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In Focus: Countdown to Spitzer’s Resignation

Why hasn't the governor of New York resigned yet? Sheryl Longin has the details you're not likely to get from television pundits.

by
Sheryl Longin

Bio

March 11, 2008 - 4:05 am

Although Fox News prematurely reported that the New York Governor would resign yesterday, the announcement never came. Twenty four hours later and still nothing. The longer Spitzer waits, the more he prolongs the agony of being front page bad news. Perhaps he enjoys the humiliation, but it’s hard to imagine his family does. Then again, after watching that two minute press conference yesterday, it’s hard to imagine their well being is very much on his mind.

Last night, the familiar TV legal analysts all stated the obvious rationale for the delay: that Spitzer’s resignation was his bargaining chip with the FBI. He would offer it up in exchange for the promise of no charges against him. Sounds good in theory, but if you think about it for longer than the five seconds given to it on television before the usual suspects move on to juicier aspects of the story, you realize that it’s absurd. Everyone knows that Spitzer is going to resign. He has to. Regardless of whether he broke the law, or whether one thinks prostitution shouldn’t even be illegal and what he does in his private life is none of our concern, how on earth can this individual take care of the People of New York’s business while he is dealing with a personal crisis of this magnitude?

Certainly, the FBI is quite aware that Spitzer’s resignation is inevitable. So in reality, it’s not much of a bargaining chip. Why then is he holding out? According to today’s NYT, his wife is partially responsible. She and close friend and adviser Lloyd Constantine were the lone voices for staying put in a Monday morning debate at the Spitzer apartment, while the majority of his staff “saw no way for him to survive.” Hmmmmm.

In a 2006 NYT article, the newly elected governor “cited Ms. Wall Spitzer’s ‘deeply held sense of ethics’.” “I rely on her very much as someone to talk to in order to resolve a tough issue,” he added. “What length of sentence to ask for, how severe a fine should be. They come down to questions of what is just and fair.”

I’m just speculating here, but it sounds to me like the governor hasn’t yet come all the way clean with his Harvard educated lawyer spouse.

Ironically, according to that same article, Mrs. Spitzer herself turned to someone else for advice on how to handle her role as a political spouse. “I figured, here’s a woman who also met her husband at law school, who had been a lawyer with a firm, whose husband was a state attorney general before he ran for governor,” she said of Senator Clinton. “There really aren’t that many role models for this.”

The two of them convened in Senator Clinton’s Manhattan office and spoke, according to Ms. Wall Spitzer, “about how to maintain a private sphere for our family and how to be helpful in my husband’s campaign.”

‘Nuff said, I guess.

Sheryl Longin is the author of Dorian Greyhound: A Novel and co-screenwriter of the movie Dick
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