From the time that he announced he was running for Governor more than three years ago, to his shocking, embarassing political downfall on Monday afternoon, I never cared for Eliot Spitzer. To me, he embodied the type of politician, so ambitious to rise in stature that he would do all he could to crush dissent.

Where he was once described as crusading, tough, principaled and ethical, the words most closely attached with the shamed New York governor are now arrogance, brashness, conceit and hubris. Spitzer’s meteoric rise will always be seen in the light of his trysts with high-priced hookers, rather than any of the good he did or may have ended up doing for his state.

I suspect that Spitzer never really cared so much about the end result of New York State because his eyes were set on other sights; Justice Department, State Department or maybe even the White House. To Spitzer, dealing with the disparate factions of this diverse state were likely an annoyance, he seemed so much the man to look down on others.


When it was announced here in Albany that he was involved in a prostitution ring, even his own party members seemed to chuckle. This was not a man well-liked by many of those who dealt with him. It was just not easy to have sympathy for the “Steamroller”, the “Sheriff of Wall Street”. Down in in the City, the Wall Street traders rejoiced, handing out cigars, buying strangers drinks and giving ecstatic high fives.

Although most of Spitzer’s high-profile targets from his days as New York Attorney General didn’t say it, we know that in their cavernous offices, behind their cherry wood desks they felt free to let loose their pleasure with his downfall.

One who wasn’t so mum, Kenneth Langone, a former New York Stock Exchange boardmember told CNBC he hoped that the Governor, who had once tried to bury him to make some headlines, would roast in the fires of his own hell.


It just isn’t easy to feel sorry for the bad guy. Not when the bad guy is brought low after years of sactimony and self-righteousness and exposed as a hypocrite. People don’t like being bullied. They especially don’t like those in glass houses chucking stones. As the state’s top attorney, Spitzer had brought down prostitution rings and as recently as 2007, the man who would have you believe he was a progressive, ethical leader, had signed into law a bill to increase the penalities on johns. With such hypocricy, it’s really hard to make friends.

Still, shouldn’t Eliot Spitzer, the son of privilege, be due some human sympathy. It’s alright not to want him back in office (I voted against him and I’m a Democrat), but isn’t he deserving human sympathy and forgiveness? After all, there is not one among us who isn’t mired in at least one type of sin.

Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of the humanity of the man who was all too eager to throw the first stone in a story told of his childhood in the upperclass Bronx section of Riverdale. It was during a Monopoly game with his millionaire immigrant father Bernard, that the seven-year-old Spitzer was brought to tears.


In teaching his son a lesson that the real estate developer taught his son a lesson on ruthlessness: never to defer to authority.

We could speculate and analyze the mental makeup of Spitzer, but if this glimpse into the life of young Eliot is any indication of what other scenes from his childhood may have been like, well, that explains a lot now doesn’t it.

It seems to me that Spitzer was always motivated to succeed, no matter what. Success was for purely personal reasons most of the time rather than a real concern for the common good. Slightly narcisstic, Spitzer could not imagine how any could disagree with him or challenge him or not curl up in a little ball when he picked a fight. Spitzer was a bully but we all know bullies have issues. Still, it’s never easy not to snicker when a bully gets what’s coming to him.

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