Even though the media is using terms like “shocking” and “bombshell” to describe the revelations that Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer had used the services of a high end prostitution ring, it isn’t really much of a surprise that another powerful politician is caught up in a sex scandal. In my mind, Spitzer’s anti-crime crusader rhetoric is no different than Sen. Larry Craig being vehemently anti-gay, or Sen. David Vitter being a staunch public defender of marriage and family values all the while cheating on his wife with prostitutes.
Late Monday afternoon, Spitzer held the now standard press conference, complete with his wife by his side. “I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family,” Spitzer said. New York’s Republican Assembly leader James Tedisco already called for Spitzer to resign, “Today’s news that Eliot Spitzer was likely involved with a prostitution ring and his refusal to deny it leads to one inescapable conclusion: He has disgraced his office and the entire state of New York. He should resign his office immediately.” The Republican Governors Association has also called for Spitzer to resign.
Spitzer spent eight years as attorney general of New York. If anyone should have known that he would be caught; one would think that it would be the former attorney general, but politics and sex scandals go hand in hand. Politicians are people who have been successful in their professions. They are also not used to hearing the word no, and they are used to getting what they want. The higher the office, the bigger the ego involved. I can only guess that Spitzer’s ego won out over his brain.
The media and the American public love these types of scandals because they reaffirm the popular belief that all politicians are corrupt hypocrites. Many Americans believe that they are morally better than their politicians. Scandal’s like Spitzer’s reinforce the cultural belief that politicians are sleazy and can’t be trusted. This type of conduct cuts across party lines. Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats. One party is not better than the other, but Spitzer was at best stupid and at worst a hypocrite. Sadly, these types of scandals are all too common, and in a few months, I’ll probably be back here talking about the latest morally challenged politician.