New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's mandate to upend Albany by rooting out corruption and unethical behavior has been upended by his forays with high-priced hookers.
Or has it?
All signs point to a resignation today, as major news sources have reported.
There's speculation about how he might barter his high position for a Get-Out-Of-Jail (or even court) Free pass from federal prosecutors. As a governor, he's pretty well ruined anyway, most people agree. Republicans and the press won't let the public forget about the $80,000 (according to one report) Spitzer spent on Emperors Club VIP ladies, even possibly while prosecuting similar sex rings as attorney general. He won't get anything done.
The public shame of this, aside from the private shame that Spitzer gets to contend with all alone, is that he had a clear mandate from the public to shake down Albany until all the dirty money fell out of its pockets. He was not only the Sheriff of Wall Street as attorney general, but he was also a vigorous defender of environmental laws, particularly those federal laws the Bush Administration thought were written in invisible ink. Wall Street is more accountable, the air is cleaner and the water less toxic, because of Eliot Spitzer and the state coalitions of attorneys general he held together.
So here's my suggestion for a post-scandal career: Tell all.
As attorney general, and particularly as governor, Spitzer must have gained knowledge of the sleazy inner workings of what has been called the most dysfunctional state in the union. As a superdelegate and highly regarded (until this week) member of the Democratic Party, he may well know a thing or two about dirty deals at the national level, too.
What are companies hiding? What are powerful politicians? Who's pulling whose string?
It wouldn't refresh his reputation, but it would add a footnote to remind us of his otherwise successful career as a public servant. It might accomplish some piece of the goal he set out for himself when taking up residence in the Governor's Mansion. And anyway, the notoriously arrogant, intelligent and cantankerous Spitzer would be well-suited to the task. When his steamroller drops in the Hudson River, he should make sure a string of crooked politicians is tied to it.
Sheriff of Wall Street? Crusader for Clean Air? Luv Guv? How about Vigilante of Venality.
In politics, as in poker, the ace in the hole is a card you hold on to as long as you can, to extract everything you can from your competitors. Eliot Spitzer has nothing to lose. He's all in. He might as well show all his cards.
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