Monday, March 17, 2008

Gone, and Perhaps Forgotten

Today, Eliot takes a permanent walk out of politics, at least, that's his story. The Washington Post had an interesting story in the Saturday Style section. Woman have a very different view than men about Mr. Spitzer's situation. Women seem to think, "How could he put his wife through this? What was he thinking? Where can I find a pair of scissors?" Men appear to be thinking, "Chump, why did you let yourself get caught? Most men don't go looking, but sometimes it just happens. He probably had a sex addiction."

This story took the nation by storm (well, at least the urban centers of New York City and Washington, DC), I think in part because many men feel ambivalent about Spitzer's behavior, and clearly, the women do not. Spitzer's public plight has become personal, and couples everywhere are having disquieting and uncomfortable conversations.

I think most men intend to be faithful and really want to be faithful, but a signficant percentage of men have very large brains in their penises that help them understand the temptations walking past them outside of their relationships. Women are spared that domestic and evolutionary disadvantage, and it shows in their somewhat uncharitable attitude toward Mr. Spitzer.

Outside the private conversation was the spectacular flameout of Mr. Spitzer's career. Two things fueled the fireworks: apparently Mr. Spitzer is regarded in some circles as a hypocrite. I question whether America is a Christian nation when viewing how quickly so many people picked up stones and heaved them mightily in his direction, and this the week before Holy Week! Regardless of our nation's religious inclinations, it is downright pharasaical when it comes to hypocrisy - no forgiveness here.

The other element of his public downfall was vindictive payback. He had made too many enemies in New York's political establishment and in both parties. He had no political capital, and not a chance of surviving the scandal. Politicians and powerful men don't like to be crossed, and they all have very long memories, which Mr. Spitzer discovered last week. No one came to his defense.

Mr. Spitzer did some very stupid things, like creating structured transactions to finance his dalliance. He appeared to believe he was above the regulations that he had a hand in creating. In short, if he was going to sin, he should have thought of a different means to achieve his objective. Maybe his biggest flaw was an appalling lack of judgment, not about sex, but about means.

One commentator mentioned that Spitzer had to go simply because he had opened himself up to blackmail in engaging a prostitute and had become a security risk. As I've said before, the sex is nobody else's business. Criminalizing prostitution only sets up men like Mr. Spitzer to take a fall, but it doesn't eliminate any of the social problems associated with prostitution. It only drives them underground. And it does make Mr. Spitzer a security risk. I really think it's time to make the sex lives of our public officials a private matter between them and their families. Leave the rest of us in the dark.