A point that I try to remind people of from time to time is that my frequent comments are not based on my philosophical opposition to conservatism. I am in fact proudly liberal-progressive, a fairly strong leftist in American terms (which places me firmly as a centrist in European terms). Rather, my intense frustration with my friends on the Right is that we have seen almost thirty years of their substantial dominance, and often absolute control, over the American political process, based on blatantly false flags.
Millions of loyal Republican voters believe their party stands for family values, fiscal responsibility, ethical government and a stronger America, when those beliefs are patently counterfactual, based on evidence easily interpreted by a junior high school student. There is a profound doublethink embedded in the conservative conscience of America which begins first and foremost by denying its own existence in favor of soi-disant moral principle and high standards.
What I rail against, repeatedly, is hypocrisy. Are there Democrats and non-partisan political figures caught up in sex scandals, financial improprieties or criminal violations? Of course. People are people. Their party label doesn't confer holiness or special virtue. Except to millions of Republicans it does. I don't normally jump on Democrats who skim or steal or sleep around, because their political fortunes are not based on creating and maintaining the lie that they are morally superior.
Enter Eliot Spitzer, former governor of New York state. Here is a man who has built his entire career on moral and ethical crusades, a millionaire hundreds of times over, who sells it out for exactly the kind of high profile prostitution ring he used to bust. His political fortunes are based on moral superiority, and he has proven himself guilty of the basest hypocrisy.
In truth, Spitzer's real political crime is stupidity.1 The same can be said of Larry Craig and many others. I personally couldn't care less who any of them sleep with, in what combination and under what funding mechanism. I don't see how having a hyperactive sex drive is a disqualification from office. But crossing the line from being oversexed to criminal behavior is moronic, especially in a political leader who should know better. Doing so in the face of the foundation of their public persona passes beyond moronic and into the arrogance of power.
Spitzer is a stupid, venal man who can go sit in the Hamptons and cry over his millions for all I care. I want politicians who make good decisions for good reasons, and have a sense of principle. I find far more of those on the left than the right, but perhaps that's observer bias. Spitzer was not one of them. Good riddance to a political fool.
1. Yes, I'm aware there's some suggestion that the way Spitzer got busted in the first place was due to a political hit job, possibly driven by Michael Bloomberg. I don't care. Blaming the whistleblower doesn't excuse the offense. Political stupidity and criminal hypocrisy are what they are.