Spitzer: I’m probably not the guy to ask if prostitution should be legal

posted at 9:31 pm on July 8, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Aren’t you exactly the guy to ask? I sort of appreciate the question from an MSNBC host, who could have been quite kid-glovey with the former governor. It’s Michael Smerconish subbing for Chris Matthews. If we’re going circus politics, let’s go all-out Client No. 9 circus politics with squirm-worthy questions about the legality of prostitution on Day One. Spitzer and Weiner think that’s what New York wants, and that’s what New York shall get!

The answer? Eh, prostitution as in consensual sex between two adults that happens to result in payment, can sound pretty benign (if $80K sounds benign to you), kinda like smoking dope, but because it’s linked to other kinds of crime, it’s not as victimless as it might seem, or something.

Anyway, parse out this moral conundrum in comments.

Meanwhile, when it comes to reporting on political comebacks, please observe two headlines from the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza today, hours apart.

1. Eliot Spitzer is runnning for office again. And, yes, he can win

2. Why Rick Perry shouldn’t run for president again

In which a guy who has overseen three gubernatorial terms of job growth even in bad economic times for the one of the largest states in the nation and whose sin is some bad debates is dismissed out of hand while a guy who spent $80K on prostitutes while purportedly fighting the scourge of prostitution from his elected office is given a cutesy “He’s baaaaaaack” lead. And, they said I was crazy when I said John Edwards will make a comeback.

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Raquel Pinkbullet on July 8, 2013 at 9:34 PM

A great D candidate!

Bmore on July 8, 2013 at 9:34 PM

New York sure can pick ‘em. ///

annoyinglittletwerp on July 8, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Did his wife stay with him?

OmahaConservative on July 8, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Come on, of course he’s the guy to ask. As a matter of fact, I’m betting that if he wins he will refuse to pay salaries for vice officers any longer.

The better question to ask, which he might be qualified to answer, is whether rainbow boyz prostitution should be legalized.

Of course it should be legal, safe and rare — and out of the back alleys. Oh wait, … back alleys are part of the ambiance. Well, we could license certain back alleys. They all know which ones, anyway.

platypus on July 8, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Here’s my main argument against legalizing prostitution:

How can you make a form of business legal, and then say “this is only for single guys, married guys shouldn’t be doing this”?

Name another legal form of business that married guys shouldn’t be engaging in?

The first one that comes to mind is married guys going to strip joints. And I’m sure there are plenty of wives who don’t want their husbands going to strip joints.

However, if you took a poll, I’m sure that a solid majority of people would say that as long as the guy isn’t getting a lap dance, it’s fine for him to look at naked women dancing, as it’s not much different than watching a porno film or looking at pictures of naked women in Playboy.

Even when it comes to lap dances, I’d bet that people would be evenly split, since the man isn’t allowed to touch the stripper with his hands, and the stripper can’t touch the man with her hands. She can only rub up against his fully clothed body. So it’s not much different than a married man slow dancing with another woman and feeling her body against his.

On the other hand, if you took a poll and asked people if they think it’s okay for married men to have sex with prostitutes, I’d bet that a solid majority would say no.

So it seems hypocritical to turn prostitutes into legitimate small businesswomen, who would file tax returns and follow all sorts of rules and regulations, while at the same time saying “this is only for certain men, but not other men”.

Inevitably, you’d have married men saying that they’re not cheating on their wives, they’re just getting some physical therapy. Sex has all sorts of health benefits, and if a guy doesn’t think he’s getting enough sex from his wife, he can claim that he’ll run the risk of getting prostrate cancer from not having enough sex. He could also say it’s good for his heart and his circulation, especially as he gets older.

And if it’s legal, he’ll be able to make a pretty solid argument.

ardenenoch on July 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Meanwhile, when it comes to reporting on political comebacks, please observe two headlines from the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza today, hours apart.

Lapdog media behaves like lapdog media.

Until they get neutered, this will be the standard.

kim roy on July 8, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Politicians and prostitutes. Two sides of the same coin.

locomotivebreath1901 on July 8, 2013 at 9:52 PM

First Weiner and now Spitzer. New York politics! It’s not a job! It’s not an adventure! It’s a halfway house for Jewish sex perverts!

MaiDee on July 8, 2013 at 9:56 PM

My question to Spitboy: As you are a wealthy 1%’er who can obviously afford top-flight hookers, are you really capable of being in touch with the needs of the other 99%?

Come on, lefties, join in.

Bishop on July 8, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Liars and liers. How could they not go together?

Freelancer on July 8, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Politicians and prostitutes. Two sides of the same coin.

locomotivebreath1901 on July 8, 2013 at 9:52 PM

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession.
I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

- Ronald Reagan

ITguy on July 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Spitzer: I’m probably not the guy to ask if prostitution should be legal

…WHY?…how much is HE making?

KOOLAID2 on July 8, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Spitzer: I’m probably not the guy to ask if prostitution should be legal

Why not?
Obama certainly has an opinion about whether marijuana should be legal.

itsnotaboutme on July 8, 2013 at 10:11 PM

If I had a son, he would have looked like Eliot Spitzer.

