Spitzer's Stupidity

The governor has earned our disgust, and New York is best rid of a polarizing figure.

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There is heartfelt sympathy across the land for the wife and daughters of soon-to-be-former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. For him, there is nothing but scorn in this corner and elsewhere.

Stupidity is the first word that comes to mind to explain Spitzer's conduct. He originally called this situation "a private matter." That incredible comment only underscored the arrogance of a once promising public official who betrayed the public trust.

As a crusading attorney general in New York, he went after prostitution rings with gusto. As a reformer governor, he has snared himself in a high-priced call-girl operation in Manhattan. Apparently there were many trysts with these prostitutes.

Spitzer's fall has been quietly celebrated by many Republicans and Wall Street brokerages because he went after them with his brand of tough rhetoric. It is no wonder there was widespread glee in financial circles when the news became public Monday.

Democrats in New York have been spared the agony of an impeachment proceeding with Spitzer's resignation. At least he had the sense to step down and resist a losing fight in the Assembly. Spitzer's friends have disappeared on this one.

Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, had urged Spitzer to fight on. Spitzer is a graduate of the same law school. It makes you wonder if there is something in the drinking water in Cambridge, because Dershowitz was so far off base.

James Carville, the veteran Democratic strategist, seemed more concerned about the whistle-blowing on Spitzer's conduct than he was over the "sex thing." Carville has been around long enough to know better with that indefensible stance.

With Spitzer gone next Monday, the Empire State will have Lt. Gov. David Paterson as its leader. Paterson has a reputation for reaching across the aisle and a willingness to compromise. Spitzer was a polarizing figure.

As for Spitzer's future, right now it is difficult to get beyond disgust. He has earned it.

Spitzer, Eliot

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