March 12, 2008

The left, right or wrong

There are certain things a person can do to increase the amount of unwanted e-mails they receive. The first thing is to have an e-mail address. The second thing is to use it, ever. The third thing is to donate money to a political party.

Oh my goodness, do I ever get e-mails from Democrats. Half of them ask me for donations, the other half want me to sign petitions or call my representatives in Congress. And sometimes I do sign those petitions, even though I'm dubious about how convincing such easily accomplished activism can be. But I did not sign yesterday's petition, in which the good folks at urge Governor Spitzer not to resign...because that's insane, obviously he should resign. But, they say, that would just be knuckling under to the right-wing conspiracy

Dear Governor Spitzer,

Don't let the Republicans and the rightwing media drive you out of office!

You made a lot of powerful enemies in your career because you took on the most powerful crooks on Wall Street. Now your enemies are trying to get even by destroying your career and your life. Don't let them!

The whole investigation by the Bush Administration stinks to high heaven. This isn't a case of "structuring" or "money laundering." The FBI never investigates johns - so why are they investigating you?

The answer is obvious. George Bush and Karl Rove turned the Justice Department into the political destruction arm of the Republican Party. They've prosecuted 5.6 Democrats for every Republican.

That's why former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is rotting in jail, and that's what they want to do to you.

As Americans, we are outraged by Bush's endless abuses of justice. If anyone should be removed from office, it's George Bush!

Governor Spitzer, please stand and fight against this outrageous and naked partisan Republican assault. We support you!

Uh-huh. Nice job turning that around into a call for Bush's impeachment, You're just like the people with the out-of-place anti-war placards at a reproductive rights rally. This makes everyone look lame. Try to stay on topic?

And seriously, let's not compare Spitzer and Siegelman. Don Siegelman seems to have been railroaded on trumped-up charges, whereas Eliot Spitzer has quite obviously been caught with his hand in the prostitute jar. Sure -- it's possible that this turned up because the FBI was looking for something in the first place, but it still wouldn't be a problem if, oh, Eliot Spitzer hadn't been hiring expensive escorts on a regular basis.

Anyway, I don't think he ought to resign because I'm morally offended that someone would hire a prostitute. I could care less. Prostitution ought to be legalized, as far as I'm concerned. (I am morally offended that he cheated on his wife -- which some readers may find potentially risible coming from someone who is married and has a long-term girlfriend, but those people would be forgetting the key issue of mutual consent, clearly absent here -- but cheating in itself is probably not a resigning-from-office offense. Although maybe it should be! Anyone else think that Al Gore would have actually won versus Bush if he'd already been in office at election time, thanks to a Clinton resignation?)

No, I think Spitzer ought to resign because he's a huge hypocrite. If you made your name as a state attorney general busting prostitution rings, you give up your moral right to avail yourself of the company of prostitutes. Come on now.

Unfortunately, there is no clicky box with a sentiment to that effect on the petition.

Posted by Francis at 09:13 AM

I didn't realize there was a prostitute jar. That sounds kind of inhumane.

Posted by: The Dan at March 12, 2008 10:48 AM

Wow. I was kinda enjoying the nasty and vicious responses from Democrats and lefties who were largely saying "what an asshole, I hope he resigns today, the prick". I knew I was just saving up agita for myself when in a week or two the other side started claiming we were hypocrites for supporting Spitzer, despite the clear record of nasty and vicious responses, but I was enjoying it anyway. Now if are really going to support him, then there's nothing to enjoy about the whole thing.

What's your personal record now for Governors-resigned-in-disgrace? I'm at two, and that's not counting the one who resigned to take an ambassadorship he didn't get.


Posted by: Vardibidian at March 12, 2008 11:06 AM

Eh. I think he should resign because of the potential effect of his story on the presidential campaign - and that's pretty much it. It's a personal matter. I'm not married to that view, though.

Posted by: Ken at March 12, 2008 11:35 AM

Dan: See, that's exactly why the industry needs to be regulated.

Vardibidian: I can only think of Arizona's Evan Mecham, who did not resign but was impeached (and I was only technically an Arizona resident at the time; mostly I was in New Mexico attending college).

Posted by: Francis at March 12, 2008 11:42 AM

He's resigning anyway, but for the record, I was in favor of his resignation, but then got turned against it by Talking Points Memo, who point out that prostitution, of all the public crimes there are, rarely results in conviction or jail time anyway--for precisely the reason you mention: it doesn't hurt anyone and ought to be fucking legal. Yes, he's a hypocrite, but hypocrisy in one area doesn't mean he won't continue to go after corporate malfeasance, which is what he made most of his career on (and which is why I voted for him). If Barney Frank had resigned after he was caught with a gay prostitute, the House of Representatives would be much poorer. I'm glad that didn't happen, and I think if Spitzer had stuck this out, it would have eventually just become a punchline, but not a serious moral point, the way the press winked at Giuliani having had a mistress. But if he wants to resign in order to take one for the team, and in the process we get our first blind governor, I guess that's progress of a sort as well.

Posted by: Bourbon Cowboy at March 12, 2008 11:55 AM

According to Geraldine Ferraro, David Paterson is lucky to be blind.

Posted by: Francis at March 12, 2008 12:08 PM

But seriously. Would this have blown over? I guess it's possible. But the scandal is so huge, I just don't see how he could have possibly governed after this. Moot point now, though, I suppose.

Posted by: Francis at March 12, 2008 12:14 PM

Hmm, who is anyway? They're not actually the party proper, right?

Posted by: dave glasser at March 12, 2008 12:26 PM

No, they're an activist group along the lines of MoveOn.

Posted by: Francis at March 12, 2008 12:36 PM

Am I misunderstanding the situation, or isn't the real legal problem that he used state money to pay for the "incidentals" (travel, hotel, minibar)?

Posted by: Jon88 at March 12, 2008 12:56 PM

That part I don't know any details about (so if anyone's read anything to that effect, please chime in). I was under the impression that the escorts were hired on trips that were otherwise official business, so expenses like the hotel room would be legit even if he was having sex in it. Now, if he used state money to pay for the prostitutes, that would be another thing -- but I think he's wealthy enough that he wouldn't need to do that.

Posted by: Francis at March 12, 2008 01:03 PM

Here's where Spitzer cedes any claim to being pro-woman: He was looking to buy sex without a condom. Was he first going to submit his medical records so she'd have reasonable evidence that he wasn't going to transmit any diseases to her?

Posted by: Orange at March 12, 2008 01:41 PM

Yeah, that's another check mark in the skeeve column.

Posted by: Francis at March 12, 2008 02:06 PM

Why resign? The mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, didn't - he made his girlfriend resign. His old lady actually HELD HIS HAND while he apologized for his kwame-salami slinging. But here's what I really want to know: Who were the morons that Spitz was kissing on the mouth in the reception line after his apology?
Just lovely.

Posted by: TwoDogs at March 13, 2008 11:59 AM

heh heh heh "naked partisan Republican assault" it just writes itself really.

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