Monday, August 19, 2013

Eliot Spitzer's Dirtiest Secret

I guess it should be expected that the Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer scandals would be lumped together in the same way that prostitution and sex trafficking all too often are. And it certainly works to Spitzer’s advantage. While Weiner’s sexting addiction has embarrassed his family – including his very high-profile wife – that’s also pretty much the extent of the damage that his frat boy behavior has wrought. (One can only imagine what the public reaction would have been were Anthony Weiner a woman. Would potential voters be more or less forgiving if the candidate were flashing tits? Something tells me the feigned outrage would be more muted, the target less a sitting duck.) Weiner may be unsavory but he did nothing illegal. No one went to jail because of his online exhibitionism. And while Spitzer’s outing as a regular john at a high-end escort service likewise mortified friends, family and anti-Wall Street fans alike, his behavior resulted in fallout far beyond suffering wife Silda’s emotional distress. For the crucial difference between Weiner and Spitzer is that Weiner’s recklessness never resulted in the felony conviction and 6-month sentence of a 24-year-old woman (and a year’s probation for two others) and two-and-a-half years for her boyfriend. And though Spitzer claims to be remorseful, he’s never expressed a hint of remorse towards those in the sex industry whose lives he’s ripped apart, that he seems to view as expendable, second-class citizens (and who, nevertheless were his constituents when he served as governor as well). Spitzer may have “taken responsibility” for his behavior, something he claims ad nauseam, but he’s been seeking forgiveness in all the wrong places. That, perhaps, is the dirtiest secret of all.