Elliot Spitzer is a louse.
He cheated on his wife, for one thing, but he cheated on the people who elected him governor of New York, as well.
He’s more than a louse, he’s a hypocrite.
When he was New York’s attorney general, Spitzer went after Wall Street excesses, predatory lenders and small businesses that cheated workers. When he ran for governor, he traded on his reputation as a no-nonsense crusader for truth, justice and all that.
But now he has fallen, tripped by the one body part that spells trouble for so many powerful men — his cheating heart.
He has joined some illustrious ranks. He finds himself in the company of men like Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and Kobe Bryant.
But, unlike these men, he not only cheated on his wife he paid thousands of dollars for the privilege, up to $80,000 over time, by some accounts.
Prostitution is called a victimless crime, but there are plenty of victims in this case.
At the top of that list is Silda Spitzer, the disgraced former governor’s wife of more than 20 years. The Harvard-educated lawyer (the two met at Harvard in 1984) and amateur painter had to stand beside her husband at two separate press conferences this week, first listening to him admit to a $4,300 tryst with a young woman known to him as Kristen, then watching as he resigned his elected office.
What must she have been thinking as she stood mute by his side? What must she have been feeling?
How could he do that to a woman he claims to love? He obviously regards his marriage vows as mere words, not a lifelong, heartfelt commitment. He has violated the sanctity of his marriage, violated his wife’s trust. That may be a wound that never will heal.
But many women in similar positions forgive their straying husbands. Hillary Clinton is one example, Vanessa Bryant is another.
It’s hard to imagine these marriages ever would be the same. The pain always will linger, the doubt always creep in when he comes home late.
Spitzer says now he has resigned he will focus on his family. He should have spent more time focusing on his family and less on his own libido. His three teenage daughters will have to endure the aftermath of his whoring for years to come. All their acquaintances will know their dad was the one who paid big bucks for sex with busty 20-somethings, got caught and resigned in disgrace.
The one person who likely will benefit from Spitzer’s penchant for prostitutes is the woman Spitzer knew only as “Kristen.”
The woman, born Ashley Youmans but now calling herself Ashley Dupre, is 22 and a native of New Jersey. She can write a book, make a movie, have her own reality TV show and make millions, so long as she is comfortable with her now very-public status as a high-priced whore.
And what of Spitzer? Prosecutors could decide to make an example of him and try to send him to jail, or they could let him merely slip into the dusty back rooms of history as a sad example of the hubris of power run amok.
In the meantime, he has to try and look his wife and daughters in the eye every day. And when he looks at himself in the mirror, he has to decide whether, when he said he was sorry, did he mean he was sorry for consorting with hookers, or sorry he got caught?
Spitzer’s dalliances did accomplish one thing. He underscored the American public’s lack of faith in politicians.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle.
Elliot Spitzer is a louse.
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