Via Legal Insurrection, CNN’s Jake Tapper opened his Thursday interview with Eliot Spitzer with a zinger: When was the last time you broke the law on prostitution, that you signed into law? As governor, Spitzer made prostitution a Class E felony. Then he broke that law and ended up resigning in disgrace.
Tapper never really let up on Spitzer, questioning his ethics and judgement throughout the interview.
But buried late in the exchange, Spitzer framed the election in a way that virtually guarantees that he will fool enough voters into thinking that he has changed enough to be trustworthy with millions of their dollars.
“In terms of redemption and forgiveness, yes, the public is forgiving,” Spitzer said. “That is a remarkably affirmative quality in the American public. Now whether that forgiveness will extend to me is an open question. And I will not know the answer to that until September 10 which is the date of the primary.”
Spitzer made it clear: If you forgive him for what he sets up as private indiscretions, you must vote him back into power. Otherwise you haven’t truly forgiven him, and that’s really on you, not him. That’s deeply shrewd and cynical, and very likely to work. No one wants to be accused of being unforgiving. Spitzer is playing on the better angels of voters’ natures to fool them one more time.
The real issue with Spitzer was better framed by, believe it not, Stephen Colbert. He also interviewed Spitzer Thursday and hit him with this whammy.
Colbert: “Eliot, Eliot, what is a comptroller? What does a comptroller do?”
Spitzer: “This is actually a hugely important position. You control or have a say in the investment of over $140 billion in pension dollars…you do the audits to determine that the tax dollars we spend are used for the purpose for which…you seem so intent on listening to this…”
Colbert: “Given a position of this responsibility, shouldn’t the job of comptroller go to someone who has shown a modicum of self-comptrol?”
That’s better, but still not quite there. What Spitzer did was masquerade as a law-and-order governor while he shattered the very law he signed. Forget his personal life for a moment and the question of whether prostitution should be legal. He signed the law that elevated it to a felony in New York. What he did speaks to his self-control in his conduct and stewardship of power. Eliot Spitzer believes in laws for thee but not for me. The self-styled “Steamroller” abused his offices as attorney general and governor to crusade against a variety of enemies. The self-styled “Sheriff of Wall Street” did not, in fact, clean up Wall Street. Everything Eliot Spitzer did and does is about Eliot Spitzer. He is unfit for office, any office, wielding any public power over anyone based on his revealed attitude toward the law.
My armchair view of Eliot Spitzer is that he is a sociopath who is addicted to power like a drug. Granted, many politicians are sociopaths and based on how Democrats treat, say, Bill Clinton versus how they treat anyone not Bill Clinton who treats women similar to the way Bill Clinton treats women, the entire Democrat establishment is composed of sociopaths. Terry McAuliffe and David Axelrod are among many prominent Democrats whose shamelessness and dishonesty reveal, at least, sociopathic tendencies. Still, when you have one before you who is so obviously a sociopath who has already proven that he will abuse power, guaranteed, book it as done, is it a good idea to hand hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to him?
Spitzer sweeps in before the question even gets asked properly, and says, if you forgive me, you will elect me. Come on baby, just give me one more chance. I’ve changed. Honest.
He hasn’t changed a bit and never will.