John Podhoretz is “Explaining Eliot: He’s bonkers — and always was:”
I don’t mean he’s nuts in a tinfoil-hat sense. I mean that he doesn’t respond to reality in a normal way, and therefore misjudges reality and himself.
Remember that Spitzer took office in a colossal landslide victory in 2006, a victory that gave him unprecedented leeway. He then proceeded systematically to destroy himself.
It wasn’t just his use of prostitutes, or his shocking efforts to get his bank to commit a violation of federal law and not report a large cash-transfer transaction. Long before that came to light, he had turned his victory to ashes.
He did so by waging bizarre personal vendettas against politicians he could have co-opted to create a governing coalition that would have made his governorship a triumph rather than a catastrophe.
Instead, he threatened and screamed and denounced and went around using the state police to gather political intelligence against a foe — a felonious act.
And even liberal Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza admits that “Eliot Spitzer isn’t sorry. Not really:”
Asked by Mika Brzezinski about the various tabloid headlines bashing his past indiscretions, Spitzer replied: “I am mystified by the attention and the focus on that.”
Spitzer really revealed his thinking, however, in a back and forth with Time’s Mark Halperin.
“There is a difference between public and private lives,” Spitzer said in response to a question about whether lying to the public was disqualifying for a public official. “There is a divide there that is something we do want to think about at a certain point and time.” We all know politicians dissemble all the time about negotiations on substantive issues and probably on personal issues as well.”
Later, Spitzer added: “I lied about personal sexual activity.”
Read between the lines of Spitzer’s remarks and here’s what you get: He simply doesn’t believe that his actions as a private citizen could or should heavily impact how the voting public judges his actions in elected office. He views his frequenting of a prostitution service as a personal foible that pales in comparison to the record he built up as state attorney general and then governor, crusading against the excessives of Wall Street.
“Elliot Spitzer doesn’t concede you have the right to judge him for breaking the law while the chief law enforcement officer of a state, or of going after some mob-connected prostitution rings and yet not others,” Ace writes. “He insists is none yo’ bizness.”
If Elliot Spitzer, crusading, business-destroying leftist wouldn’t accept such a stance from a CEO he was about to publicly defenestrate, why should the general public accept it from him?
Other than of course, that he needs the job. As Kyle Smith noted in April regarding Spitzer’s doppelganger, “Of course Weiner wants to run for mayor — what private company would ever hire him?”
The liability problem alone would dissuade most firms from hiring a jackass like Weiner: What if this married man sent a sexy photo to a much younger woman who didn’t appreciate it so much? Suddenly you, his employer, have to hire a lot of expensive lawyers to defend a sexual-harassment suit. Question No. 1 of the deposition: Given Weiner’s past history, didn’t you show reckless disregard for the expectation of your employees to be free from sexual harassment?
Yet politicians like Weiner know that with enough money and political shenanigans, they can fool enough voters to get into office. These people are in charge of decisions that involve millions (or, in the case of Congress, trillions) of dollars of our money, yet we shrug and say, “They’re all alike, aren’t they?”
As Mayor Bloomberg pointed out, “The average legislator who has to make policy on things that influence our lives, our kids’ lives, our future, would they ever get a job in the private sector making policy on big things? No, not a chance. And yet these are the ones we keep re-electing.”
Electing someone to represent us in high public office is something we, the citizens, should take a little more seriously than we do. Do we really want such a man of such weak character — such a rampant narcissist, such a pathetic liar — to stand up for us and be the face we present to the world?
If Anthony Weiner ever becomes our mayor, the primary piece of information everyone from here to Mumbai will know about him is that he was solely responsible for one of the most memorable and hilarious political scandals of the last 50 years.
We’re supposed to be the leading city on earth, and we are. Why would we want such a lowlife to be our leader?
And quite possibly in stereo with Spitzer. Well, it certainly make the pundit class’s job remarkably easy, so having Spitzer-Weiner back in office has that going for it, at least.
Update: “If Spitzer is elected, he could make the next mayor’s life miserable.” If that Mayor happens to be Anthony Weiner, pass the popcorn — assuming Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t ban it on his way out of office.