Last night, while at a mixer in Hollywood, I ran into a friendly Democratic acquaintance. The last time I had seen him, he was singing the praises of his man for ’08, John Edwards. While we don’t agree on politics, last night we did wonder the same thing, why would a man as smart as Eliot Spitzer be so stupid as to get caught up in the same kind of prostitution ring that he had twice prosecuted?
Why we wondered, do smart people do stupid things? And Eliot Spitzer is not the first smart person to do a stupid thing.
While I’m no fan of his politics nor his tactics as a prosecutor, I do admire his political skill. He went from losing the 1994 race for New York State Attorney General to winning the 2006 race for Governor, with the largest percentage of the vote any gubernatorial candidate had received in New York.
Just over a year ago, people were talking about him as a future contender for the White House. Now, based on mistakes of his own making, he’s little more than a has-been. And the butt of jokes on late-night television.
It seemed that only his arrogance could account for his foolishness. He thought he was too smart to get caught.
Perhaps, it was more than that. After “publishing” my last post and lunching with a friend (the very reader who helped inspire that post by linking Gallagher’s article), I returned here to check the blogs where I followed Glenn Reynolds’ link to Kimberly Strassel’s piece, “Spitzer’s Media Enablers.”
The piece merits a wide audience, so make sure to read the whole thing. As Glenn notes, Strassel found that instead of “keeping tabs on public officials” (as should be their job), the press “acted as an adjunct of Spitzer power, rather than a skeptic of it.” And then I caught this: “The press was foursquare behind Mr. Spitzer in all these cases” (against high profile corporate targets). Foursquare behind his overzealous prosecution of big companies? Was it that his agenda reflected his own?Â They had similar worldviews.
Did this Democrat think he could get away with his indiscretions because the MSM liked what he was doing? He wouldn’t be the first Democrat with such an attitude.