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As Long as We Remember...

March 17, 2008

Political Pornography

Steven R. Berryman

Just imagine that – in 10 years or so – you will be reminding yourself of just where you were and what you were doing when Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D., N.Y.) abruptly resigned his sacred office. Not!


Forced from office under a scandal for paying for sex.


This was mitigated somewhat by the word that it was a “high-end” outcall service!


Did that really make it better or more sanitary? Media reports made it sound so.


For the record, I was listening to the Laura Ingraham radio show, when she was bragging about not jumping on the faux outrage bandwagon while enjoying the boost to her listenership.


For much of America, this has been a non-event. The hypocrisy plays out like Kabuki Theater, formatted and predictable to a disillusioning degree. For the media, it was a big party! Glee overcame The New York Stock Exchange selling floor with an eruption of cheers.


Outrage? Not so much.


Why do we so vicariously enjoy seeing an important man fall from grace? Why – at the same time – are we curious to know the salacious details? Human nature can thus be observed as a curiosity to behold.


More than $5,000 for a train ride to Washington and four hours of work was the deal. At a minimum, I hope he got some chit-chat and a back rub along with the package. It only cost him his entire career, his credibility forever, and possibly a family. And what was it he was standing up for again in his political life?


While gaining his career moxy, the governor actually put a couple of houses of ill repute out of business himself. Too bad about that clumsy wire transfer of $9,999 to The Emperor’s Club in his own name. The Department of Justice picked right up on that, right on cue, especially when he asked the bank teller after the fact: “Can I take my name off of that one?” Or so the story goes.


How had this been wonton behavior gone undetected for five years without detection and to the tune of $85,000? Help from handlers and a wink and a nod from the media must have helped. Were others thusly supporting his “liberal agenda?” We will never know for certain, but potentially, how Kennedy-esque.


A good friend of mine from Bogotá, Colombia, called me while in New York City the same day and wanted to know how this important man had been so stupid. How embarrassed I must feel to be American. His comment was that in his country a “man of honor” would have certainly had minions make the financial arrangements and act the fire-wall in such a European style transaction. No big deal to much of the world. Interesting perspective.


The critical element in the story was severely under-reported. Eliot Spitzer’s wife, as reported in the media, had – upon discovery of the prostitution scandal – encouraged him to attempt to stay in office! She was certainly quick to “stand by her man” as the country song goes.


Déjà vu. Doesn’t that sound a lot like a First Lady Hillary and President Bill Clinton story? They must like country music, too.


Too bad about the loss of that Democratic super-delegate slot that goes away with the governor as it would have gone to Hillary Clinton. Ironic, huh?


Here are my predictions for the “rest of the story.” Ashley, the Lady of the Evening, will do a Playboy centerfold, have a hit song selling on the Internet, get rich doing celebrity appearances, write a tell-all book, apologize, find Jesus, and meet Oprah Winfrey.


And for the now ex governor, he will leave politics forever, get divorced, apologize, and then say he was on psychotropic drugs, meet Howard Stern, and then get into his own radio talk show business with the program called “Eliot in the Morning After.”


His guests will include Dr. Judy, Heidi Fleiss, Xaviera Hollander, and an as yet to name “Black Book” famed personality from a local Frederick radio station!


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