Diana Landen: Eliot Spitzer is back -- and he's going to be on primetime TV with his own CNN show. Apparently, hypocritical scumbags are well-qualified to discuss politics. After all, Spitzer taught us so much when he was in the news before. For example:
1) Prostitution is not a victimless crime. All it takes is one look at Silda Spitzer's face to understand this. Prostitutes make money, johns use prostitutes ... and wives get hurt.
I suppose it was naive of me, but before the Spitzer scandal, I never thought married men went to prostitutes. Women and men have a different perspective here. I'm middle-aged and fifty pounds overweight, but I know that I could have sex with a stranger every night of the week. It might not be great sex -- and it certainly wouldn't be with a movie star -- but it would be easy to find. Why would anybody pay for sex?
So I assumed that prostitutes were for men who were disfigured or pathologically shy. Spitzer was rich and famous. He taught me that some guys just don't want to bother talking nicely to a woman.
2) In real life, prostitutes are not smart girls with hearts of gold. The prostitute in "Trading Places" is a hardworking girl saving up to go to college. She rescues Winthorpe and helps him defeat the bad guys.
Spitzer's call girl, Ashley Dupre, is a confusing mess. She ran away from home at age 17 (allegedly to escape abuse) and got involved in hard drinking and drugs before settling down as a high-paid prostitute. Dupre took expensive vacations, wore designer clothes, partied all night and has claimed that she sold herself to pay the rent.
Dupre, then 22, apparently had no idea that she was in bed with the governor. She later tried to use the scandal to break into show business as a musician, but ended up just posing for Playboy and dishing out simplistic advice for the New York Post. She said she felt bad that Silda Spitzer was in pain, but doesn't seem to have made the connection that if you're a prostitute, you sleep with married men and hurt their wives.
3) The double standard is alive and well. Eliot Spitzer wasn't just a husband. He was the governor of New York State who had served two terms as attorney general -- the "people's lawyer ... guardian of the legal rights of the citizens of New York."
Spitzer broke the very law he was supposed to enforce, but he wasn't the "people's" john: He preferred the Emperor's Club, for "those accustomed to excellence." That way, he could place a phone or online order and have a young woman delivered to his hotel room, like a nice beefsteak. Investigators believe that he paid over $80,000 for sex in a two-year period.
Spitzer may have done even worse things, too. According to madam Kristin Davis, some prostitutes complained that Spitzer was too rough and aggressive and didn't want to use a condom. One prostitute told the New York Daily News that Spitzer choked her while role-playing the scenario "young-woman-coming-from-self-defense-class-has-to-defend-herself." Hardly someone you want in charge of protecting the young women of New York.
We are lucky that Spitzer was caught and removed from office. On the other hand, he never did jail time. Spitzer barely apologized to the public for his actions -- or, as he preferred to call them, "private failings." Now he is about to be rewarded with a primetime TV show.
I have little sympathy for Ashley Dupre and even less for Kristin Davis, but do they really deserve to be treated so much worse than Eliot Spitzer? Surely what he did as governor, married man and father was worse.