John the Libertarian on July 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM

There’s always been a built-in advantage to being completely without moral standards; you never have to apologize for even the scummiest behavior and nobody has very high expectations for you anyway. Especially if you run for office in any large city.
If however, you openly express any moral concern about anything, you’ll be held accountable in the most viciously unforgiving manner for even the tiniest of transgressions.
So the smart strategy is don’t have any moral scruples.
Good Luck!

Lew on July 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM

…OMG!…that’s sorta funny!

KOOLAID2 on July 8, 2013 at 10:20 PM

…OMG!…that’s sorta funny!

KOOLAID2 on July 8, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Sorta? Nah that is funny… Both of them could campaign to bring back the good old days (before Giuliani) where business was absolutely booming down around 42 St… Now those were the good old days :)

wubu on July 8, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Spitzer: I’m probably not the guy to ask if prostitution should be legal

No, really?! What was your first clue, Sherlock?

Physics Geek on July 8, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Did his wife stay with him?

OmahaConservative on July 8, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Yes. He’s rich.

Maddie on July 8, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Why would Spitzer think New Yorkers want him to have a second bite at the Big Apple when even the hard-core Lefties at Slate Magazine couldn’t put up with him?

Maddie on July 8, 2013 at 10:57 PM

ardenenoch on July 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Clearly, you have given this a great deal of thought.

I mean, way too much thought. Like, maybe your wife should hire a private detective to follow you kind of thought.

Maddie on July 8, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Politicians and prostitutes. Two sides of the same coin.

locomotivebreath1901 on July 8, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Insert “Heads!” joke here.

Maddie on July 8, 2013 at 11:05 PM

My question to Spitboy: As you are a wealthy 1%’er who can obviously afford top-flight hookers, are you really capable of being in touch with the needs of the other 99%?

Come on, lefties, join in.

Bishop on July 8, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Bishop for the win!

Then again, what else is new?

Maddie on July 8, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Nor should Charlie Sheen be the one to ask about legality of hookers, being coked out of one’s gourd and trashing of hotel rooms…

Because in Noo Yawk if one has the connections or the bread to buy one’s way out of the system… really at this point what difference do laws make?

viking01 on July 8, 2013 at 11:17 PM

And if it’s legal, he’ll be able to make a pretty solid argument.

ardenenoch on July 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Truly you have a dizzying intellect. Marriage is you know, a contract entered into willingly. You kinda know going in that you won’t be able to cheat or if you do and are caught, there will be consequences. Well, usually… thanks no fault divorce laws!

oryguncon on July 9, 2013 at 12:21 AM

oryguncon on July 9, 2013 at 12:21 AM

I’m playing devil’s advocate. Obviously, going to a prostitute is a form a cheating. But when you make something legal, it opens up the door for all sorts of rationalizations.

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 12:43 AM

Maddie on July 8, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Actually, I’m a big believer in Black Markets.

I think marijuana should be legal, because I think it’s a recreational drug that can be enjoyed in a responsible manner, like alcohol. But I don’t think hard drugs like cocaine and heroin should be legal, because they are extremely addictive and can do a lot of harm to a person in a short amount of time. That being said, I don’t think it’s immoral for someone to use cocaine or heroin. I just don’t think it serves the greater good of society to make it legal. But if someone really wants to use heroin, and they can find someone to sell it to them, then that’s their business.

I think abortion as a form of birth control is immoral, and should be illegal. But if a woman really wants to have an abortion, and has no moral problem with it, and she can find someone who is willing to perform an abortion on her (assuming it was illegal), then that’s also her business.

Same thing with prostitution. If a guy is having a hard time getting laid, I have no problem with him hiring a prostitute. But if you legalize it, you’re eliminating the deterrent of married men possibly getting arrested and having their name printed in the newspaper and having their car impounded.

Is it a good thing for society for married men to have access to quick, easy sex with a woman who will take the money and keep her mouth shut, with no fear of getting caught?

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 12:59 AM

But when you make something legal, it opens up the door for all sorts of rationalizations.

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 12:43 AM

No. You can commit adultery legally. You can get drunk legally. The fact that a person does so doesn’t rationalize anything.

You sound as though to be searching and exploring. You should also consider the woman’s point of view, in particular, if she is uneducated, unskilled and starving. Should we as a society really force her underground and into miserable circumstances in order to survive? Can’t she practice the world’s oldest profession without being beat up by pimps and harassed by vice cops? Feminists scream for everyone else to stop making decisions about a woman’s body regarding abortion, but somehow go silent when it comes to a woman deciding about selling her body?

John the Libertarian on July 9, 2013 at 1:06 AM

Lately the government is breaking contracts left and right.

losarkos on July 9, 2013 at 1:42 AM

repost time:

Any politician who pays $5000 for sex has no chance of comprehending the common man’s struggle to get by under his leadership

/.

CaveatEmpty on July 9, 2013 at 8:01 AM

But if you legalize it, you’re eliminating the deterrent of married men possibly getting arrested and having their name printed in the newspaper and having their car impounded.

Is it a good thing for society for married men to have access to quick, easy sex with a woman who will take the money and keep her mouth shut, with no fear of getting caught?

