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The Return Of Client #9

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Posted on April 27 2010 1:09 pm
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Disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, known as Client #9 to the prostitutes he patronized, is trying to make a political come-back.  Heaven forbid!  Even before the scandal that brought him down, Spitzer was a political opportunist who trampled on due process and the individual rights of others while regarding himself as above the law.

The New York Times is doing its part to bring Spitzer back into the limelight.  It gave  him a platform with a front-page interview that it published last Sunday.  In his interview, Spitzer sought to portray Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the likely Democratic party nominee for the New York governor’s race, as a politically driven Albany insider.  According to Spitzer, as opposed to his own record as a crusader against big special interests, Cuomo’s record is that of a political coward.

Spitzer is also the star of a film documentary debuting last week at the New York Tribeca Film Festival, which chronicles Spitzer’s rise and fall in relatively sympathetic terms.

Spitzer talks extensively in the movie.  He discusses his battles for financial reform, but also tries to put his Client #9 persona into perspective.

Asked whether his hooker habit posed a problem with his job, for example, Spitzer responded:

It never interfered with governance.

Asked how he was able to keep his life as a john separate, he answered philosophically:

It’s part of the mysteries of the human mind.

Asked how he viewed the scandal now that brought him down, he answered by comparing his situation to that of a Greek tragedy:

The metaphor I think of is Icarus…Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make all powerful

As a New Yorker who observed Spitzer’s bullying tactics, lies and deceit up close, I think that Spitzer destroyed himself with his hubris and that the last thing we need is for Spitzer to return to the public arena.  He is a man with a limitless ego who believed himself to be above the law.  He should count his lucky stars that he is not doing serious jail-time  for attempted money-laundering in trying to use a banking transaction to conceal payments to his “escort” agency. 

The following description of Spitzer by longtime Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf — a onetime Cuomo critic and Spitzer political ally — seems right on the mark:

Eliot Spitzer is a guy who took illegal loans in his campaign for attorney general.

This is a guy who misused the State Police and public employees in the Troopergate scandal, and he should not be attacking a hardworking and accomplished attorney general.

Eliot Spitzer is trying to influence the November election and make himself a player, but the fact is, he can’t.

Let him find another profession – perhaps, as a lawyer for escort agencies.

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