Although Mark Brown’s column in the Sun-Times Tuesday was for the most part insightful (“You always can tell when somebody in politics is starting to be taken seriously; you start hearing rumors about their sex life.”), I’m not sure Eliot Spitzer would find it entirely fair. Brown’s topic was the secret sex lives of the high and mighty in government, and he made the point that “one of the reasons there are a lot of rumors about politicians fooling around is that a lot of politicians fool around.” Brown’s list included Spitzer; his successor as New York’s governor, David Paterson; the indicted mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick; the former governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey; and former Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan of Illinois. Senator Larry Craig of Idaho has figured in similar discussions by other pundits, and some writers with longer memories have recalled the 1974 frolics of powerful Arkansas congressman Wilbur Mills and burlesque starlet Fanne Foxe. Bill Clinton is frequently cited.
I hesitate to speak for Spitzer, but he’s in no position to say whether he’s offended at being placed in the others’ company. He did not “fool around” in the popular sense of that expression, with its intimations of pols gone wild and reckless rendezvous. He booked prostitutes — booked them ahead of time, as he would barbers or personal trainers, fit them into his schedule, and was done with them. Other men couldn’t control themselves and courted disaster. I’m guessing Spitzer’s desk looked like his life — tidy.