Steve Benen brings up an interesting possibility as far as a replacement for Hillary Clinton in the Senate: Eliot Spitzer.
Ben Smith, who recently suggested Spitzer might be a strong candidate to succeed Hillary Clinton in the Senate, argued yesterday that a purely intellectual approach may not be sufficient to restore Spitzer’s name. Ben said the former governor may need a few “soft-focus interviews about his personal transgressions” to help the rehabilitation along.
Perhaps, but wouldn’t it better if Spitzer’s obvious expertise were considered by the political world on the merits? I can appreciate how sleazy his sex scandal was, but it was hardly more offensive than David Vitter’s, Newt Gingrich’s, or Rudy Giuliani’s, and they’re all prominent political figures and Republicans in good standing.
Spitzer made a humiliating personal mistake, and he’s paid a high price. Maybe, as a sign of cultural maturity, we can get past this and start taking Spitzer seriously again.
The way I see, Eliot Spitzer, by commiting adultery and hiring a prostitute, did something which New Yorkers (and most of the political world) felt precluded him from continuing to be Governor of the Empire State. But that problem clearly does not exist in the US Senate. David Vitter also was revealed to have frequented prostitutes (his diaper fetish was also revealed). Neither of these things lead to his expulsion from the Senate, nor even reprimand from the Senate Ethics Committee. If what Spitzer did was unforgiveable in New York, it is eminently forgiveable in the US Senate. While I don’t have any great preference for Spitzer over any other scandal-free candidate to replace Clinton, it’s clear that his personal problems should not prevent him from being considered.