Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shocking, yet not really: the Spitzer thing

The Eliot Spitzer Stuff - New York Times

On the way home yesterday as we were listening to NPR run down the whole sordid Eliot Spitzer scandal, Roomie and I were wondering why public officials just can't keep it in their pants. Or, rather, why male public officials can't keep it in their pants. What is it about a lonely hotel room, solitary hours and public scrutiny that leads to really ill-advised phone calls to sex workers?

This profile seems to lay it all at the feet of being 'reckless.' Perhaps. Maybe it's the high pressure of being a guy with power. But weird how we don't see scandals about women in power getting caught in sexually compromising positions. Or maybe not so weird. Their scandals are about illegal nannies or covering up hubby's bad business practices or tax evasions. Interesting how women in power have scandals still linked to domestic disturbances while men in power seem to get in trouble for making public service a libidinal pleasure dome.
Update: more on the gendered ways this scandal is playing out here.


No Nonsense said...

I just finished writing a piece about this. I am still at a loss as to why the wives of these men stand beside them looking blankly while they publicly reveal their transgressions.

ding said...

So am I.
Remember when Jim McGreevey's wife went on Oprah and talked about how angry she was and yet she stood there while her husband admitted to his affair? She said that she caved in to pressure from his people to present the 'united front' even while her marriage disintegrated in front of her eyes.

I'd like to think that if something like this happened to me, my anger would prevent me from being so supportive.

(And, wow, did you read about how expensive these women were? $4300/visit? WTH? And the estimates on what he's spent on this service? Geez. Get a grip on your problems, man!)

No Nonsense said...

I saw the Oprah piece and she was still stoic then. I think some politicians marry women who maybe be a little on the submissive side. I would just say No! the people voted for you, not me, not a couple, you, so you need to face them.

Hows about the diamond ratings?, I am still tripping on that.'Cause I know I would quickly want to be promoted to 7 diamonds, no way I settle for 3. What does a girl need to do get additional diamond?

ding said...

the diamond ratings! jeesh.
can you imagine? i mean, the differences can't be that measurable.

but if i was throwing out diamonds, this is my scale:
1 diamond for tolerating icky married men.
2 diamonds for being willing to travel to icky married men (IMM).
3 diamonds for inflating said IMM's ego.
4 diamonds for not rolling eyes during IMM's conversation
5 diamonds for making a deal with the Feds to bust IMM
6 diamonds for surviving this life of sex work, which you were probably coerced into ('victimless' my ass)
7 diamonds for hopefully turning it into a future book deal

ding said...

On another note, I feel really bad for his wife. She gave up her career for his. What'll she do now??

No Nonsense said...

LMAO! I hope she was stashing $$$ somewhere. She is an attorney too (Havard Grad) so I'm sure she can start something with that JD

bitchphd said...

Dammit, I left a comment yesterday that seems to have not worked. Damn blogger.

The gist of what I said is that I don't blame her for standing by her man--I think I'd be inclined to do the same, if only on the grounds that I'll be damned if I'll let people nose into or make guesses about my personal life.

No Nonsense said...

Bitchphd what I have a problem with is the same picture of a broken women (judging by their looks)standing there. I know they didn't say "Oh sweetie you a gay now, let me help you announce it to america or baby you cheated on me with hookers, let me help you announce it" I bet every buck I have that wasn't the conversation before the press conference.

Besides since we normally didn't vote for the politicans based upon their wives or martial status, why do we have to see them now, when they are perhaps at their lowest low. To publicly parade your wife at such time is also not a loving act.

ding said...

Personally, I want to see a wronged wife hold her own press conference - preferably before her husband does. Why let the husband frame the Accountability and Shame Parade?

I am curious to know what happens in those staff meetings when crisis communications decisions are made, though. Bitch is right; no one should be allowed to second-guess what goes on in a marriage. But why even put that on the table? It's a callous PR practice IMO.

Biggie-Z said...

I have actually met Silda Wall Spitzer in happier times, and I have to say that the woman I met did not look anything like the woman in the press conference. I feel for her and her daughters.

And I am so, SO disappointed in Mr. Spitzer.

(Also, since you are not in NY, have you been hearing about the latest craziness with the McGreeveys (and their driver) and NY's newest governor? You really can't make this shit up.)


P.S. Found you through Bitch Ph.D. who I found through another feminist blog, adding you to my blogroll. Would love to hear your perspective on the latest NY v. NJ gubernatorial drama.

ding said...

hey, LawyerChick, glad you found your way over!

when i heard about the McGreevey menage, i was totally stunned and then i burst out laughing. i mean - come on! it's like a comedy gift from heaven!!

but i also have to say, if this is the new generation of public officials, well, ok then. if that's the way their marriage worked, then who are we to say otherwise? it's clear to me that the traditional moral straitjacket we put our politicians in is overwhelming.

so i think we need to take sexual picadilloes off the table when thinking about candidates or anyone in the public eye. the spitzer thing, clearly, shows him engaging in illegal behavior and participating in extra-sexual activity that his wife did not seem to condone. but the mcgreevey triangle? it seems that a fun time was had by all - and by consent.

now, the wisdom of doing this with a member of your staff...geez.

it occurs to me that my friends and acquaintances seem to handle such intimate liasions with much more discretion and aplomb than the average politician.