Wednesday, March 12, 2008

$8,000 A Year on Escorts

As the Eliot Spitzer implosion continues, the New York Post is reporting that the wayward Gov spent $80,000 over ten years on escorts which begs the question, what was Mrs. Spitzer thinking?

First, had I done something as stupid as Spitzer, my wife made absolutly clear that not only would she not stand next to me, I would probably be lucky if I wasn't hearing from a divorce lawyer within 24 hours that only because she hadn't found a good one. The fact that otherwise smart women like Silda Wall Spitzer would even appear in public while their husband disclosed his infidelity still boggles my mind. It is one thing (a bad thing) but one thing to have an affair, but to have spent $80,000 on escorts or prostitutes is a whole other thing. Yes, the Spitzers can afford the money, but appearing on stage suggests that Silda Wall Spitzer either a) supports her husband (an unlikely scenario) or b) has no existence outside her husband (also unlikely) or c) has a need for people to see her pain. The latter of which makes her as self-centered as him.

Second, how does an intelligent woman not notice $8,000 a year, on average, missing from their accounts. The Spitzers have much more money than I do, but still that is an awful lot of money not to account for. But apparently Eliot Spitzer was moving money around to avoid other matters so hiding $80,000 from his wife was probably a lot easier than hiding it from the government.

Third and finally, how does a smart woman like Silda Wall Spitzer fall for a guy like Eliot Spitzer and stay with him. I can see the former part, most politicians, even before they are politicians, are charming and engaging. But over time, his ambition and ego must have hit home like a sledgehammer, so why did she stay.

The comparisons to Hillary Clinton and dozens of other political wives will no doubt come up. But we still have the question of why Silda Wall Spitzer stood before the cameras.

Maggie Gallagher, writing at had this to say:
I don't have a lot of hope for the public morality. I don't suspect this is the last time a man entrusted with high office will descend into a sex scandal, or even break the law (as Eliot Spitzer did) to get what he wants. (And in his former role as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" -- i.e., a white-collar crime specialist -- Gov. Spitzer was unusually well-versed in the laws that he was breaking: laws against prostitution, against transporting a prostitute across state lines, against "structuring" or moving money to avoid federal reporting requirements, to name just three.)

But can we at least end this barbaric practice of dragging your wife before the cameras while you confess your shameful guilt? If she wasn't there in the hotel room when you did your crime, don't ask her to do your time.

The practice began relatively innocently as something an accused man might do when he denied the allegations . A man's wife at his side showed that she, at least, believed the guy when he said he did not do it.

It was former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, I believe, who began the modern practice (Can we ban it along with waterboarding?) of parading the little wife before the cameras to hold your hand as you confess your guilt. The goal is to get the shell-shocked wife to demonstrate to the public that the offense is forgiveable. If his wife forgives him, how mad can you be?

But the practice requires a man to turn the best instinct of his wife -- to unite behind the family in crisis -- into an instrument of her own public humiliation.

And another thing: Can we end the public practice of trying to shame these wives into divorcing their husbands?

There's a reason we feel impelled to do this these days. Adultery has been redefined as a "private matter," as Spitzer put it in his vain, Clintonian attempt to redirect attention from his crimes to his sin. Because we no longer have any public punishments for adultery, we have turned wives into instruments of the public morality: If she doesn't punish him by divorcing him, he will go unpunished, which is intolerable. (Without some punishment, won't all husbands stray?)

I'm tired of this transference of the sins of the husband onto the wife. Leave the wives alone. Let's forget about standing by the man, but can't we at least agree to stand by the woman?
If Spitzer loves his wife (and I have no reason to suspect he doesn't) why then put your wife through this humilating experience. As I said, it is one thing to cheat on your wife, and a vastly more heinous matter to publicly humiliate her as you public confess your guilt for cheating on her.

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