March 13, 2008

The Clinton Defense

Rand Simberg

Spitzer....represents, or is on a continuum with, the party's past.

There was another Democrat politician, who was vaulted to power by an adoring press that ignored (and even helped cover up) his negative aspects. He was another politician who was all in favor of laws that would help "the little guy (or gal)," but apparently didn't think that they should apply to him. He signed a bill with his own pen, to much applause at the time from the so-called feminists, that made sexual harassment (which was broadly defined to include any sexual activity between a boss and subordinate, even consensual, particularly when the power was greatly disparate) a federal affair, subject to federal civil law suits. Beyond signing the law, he was the person who had taken an oath of office to defend the Constitution, and see that the laws of the land were faithfully executed.

Yet, when sued under that same law by a state employee for an incident that occurred when he was a governor--having a state policeman escort her to his hotel room, where he allegedly demanded oral sexual services from her--he brazenly declared that the law didn't apply to him. Fortunately, the Supreme Court ruled otherwise.

And when the law suit progressed, he not only lied under oath, but suborned perjury from others, both through bribes, and through threats, both direct and relayed through others, to prevent her from getting a fair hearing in court. It came out that he had not only engaged in the incident for which he was being sued, but had also indulged in sexual activity with another extreme subordinate, on company time at the work place, and (as the most powerful man in the world) exposed himself to potential blackmail through this reckless behavior.

And all throughout, much of the press defended him, and stenographed the spin and lies, and attacks, of his defenders. A woman who was one of those who had had her family threatened if she didn't perjure herself, but who despite that told the truth in the affair was vilified, and called a liar, and mocked for her morality and even for her physical appearance. And in the end, with the aid of the media, after all the mendacity, after all the hypocrisy, after all the continued arrogance, the man survived politically, and even maintained a positive approval among many in the public.

And Eliot Spitzer no doubt observed all of this, and took what he thought to be a valuable lesson from it. Why in the world wouldn't he have thought that he could do exactly do the same thing and get away with it? After all, the press loved him, too.

This morning, as he is about to announce his resignation, he's got to be wondering, how did this happen to him? What did he do wrong?

Posted by dan at March 13, 2008 1:24 PM