was it really worth it, spitzer?

Posted on March 12, 2008

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The genie has escaped out of the bottle and there is no forcing it back in.

New York governor Eliot Spitzer has been exposed as a client of a high-end prostitution ring that may have also have money-laundering activities. After staving off the inevitable for two days, he finally caved under immense public and political pressure to resign from the job he had only held for 14 months.

Once again, with his supportive wife Silda at his side, Spitzer emerged from the Upper East Side apartment he had been holing up in for the past two days, to announce his resignation and ask for forgiveness from the public in a short statement.

“From those to whom much is given, much is expected,” Spitzer said in a brief media appearance. “I have been given much: the love of my family, the faith and trust of the people of New York and the chance to lead this state. I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

While critics are saying that his political life is essentially dead and buried, Spitzer seemed to sound a note of defiance, leaving open the possibility that this would not be the last we would hear of him.

“I go forward with the belief, as others have said, that as human beings, our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall,” he said, although he did suggest that he would not be in politics again, saying he wants to “serve the common good” “outside of politics”.

What a shame.

Here is a man with so much intelligence, energy and potential and he squandered it all, felled by the oldest of the deadly sins: lust. It was astonishingly stupid of him to throw away a high-flying career that had the potential to go so much further, at the same time humiliating and possibly, destroying his family, by engaging a prostitute young enough to be his daughter.

Prostitution might be a private issue but when a person who has built his reputation on fighting corruption, white-collar crime and even busting prostitution rings, Spitzer is inevitably held to a higher and tougher standard. He now potentially faces federal charges which could include violating the Mann Act, which criminalizes the transport of a person across state lines for the purpose of prostitution, and other charges for breaking banking laws through his payment for the prostitution services.

photo from Dupré‘s MySpace page, via the New York Times

New information and pictures have emerged on the young woman who is at the center of 48-year old Spitzer’s political demise, a 22-year old woman who would be a witness in the federal case against the people charged with running the prostitution ring to which she belonged.

The woman, whose real name is Ashley Alexandra Dupré, may be young but was she really worth putting Spitzer’s family through the wringer and prematurely upending his political career? That is an issue a hopefully castigated Spitzer would now have the time to reflect upon, and perhaps, serve as a cautionary tale to other politicians.

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