Spitzer had no choice but to leave office
Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York resigned from office after reports about his involvement with a prostitution ring.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer had no choice but to resign following reports about his lengthy and expensive involvement with prostitutes. Sex scandals have ended political careers of other political office holders, although some have remained in office. Spitzer's case is so appalling that it's puzzling that it took him two days to realize he must leave office.
When the New York Times reported on Monday that he was a customer in an expensive prostitution ring being investigated by federal authorities, Spitzer held a brief news conference to apologize, adding, "I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good and doing what is best for the state of New York."
Actually, politics is about individuals, as well as ideas and the public good. Once the individual loses public respect, he becomes ineffective because of the distraction. In announcing his resignation, Spitzer acknowledged that "people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct." His position of power and the breadth of his misconduct forced his resignation.
Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana has remained in office after apologizing when his phone number turned up in the records of an escort service in July. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., was reprimanded by the House in 1989 after admitting paying a male prostitute for sex but remains a respected congressman, re-elected again and again.
Hawaii state Sen. Steve Cobb was embraced in the Senate after being fined for soliciting an undercover policewoman in 1989. After reports that he also had been involved in an encounter with a transvestite prostitute, he was removed as a committee chairman and censured. He remained in office -- albeit a smaller one -- until his term expired the following year.
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