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Monday, March 10, 2008

Politics: Eliot Spitzer, Hillary Clinton: Enough!

Eliot Spitzer.

The governor of New York known for cleaning up Wall Street, the Public Sector, and yes, even prostitution, has put his hand in it, or so it would seem. Word has come down that Mr. Spitzer was caught on federal wiretap arranging for a call girl to travel from New York to Washington D.C. for sex. Not only that, but he was the reason for the investigation. Let me repeat that. Eliot Spitzer was the reason the whole investigation started. Apparently Mr. Spitzer was moving money around from account to account in a way that caused his bank to notify federal authorities of potential impropriety.

The investigation apparently began as one of Mr. Spitzer, to see if he was attempting to hide non-traditional income such as bribes. The investigation led to the arrest of four defendants thus far, and will likely lead to indictment of Mr. Spitzer on one or more charges. One assumes that the only public act left for Mr. Spitzer is to step down and relinquish the governorship of New York, as his political career is over, and he could be nothing more than a lame duck for the remainder of his current term.

While such an incident may not be fatal for every politician, Mr. Spitzer established his reputation as a reformer during eight years as New York State Attorney General. His squeaky clean image means that he can, and should, be judged more harshly than your standard everyday politician. It’s time for Mr. Spitzer to be the man of honor he’s always portrayed himself as and step aside, using the time to repair the damage he’s likely done to his family.

It occurs to me that this story has to be a nightmare for the presidential campaign of one Hillary Rodham Clinton. While no blue dress or intern was involved here, the kind of base philandering and disregard for the rule of law showed by Mr. Spitzer closely resembles that of one William Jefferson Clinton. Here in New York we are about to go through the sort of highly publicized scandal that nearly brought down the Clinton administration. This story has national legs, and has to serve as a reminder of the sort of day-to-day drudgery we had to endure with Bubba in the White House.

The associations it brings to mind for many could be a drag on the Clinton campaign, and it should be. The idea that Hillary can control Bill is a lark, and it is only a matter of time before being in the White House (even as First Maybe) goes to his head again. While there is no direct connection between Spitzer and the Clintons, this example of how scandal breaks down the ability for government to do its job should give us all pause when considering a return of co-presidents Clinton to the White House.

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