “philandering”? None of the articles I found covering his dropping out mentioned anything about it. His campaign just bled support until he had to give up.

    Craig may not be running again, but that is rather different than being forced out of office mid-term, either electorally or by popular acclaim. The fact is that he remains in office, as does Vitter. I doubt we can say the same about Spitzer for long.

  • Don S

    Well, tODD, it was Spitzer’s choice to resign. He is facing serious criminal charges, unlike Craig, whose problems only came to light because he settled his charges. Two things on Craig: 1) his term is over this year, so those who wanted him to resign realized it was probably futile to try and force him out; 2) Craig was caught before he actually did anything. Spitzer’s crimes for which he has been indicted are much more serious than Craig’s. However, I am certain Craig would have been pursued for his resignation if he had not been in the last year of his senate term.

    As for Guiliani, I know many, many people who stated on the record (myself included) that they would never vote for him because of his personal character. The allegations that came out about him misusing state police assets in connection with his affair definitely was a drag on his campaign — his number plummeted at that point. And, again, he didn’t do anything criminal, like Spitzer did.

    Summary:

    1) Vitter — lost his opportunity to run for governor in 2002, kept his office, despite pressure to resign, because allegations very old, strong wife support, no criminal charges.

    2) Craig — kept his office only because he is a “short-timer”. Minor criminal charges, settled through plea.

    3) Giuliani — campaign began to tank last summer/fall when trooper allegations emerged, many voters refused to consider him, dropped out of race, no criminal charges.

    4) Spitzer — activities are current, pernicious, longstanding, serious criminal charges. However, biggest reason why media turned on him and why he has little support is because he is hated by many, since he has always been a self-righteous, hypocritical jerk.

  • Don S

    Well, tODD, it was Spitzer’s choice to resign. He is facing serious criminal charges, unlike Craig, whose problems only came to light because he settled his charges. Two things on Craig: 1) his term is over this year, so those who wanted him to resign realized it was probably futile to try and force him out; 2) Craig was caught before he actually did anything. Spitzer’s crimes for which he has been indicted are much more serious than Craig’s. However, I am certain Craig would have been pursued for his resignation if he had not been in the last year of his senate term.

    As for Guiliani, I know many, many people who stated on the record (myself included) that they would never vote for him because of his personal character. The allegations that came out about him misusing state police assets in connection with his affair definitely was a drag on his campaign — his number plummeted at that point. And, again, he didn’t do anything criminal, like Spitzer did.

    Summary:

    1) Vitter — lost his opportunity to run for governor in 2002, kept his office, despite pressure to resign, because allegations very old, strong wife support, no criminal charges.

    2) Craig — kept his office only because he is a “short-timer”. Minor criminal charges, settled through plea.

    3) Giuliani — campaign began to tank last summer/fall when trooper allegations emerged, many voters refused to consider him, dropped out of race, no criminal charges.

    4) Spitzer — activities are current, pernicious, longstanding, serious criminal charges. However, biggest reason why media turned on him and why he has little support is because he is hated by many, since he has always been a self-righteous, hypocritical jerk.

  • Reg Schofield

    Power corrupts , not just in money . So many things could be said but who knows all the in and outs . When one is in charge , you can almost feel as if no one can touch you or you become blinded by your desires and if you don’t have a person or fellowship to hold you accountable , you are doomed .
    Before people go all ballistic on him and yes he needs to be held accountable ,take ownership and resign, he also needs the gospel . We love to watch the mighty fall , all the while hiding sins in our own lives at times , saying , see I’m not as bad as that guy . The message of the cross is for such as these . I just feel sorry for him and his family . We should pray for his family . We should never gloat over another’s fall because there by the grace of God go I!!

  • Reg Schofield

    Power corrupts , not just in money . So many things could be said but who knows all the in and outs . When one is in charge , you can almost feel as if no one can touch you or you become blinded by your desires and if you don’t have a person or fellowship to hold you accountable , you are doomed .
    Before people go all ballistic on him and yes he needs to be held accountable ,take ownership and resign, he also needs the gospel . We love to watch the mighty fall , all the while hiding sins in our own lives at times , saying , see I’m not as bad as that guy . The message of the cross is for such as these . I just feel sorry for him and his family . We should pray for his family . We should never gloat over another’s fall because there by the grace of God go I!!

  • Don S

    You are, of course, right Reg, but we can rejoice that this unrighteous unjust man has been removed from public office.

  • Don S

    You are, of course, right Reg, but we can rejoice that this unrighteous unjust man has been removed from public office.

  • Carl Vehse

    Ann Coulter’s latest column deals with Client No. 9:

    According to the wiretaps, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was delighted to be getting the prostitute “Kristen” again. At least he knew her name. It took Monica Lewinsky’s boyfriend six sexual encounters to remember her name (raising his lifetime average to 8.2)….

    That was always the advantage Clinton had: We never expected any better. He went from Skunk Trot, Ark., to Skunk Trot, Ark. Spitzer fell from Fifth Avenue to Skunk Trot, Ark.

  • Carl Vehse

    Ann Coulter’s latest column deals with Client No. 9:

    According to the wiretaps, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was delighted to be getting the prostitute “Kristen” again. At least he knew her name. It took Monica Lewinsky’s boyfriend six sexual encounters to remember her name (raising his lifetime average to 8.2)….

    That was always the advantage Clinton had: We never expected any better. He went from Skunk Trot, Ark., to Skunk Trot, Ark. Spitzer fell from Fifth Avenue to Skunk Trot, Ark.

  • Carl Vehse

    And then there’s the Saturday Night Live segment, “Really!?! – with Seth and Amy” (http://www.primetimepolitics.com/primetime/site/video/saturday_night_live_on_eliot_spitzer/)

    Some great lines:

    You know, as a rule, if something has “VIP” in the title, it’s not for VIPs.

    And Silda, Silda, God bless your strength and your fortitude, but you didn’t have to stand there. Really! Tammy Wynette would not have stood there!

  • Carl Vehse

    And then there’s the Saturday Night Live segment, “Really!?! – with Seth and Amy” (http://www.primetimepolitics.com/primetime/site/video/saturday_night_live_on_eliot_spitzer/)

    Some great lines:

    You know, as a rule, if something has “VIP” in the title, it’s not for VIPs.

    And Silda, Silda, God bless your strength and your fortitude, but you didn’t have to stand there. Really! Tammy Wynette would not have stood there!

  • Carl Vehse

    What are NY voters snortin’ when they cast their ballots?

    Is being an adulterer now a prerequisite for becoming NY governor?!?

  • Carl Vehse

    What are NY voters snortin’ when they cast their ballots?

    Is being an adulterer now a prerequisite for becoming NY governor?!?


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