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    Client 9

    While we were sleeping in East Asia, the Internets back home were humming with news of a new Eliot Spitzer scandal:

    As recently as this past Valentine’s Day, Feb. 13, Spitzer, who officials say is identified in a federal complaint as “Client 9,” arranged for a prostitute “Kristen” to meet him in Washington, D.C.

    The woman met Client 9 at the Mayflower Hotel, room 871, “for her tryst,” according to the complaint. Client 9 also is alleged to have paid for the woman’s train tickets, cab fare, mini bar and room service, travel time and hotel.

    Spitzer, who made his name by bringing high-profile cases against many of New York’s financial giants, is likely to be prosecuted under a relatively obscure statute called “structuring,” according to a Justice Department official.

    Instapundit has, naturally, the best round-up of links.

    I think of Spitzer exactly what you’d expect me to think as a libertarian: he’s repugnantly bossy and power-mad, and the showboating way he’s strong-armed corporations into disgorging big settlements just ensures that higher costs will be shoved off on rank-and-file consumers. Should he be driven out of office (it hasn’t happened yet, of course) for the hypocrisy of visiting a prostitute after having gotten all high-minded about operators of a prostitution ring he’d busted as Attorney General, well, what goes around comes around:

    In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

    “This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. “It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”

    Hypocrisy is an easy charge to throw around glibly. We all fail to live up to our principles at times; that doesn’t mean we aren’t genuinely trying to. It can be very difficult to determine whether someone’s hypocrisy involves slipping up at weak moments despite good-faith efforts to behave or (worse, I think we’d all agree) cynically applying laws to others that he doesn’t apply to himself.

    But it’s hard to sympathize with Spitzer, for whom it’s never been enough just to be sanctimonious. No, he has to be bullying and high-handed about his ability to use whatever office he’s holding to make life suck for whomever he’s got in the crosshairs. I assume we’ll be listening to his “I’m so very sorry [that I got caught]” routine for a few days before we find out whether he’ll be forced out of office for leaving the sort of communication trail he used to warn his enemies against.

    Added later: Via Eric, Arthur Silber is suitably unsparing:

    Prostitution involving consenting adults cannot defensibly be regarded as a crime. In that sense, Spitzer should never have been targeted at all for that alleged offense. But it is currently illegal, as all basically functioning adults are fully aware. [And whatever else might be said about him, Spitzer appears to be basically functioning. I’ll be here all week.] Given Spitzer’s unfathomable stupidity — and in light of the fact that he is now the victim of the kinds of overreaching police state tactics that he himself has endlessly championed and utilized — this can only be regarded as an instance of an especially objectionable, arrogant, overweening, power-mad, vicious son of a bitch himself getting exactly what he has been delightedly happy to dish out to others.

    4 Responses to “Client 9”

    1. Maria says:

      What gets me is the stupidity of doing what he did after he had been the one, as attorney gen. of NY, who had pushed for the software that marked PEP’s and that was the same system that caught him!

    2. Maria says:

      Further thoughts: since he’s obviously not a stupid man, the situation begs the question of whether sexual addiction is involved. If you’re out of control it doesn’t matter how “smart” you are…

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Oh, I don’t know, Maria–plenty of stupid people have blind spots. And especially if you’re super-powerful and have the press lionizing you and are used to getting your way, I can see how you might start thinking of yourself as (ahem) untouchable.

    4. Maria says:

      Yes, of course. The disease that seems to ail a lot of politicians…

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