As long as they’re not doing it in the streets, I don’t care what happens behind closed doors. I’ll let the Almighty do the judging on Freddy Foolaround there. At least he would have a lesser chance of catching an STD, if Nevada’s stringent testing guidelines are any indication.

As for the penalties serving as deterrents, impounding the car is a bit much (that should only be for reckless drivers), and too many of these communities who do the parading-the-names-in-public thing aren’t even waiting until the guy’s been convicted, which to me is violating the whole “innocent until proven guilty” edict.

TMOverbeck on July 9, 2013 at 8:24 AM

and she can find someone who is willing to perform an abortion on her (assuming it was illegal), then that’s also her business.

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 12:59 AM

The ‘doctor’ isn’t performing an abortion on her, he’s performing an abortion on the child in her womb. I think (along with Maddie) you have over-thought things.

GWB on July 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Is it a good thing for society for married men to have access to quick, easy sex with a woman who will take the money and keep her mouth shut, with no fear of getting caught?

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 12:59 AM

* Is it a good thing for marriage?
* Is it a good thing to sneak around and lie to your wife?
* Is it a good thing to take money that could be put into your retirement account or your kid’s college fund and use it for cheap pleasure?
* Is it a good thing to expose yourself and spouse to incurable, and sometimes deadly, diseases in the name of temporary pleasure?
* And, going back to the point of this article, is it a good thing for the Haves to have one set of standards and the Have Nots another? And is it a good thing to have a guy that makes that distinction in a position of public trust?

No, it’s NOT a good thing for society.

Maddie on July 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Spitzer: Vote for me for City Comptroller so I can do to the city’s finances what I did to Ashley Dupree!

And Weiner’s weiner will take care of the other women.

New York’s American Gigolo double-header!

Steve Z on July 9, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Does he go by Spitzer or Swallower?

jeffn21 on July 9, 2013 at 11:20 AM

John the Libertarian on July 9, 2013 at 1:06

I think there are strong arguments both for and against legalizing prostitution, just as there is for legalizing hard drugs. But a thoughtful society will weigh these arguments and decide which arguments hold the most weight. I don’t believe in automatically legalizing something just because you can come up with certain reasons to justify making it legal.

Legalizing prostitution will encourage married men to cheat on their wives. It creates additional temptation to the temptation that already exists. Permissive societies say “people are going to do it anyway, so why not make it legal”. Societies with strict standards say “people will be tempted to do this, so let’s make it illegal in order to encourage better behavior”.

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM

GWB on July 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Conservatives keep losing arguments because they don’t do enough thinking to come up with arguments to defend their positions that are strong enough to appeal to people who don’t naturally share their basic worldview.

I try to think outside the box in order to bring in new converts to Conservatism. If people want to accuse me of “over thinking”, I’ll take that as a compliment.

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Legalizing prostitution will encourage married men to cheat on their wives. It creates additional temptation to the temptation that already exists. Permissive societies say “people are going to do it anyway, so why not make it legal”. Societies with strict standards say “people will be tempted to do this, so let’s make it illegal in order to encourage better behavior”.

The thing is, if it’s illegal, and there’s still a demand for it, the business goes underground on the black market, where it becomes more expensive and the environment is more dangerous for both parties (as in mob tactics, no legal recourse for swindling, no efforts made in disease control). I’d rather have it legalized and stringently regulated.

And if married men will be encouraged to cheat just because a legal brothel is in their vicinity, that’s their problem. If we’re making generalizations along those lines, then weak willpower and lack of commitment is what’s ruining the institution of marriage, not two men wanting to marry each other.

Besides, why emulate the liberal busybodies such as Bloomberg and his ilk by saying “Let’s make it illegal in order to encourage better behavior”?

TMOverbeck on July 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

And if married men will be encouraged to cheat just because a legal brothel is in their vicinity, that’s their problem.

TMOverbeck on July 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM<blockquote

Unfortunately, most people are sheep. They'll do whatever society says is okay to do, and they'll be reluctant to do whatever society says isn't okay to do.

I remember when people were allowed to smoke cigarettes pretty much everywhere. There were smoking sections in restaurants, airplanes, etc. If you complained to a cigarette smoker that their smoke was bothering you, you'd likely get a nasty response back. These days, cigarettes smokers are treated as pariahs. I was recently having lunch in an outdoor section of a restaurant. A cigarette smoker sheepishly asked me if it was okay with me if she lighted up. 20 years ago, she never would have asked my permission. I see cigarette smokers standing outside of office buildings in designated smoking areas during their breaks. Their whole body language indicates that they've been made to feel ashamed of their habit by society. You go to a big wedding reception these days and no one dares to light up a cigarette. 20 years ago, the whole banquet hall would be filled with cigarette smoke.

That's social engineering! People can be convinced that just about any form of behavior is acceptable or unacceptable. If prostitution is legalized, it won't just mean that people who are already using prostitutes won't have to worry about getting arrested. It will mean that tons of people who would have previously never used a prostitute will be that much more likely to try it, including many, many married men.

ardenenoch on July 9, 2013 at 2:50 PM