Thursday, April 08, 2010
We must never allow Eliot Spitzer, who is a huge grease ball and was even before his exposure as "client number 9," to be "rehabilitated":
It’s been scarcely two years since Mr. Spitzer, his ashen-faced wife at his side, seemed to have written his political obituary, with his taut-jawed, almost lipless grimace of resignation as governor of New York, following disclosures that he was a client in a prostitution ring. Now he is emphatically back, seemingly everywhere.
For public figures whose falls have been as spectacular as that of Mr. Spitzer’s, there are many time-tested paths to image rehab. Seclusion. Prison. Good works. The seminary.
None of those options, it seems, are for Eliot Spitzer.
Fortunately, there are people on the case, and not just we wingnuts:
The scandal shadows him still. Not only on “The Good Wife,” CBS’s show based loosely on the imbroglio, but in The New York Post, where Ashley Dupré, the prostitute he was linked to, is a sex columnist.
And more is coming: the just-published “The Journal of the Plague Year,” by his former adviser, Lloyd Constantine, and later this month, “Rough Justice: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” by Peter Elkind, an editor at large at Fortune, who was editor of the campus paper at Princeton when Mr. Spitzer was head of the student government. “That is part of what I have to deal with,” Mr. Spitzer said stiffly, “and staying under a rock won’t change that.”
It will be interesting to see how Elkind remembers Spitzer from his Princeton years. The words that bloom unbidden are "tool" and "douchebag," but I cannot say I knew him as anything other than the most ambitious campus politician of his or any other generation, which in and of itself would justify those descriptors.
My own dislike of him stems from his resurrection of New York's horrendous Martin Act to criminalize business practices, or rather to threaten to criminalize them in return for massive settlements and ridiculous regulation that did nothing, I might add, to prevent the subsequent financial crisis (other than to weaken many of the companies involved). Never mind his favorite tactic, prosecution by press release, a potent and unethical tactic that practically speaking deprives any business that relies on trust of its day in court. But there are so many other reasons to resist Spitzer's return that we do not need my petty grievances, the memories of Princeton undergraduates, or Ashley Dupré to carry the water for us.
It was his "personal stuff" that brought him down but it is the way he conducted his business/politics beforehand that makes me cringe (to put it mildly) to think about a return. Telling lines in the NYTimes article: “There’s a dumbing down of our expectations,” said Mr. Muzzio. “When you’ve got Mark Sanford and Rod Blagojevich, and other criminals in state houses, what Spitzer did doesn’t look as bad. Given the barrenness of the terrain, he may stand a little taller.”
Now that's sad.
Here is a provacative question: Under Hank Greenberg, would AIG have exposed itself as much as it did? Since Hank is one of the greatest financial minds to have ever lived, I am thinking that he would not have been as exposed and his company AIG would not have further accelerated the financial mess we just came out of.
It should not be lost on anyone that it was Elliot Spitzer's doing that forced Hank Greenberg to resign as the CEO of AIG. His "Press Release Justice" did Hank in, despite the fact that long-time Democratic financier Warren Buffet was either a trading partner or a beneficiary of some of the very same trades that MR. Spitzer found so objectionable.
TH, you do realize that if old Elliot does come back into a role of high authority he will hunt both of us down and make us pay until we are bled dry of both treasure and hope.
QuakerCat is spot on.
The following is a repost of what somebody posted here a few months ago:
"Eliot Spitzer got Hank Greenberg removed as AIG's CEO in a personal vendetta. New York's Martin Act is a license to kill in the wrong hands. Once Hank Greenberg was gone, Joe Cassano ran amok with credit derivatives at AIG. I doubt this would have happened on Hank's watch -- certainly not to the same extent. Remember this when Eliot tries a 180 spin over his involvement with AIG. [Goldman was happy to be on the other side of these trades. QED] ....
"Eliot is testing the waters for a political comeback. He's quietly saying NY Comptroller, but my money is that he wants to be NY AG again and will announce after current NY AG Andy Cuomo formally announces his bid to be NY Governor.
We need to put a stake through Eliot's heart."
I'd add that after he was out of office, one of Spitzer's NYAG cases went to the US Supreme Court. The issue on appeal was over NY jurisdiction over national banks. Eliot will now spin it that he wanted to be another cop on the beat, but the underlying case was literally about Spitzer's trying to force the banks to make more subprime loans to minorities.
Your point about Spitzer parallels my opinion about Bill Ayers. While what they are best known for is reprehensible, there are other things they did which give sufficient reason for considering them scoundrels who deserve no respect in the public arena.
In the case of Bill Ayers, his co-authoring Prairie Fire in 1974 showed that he was a hard-core Commie. Prairie Fire was dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan-the assassin of Robert Kennedy- and other "political prisoners." It advocated dictatorship of the proletariat for the US. As the peace treaty was signed the previous year, anguish over Vietnam can hardly be considered the reason for Bill Ayers's advocating dictatorship of the proletariat in 1974. Even if Bill Ayers had never done any work with bombs, his co-authoring such a screed proves him to be a scoundrel. His wife Bernadine was one of the other co-authors.(Google "zombietime" "prairie fire")
Reading "The 5000 Year Leap" and realizing how far down we have come in our expectations of our elected officials. Since the liberals have downplayed the relevance of religion and morality in our education and society, we can't expect much different. There are many intelligent and moral citizens out there. All we have to do is find them and convince them to run the gauntlet. We should not settle.