Of all the politicians in the country who might have seen the Mark Sanford scandal as a brilliant opportunity to disappear for a few days, Eliot Spitzer would have to top the list. Unfortunately, Spitzer saw Sanford’s misery as an opportunity for rehabilitation. The disgraced former governor of New York and a repeat client of prostitution rings declared himself superior to Sanford for treating women like trash. No, I’m not kidding:
THERE’S a huge difference between what South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford did, and what ex-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer did. “I didn’t fall in love with any of them,” Spitzer was overheard telling LMDC executive director Avi Schick the other day at Solo in the Sony Building on Madison, where they had the $24 prix-fixe lunch. And Spitzer didn’t use any taxpayer money on his trysts, while Sanford is reimbursing the state about $12,000 for travel expenses to Buenos Aires.
I won’t minimize what Sanford did. He betrayed his wife and his family with his affair, and he abused the trust of his constituents by spending money on junkets as a cover to meet her. Politicians at that level put their families in the public glare, and the least they can do is to refrain from action that humiliates them in front of the state or the nation. What kind of father would put his children in that position?
But that pales in comparison to what Spitzer did. Not only did Spitzer humiliate his wife through the public exposure of infidelities (and allowed her to share that humiliation by using her as a human shield during his press conference, a role Jenny Sanford pointedly did not play), Spitzer broke the very laws on prostitution that he used to build a reputation as a crusader in New York. Spitzer is right that he “didn’t fall in love with any of them,” although Girl 9 alleged quite a bit of fondness on Spitzer’s part, but is a married man buying flesh for sexual release really more honorable than a married man conducting an affair?
Spitzer had made some noises about a political comeback recently. If that’s built on the honorable practice of being a john, I think the battle will be a lot more uphill than Spitzer realizes. Via Michelle, who is not amused, and later today Kevin McCullough and I will discuss Sanford and Kevin’s call for his resignation on The Ed Morrissey Show.