LLR Pages

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Reason's Take on the Spitzer Scandal

Reason's Paul Karl Lukas issues his scathing insights on the Eliot Spitzer ruckus.

Here's an excerpt from the piece:

Many publications (reason included) are feasting this week on the all-but-cooked political carcass of New York’s law-and-order governor, Eliot Spitzer. The crusading former attorney general was brought low by the New York Times’ revelation yesterday afternoon that federal wiretaps caught him allegedly arranging an assignation with an overpriced prostitute last month at a Washington hotel. (When news of the underlying federal investigation broke last week, The Smoking Gun website posted screen grabs of the service’s web page, including photos of alleged talent and a price list that ran up to $3,100 an hour.)

If the allegations are true (and Spitzer’s statement that he 'acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family' certainly sounds like an admission), the governor’s hypocrisy—and his belief that there is one set of laws for the little people and another set for Great Men like himself—is obvious. As attorney general and leader of the state's organized crime task force, Spitzer spearheaded the prosecution of two alleged prostitution rings, according to the Times.

But Spitzer’s moralistic crusade against paid sex (by non-Spitzers, at least) wasn’t confined to New York or even the United States of America. As far as Spitzer is concerned, he has the right to prevent people from exchanging cash for cuddles anywhere in the world.

Big Apple Oriental Tours was a Queens-based travel agency with an angle: it marketed vacations for men to destinations such as Angeles City, Philippines, a jurisdiction in which adult prostitution is nominally illegal but is condoned and regulated by the government because of the money it brings in. The militant feminist group Equality Now had been agitating for prosecution of Big Apple Oriental Tours since at least 1996, but had never found a prosecutor willing to take the case. (Big Apple Oriental Tours has never been linked to child prostitution, which would be another matter entirely.)