Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why do we care what Spitzer did?

Gleen Greenwald certainly doesn't. He even headlines his piece with Who cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitues?

Regarding all of the breathless moralizing from all sides over the "reprehensible," outrageous crimes of Eliot Spitzer: are there actually many people left who care if an adult who isn't their spouse hires prostitutes? Are there really people left who think that doing so should be a crime, that adults who hire other consenting adults for sex should be convicted and go to prison?

Comments such as these litter the internet today. When the offender is a Democrat, the liberals scold us that it is just about sex and we should just grow up. What a man (or woman!) does in her bedroom is really none of our business. The Europeans certainly don't get their panties in a wad over sexual exploits, and since they are our moral superiors, shouldn't we follow suit? Go read Huffpo and you can find all these excuses.

But, the reason why sex scandals do matter is because they are not just about sex. Sexual misbehavior is also about lies, cover-ups, bribary, and all those other evil things that come along when people behave badly.

Take Detroit (please) for example.

The mayor did (or didn't) have a wild party in the tax-payer owned mansion, in which a stripper did (or didn't) perform a lap-dance, at which point the mayor's wife saw (or didn't see) such lap-dance and attacked (or didn't) the stripper with a large piece of wood. Within six months of the "alleged" party, the stripper was gunned down while sitting in a car with her boyfriend. Investigators have said it appears to have been a hit.

In addition, the mayor had an affair with his chief of staff and the two conspired to fire two police officers who were investigating the party and other allegation of wrongdoing involving the mayor's "Inner circle."

Was there a party? Did the mayor have the stripper killed? Those two questions may never be answered for certain. But, because of the Mayor's moral wrongdoing the city is out $9 million dollars. It wasn't the sex and the moral lapses that are the primary issue. It is the abuse of power that was used to cover it up. And, the temptation to abuse power is often too great when one's moral lapses are discovered. THAT is why sex matters where public officials are concerned. If my husband, or yours, cheats he doesn't have the power of the police force and investigators and wealthy heavy-weights to help him cover it up. He can't fire anyone who gets too close to the truth. The mayor does. And so did Spitzer.

And, do did former presidents. Cough cough.

That is why it is wrong.