Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Seeing as how he was such a zealot, we probably should have guessed he had some skeletons, but nevertheless I don't think anyone saw this coming.

I think the egregiousness of Spitzer's crime lies mainly in expectations. No one had any idea that Spitzer was doing this stuff. There weren't any rumors or stories that I know of about him having any proclivity for prostitutes, whereas there had been rumors about Larry Craig and David Vitter and Mark Foley (and, interestingly, Mitch McConnell; I see another bombshell somewhere in our future!). He doesn't fit the stereotype of the crooked politician. He's not an unctuous, smooth talking, cigar smoking senator or a fiery Republican morality policeman. In fact, it seems so unlike him because he's exactly the opposite, a liberal reformist hard-nosed prosecutor and a "cold fish."

And for the love of Pete, can we stop calling it a "prostitution ring?" He called an escort service. Can I order my journalism a little less sensationalist, please?

The whole affair has also sparked some arguments about whether prostitution should be decriminalized/legalized, which involves discussions of whether it is "victimless" and whether it is qualitatively different from legal things like pornography. Civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald and feminist Amanda Marcotte are making the most cogent arguments for and against. Marcotte's insight on the myth of the "Sad, Unfuckable John" and the power dynamic between prostitute and john is particularly strong.

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