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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 11, 2008

spitzer: maybe name is destiny

Filed under: q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 2:12 pm

The f/k/a Gang has been trying pretty hard to be less judgmental lately. But, today, I really want to scream out my contempt for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, in the wake of news of his ongoing consumer-level participation in a high-priced prostitution ring. (see coverage at NYT, and this Daily Gazette editorial, March 11, 2008) Although I voted for the man, I’ve used this weblog in the past to point out his bloated ego and arrogance, and his need to demonstrate less IQ and more EQ. Instead of justifiable rage, I think I’ll try a little humor and a wee bit of social studies philosophy.

First a tired smile over Surname Destiny: Little did we know when we pointed out the meaning of the German word “spitze” two years ago — “pinnacle, but also a sting or a prick” — that we were wading into the deep waters of both destiny and double-entendre. No need to elaborate.

But, speaking of destiny, veteran columnist, curmudgeon, and hound of hypocrisy, Carl Strock of the Schenectady Daily Gazette (who we spotlighted here) had the very good luck to have scheduled the launch of his brand new weblog Strock Freestyle for today. In his very first posting, titled “Spitzer’s downfall,” Carl reminds us:

StrockCarl “we are talking not about succumbing to temptation in a moment of weakness, like maybe catching the eye of a good-looking hooker while sitting alone in a cocktail lounge. We’re talking about very careful scheming over a period of time.”

That’s a great lead-in for my little Post-Spitzer-Prostitution Social Studies Lecture:

. . . An Open Letter to Politicians & Candidates and their Spinners . . .

I am already sick of hearing the apologists for Eliot Spitzer — like his old Harvard Law Professor and criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz this morning on — and those who made all the same noises when Bill Clinton was caught with his pants down. We understand what it is like to have strong sexual urges and to be tempted. However, neither sin nor sexual liberation is the point.

The point is this: If you are going to come forth and ask for the responsibility of leadership (and, especially if you are pointing out your virtues or your virtuous, reformist goals for better government), you need to keep your spitze in your trousers in any situation where that zipper is expected by reasonable members of the public to be zipped. That goes double when laws (even silly old ones) are being broken, but it includes all situations where your behavior is likely to

  • embarrass or humiliate your spouse and children, or leave your most idealistic supports and loyal staff disheartened (and possibly unemployed)
  • give your political opponents ammunition that will weaken your ability to achieve your goals (or otherwise put your agenda into jeopardy), should you be able to survive in office
  • give people who are unstable, immature (e.g.,. Monica Lewinski), unsavory or unscrupulous (e.g., organized crime members) the ability to blackmail you for money or political favors; or
  • make you decide to lie under oath

You do not need to be perfect or a saint to avoid these kinds of career-killing, crisis-creating, cynicism-nurturing situations. You do need to a responsible, mature adult. If you can’t keep that little spitze under control, please stay out of government. Politics is disappointing enough already, without our self-anointed saviors and savants being so selfish or arrogant that they think they can play Russian Roulette with their reputations, leaving those that love and trust them the most to suffer the consequences and pick up the pieces — and making it even easier for those who want to argue that all pols or all government is evil to score cheap shots and make a few new converts.

afterwords (March 19, 2008): Spitzer’s successor, David A. Paterson, was surely right to confess and discuss his extramarital affairs at the start of his term as Governor of New York.  At his press conference, Gov. Paterson said  he wanted to avoid being blackmailed:  “I didn’t want to be compromised, I didn’t want to be blackmailed, I didn’t want to hesitate taking an action because the person on the other end might hurt me or my family.”  “New Governor and Wife Talk of Past Affairs” (New York Times, March 19, 2008)

through the open door . . .
her smile doesn’t forgive
all my sins

snowblind on the range:
homesteader feels
the barbwire home

…………………………. by Randy Brooks from School’s Out

p.s. Prof. Steve (“schadenfreude is fun”) Bainbridge has always delighted in pointing out the foibles of Eliot Spitzer. So, it is no surprise he has quite a line up of postings on the topic today, while linking to an instant new YouTube mockudrama on Spitzer the John, as well as his older YouTube link to Don Spitzer. And, see psychologist Dr. Susan Dunn’s look at Spitzer and EQ (and her attempt to drum up some new business)

the load tied down –
her painted toe nails
on the dashboard

always takes his time
the custodian watches
the floor dry

zoo safari trail….spitzerG
ant caravans travel
the railing

……………. by Tom Clausen Upstate Dim Sum (2003/II)

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