The same urge that drives men to seek and acquire political power routinely manifests, as history has shown us for centuries, in appetites for the company of women outside the bounds of marriage and Christian propriety. As Norman Mailer once suggested about the incessant catting around attributed to John F. Kennedy, “He probably thought that one wasn’t any good without the other.” It’s very common, very typical, very no-big-deal. Read a history book. Read “Plutarch’s Lives.” Consider how Europeans deal with such reports when they come up.
Still, the breaking news that New York governor Eliot Spitzer will soon make a public admission about having been “involved” in a prostitution ring, the word “involved” apparently being a euphemism for having paid for the services of a high-class hooker, is a bit of a mind-blower, given his reformist/crime-fighting credentials. As an MSNBC commentator just said, “He was Mr. Straight-Arrow …he was Eliot Ness.”
A New York Times story by Danny Rakim and William H. Rashbaum says that “a person with knowledge of the governor’s role [in the scandal] said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified in court papers as “client #9” of the Emperors Club VIP, a high-priced service that was busted a few days ago with offered prices of $1000 to $5500 a pop.
“The governor’s travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February, [and that] one of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, the Emperors Club VIP on the night of Feb. 13,” the Times story says.
Given reports that federal prosecutors have copies of text messages sent by Spitzer “requesting a meeting” with an Emperors Club rep or “service provider” (according to televised reports), it may be that a self-destructive urge was merged in this instance with the usual-usual. In the final analysis it was a personal mistake that didn’t involve corruption or financial wrong-doing or overt criminality. He was just a “john.” An incredibly stupid move, but in the realm of political misconduct this is a misdemeanor-level thing.