When are politicians and public figures going to wake up and smell the headlines? America's favorite stories don't just occur when juicy crimes are committed. They occur when juicy indiscretions are coupled with sexy hypocrisy and dazzling double-speak.
Elliot Spitzer, the Harvard-educated former top cop in New York, and, perhaps for now, the governor here, is learning this the hard way. That's a $4,300 understatement.
Spitzer, if ANYONE, should know that the cover-up is always bigger than the crime, and that any criminal who precedes his crime by pontificating against it, falls hardest.
It's not that allegedly paying a hooker is so difficult for Americans to digest. Next to farming, prostitution is the world's oldest profession. But no one likes a no-good, double talking hypocrite who once locked people up for getting their jollies, then allegedly ascended to the quiet confines of an expensive hotel suite to, well, get his jollies.
This is not a debate about prostitution, or even pimping. It's a debate about two-faced men like Spitzer, Mark Foley, Bill Clinton, Larry Craig, Jim McGreevy, Gary Hart, Jim Bakker, and the Reverend Ted Haggard not practicing what they preach.
Why is this so tough to process? It seems fairly simple. It's wrong to say one thing, bust people for it, and then do another. It's wrong to fight for the protection of kids, and then act as a sexual predator. It's wrong to lead the nation, and then lie, even about sex. It's wrong to condemn gay people for their lifestyle and then get caught allegedly engaging in the same behavior that is part of that lifestyle you condemn. It's wrong to preach about family values, while getting down and dirty with hookers. And it's wrong to dope up on methamphetamine while rubbing up next to a male prostitute, especially if you're preaching against that.
Where's the debate in any of this? Mr. Spitzer says he needs time alone with his family now, and that this is a "private matter." I'm not sure where in his law degree he figures this is private. Perhaps he means "personal." Because, yes, Mr. Spitzer, it is personal. It's very personal to many of us who trusted in your good work only to see it revealed as hypocritical self-righteousness. It's personal to publicly see your family suffer for your foolish indiscretions. And while it may be personal, Mr. Spitzer should be well aware that it is NOT private.
He saw to that when he ascended to his position of power and busted two sophisticated prostitution rings, decrying those involved as common criminals. Now that he could be facing a similar prosecution his newest crisis may be an identity crisis. Will his name forever be Mudd... or just Client #9?