Monday, March 10, 2008

Thoughts on Gov. Spitzer

Well, if you haven't heard by now, Governor Spitzer of New York has been exposed in connection to a prostitution ring. We'll know more as the day and week goes on, I'm sure. A few initial thoughts:
1. Bad move, Governor Spitzer. I pretty much agree with Scott here:
If poor sex workers are thrown in jail under existing laws, then affluent white johns sure as hell should be too. This goes double for people who have positions that might allow them to work to repeal laws they don't feel are just.

2. I don't really have an opinion on whether, prima facie, prostitution should be legal or not. I don't really see what's wrong with the idea of selling sex, if it's done safely and consensually, so I suppose I would err on the side of making it legal, like any other service. On the other hand, I do think that whether or not prostitution is legal, there needs to be a way to ensure it is safe for everyone involved, particularly the prostitutes. That may be much easier if it is legal. This is all relevant because Governor Spitzer's record on the subject of prostitution is short, but it indicates that he mostly just sought to protect the prostitutes themselves, rather than punish them or the johns. He isn't in particularly deep shit on the hypocrisy front here, although his anti-corruption stance rings vaguely false in light of his criminal behavior.

3. The comparison will inevitably be made to the Republican sex scandals of 2006-07. It's a poor comparison. What made the Republican scandals so deliciously bad for the politicians involved was the hypocrisy they exposed on social issues having to do with sex. Governor Spitzer wasn't really a hypocrite here: his public policy stance on prostitution was limited to punishing sex trafficking. I don't see anything more than a tenuous connection to his anti-corruption stance, since hiring a prostitute isn't unique to being a politician—it's hardly as if his office shielded him from the consequences.

4. Via feministing, Dana Goldstein makes a good point (actually, she makes several, but I though this was particularly on the mark):
When politicians are caught cheating, I wish they'd leave their wives in the green room while they address the press. You're in the dog house, and it should look that way. Those "stand by your man" visuals are tired and demeaning.
Seriously. She shouldn't have to stand there and take responsibility for your fuck up. Also, you aren't fooling anyone with the display of marital solidarity: she's pissed.


UPDATE: Looks like Spitzer may have mistreated the sex workers. If that's true, all bets are off—he's a hypocrite and an immoral douchebag.

UPDATE 2: This is hilarious:

1 comment:

Wireless said...
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