TCS Daily

The Universal Spitzer

By Arnold Kling - March 14, 2008 12:00 AM

"The former New York attorney general never believed normal rules applied to him, and his view was validated time and again by an adoring press."
--Kimberly A. Strassel

The term "Spitzer" belongs in the dictionary, and its definition should be "any politician." We ought to think of all politicians as Spitzers. No, they don't all have lurid involvements with prostitutes. But they all have an inflated view of their superiority over the rest of us.

Suppose that we define "Spitzer" as someone who believes in the aggressive use of political power. A Spitzer believes it is his mission to tell us what to do for own good.

Is Barack Obama--who also comes from a Harvard Law School background, and who identifies the "audacity of hope" with government expansion--a Spitzer? Absolutely. Is Hillary Clinton--who sees the the state as a substitute for a village, making it also a substitute for the family--a Spitzer? Positively. Is John McCain--who Virginia Postrel describes as "an instinctive regulator who considers business a base pursuit"-- a Spitzer? Unfortunately, yes.

We're All Spitzer Wives

The term "Spitzer wife" also belongs in the dictionary. Its definition should be "someone who tolerates and enables abuse by a Spitzer." As Kimberly A. Strassel pointed out, the press is a Spitzer wife.

What about the rest of us? To the extent that we root for strong politicians, join political cults, invest our hopes and desires in charismatic leaders, all of us are Spitzer wives.

Spitzer Jokes

As Ann Althouse points out, the late-night talk shows are having fun at Eliot Spitzer's expense. He has become a subject of mockery.

It is a shame that we only laugh at a Spitzer when his secret sex life is revealed to us. Instead of mocking Spitzers for their private foibles, we should be contemptuous of their public pronouncements. Whether it is "cleaning up Wall Street" or "giving everyone health care," the Spitzers are making extravagant promises that only result in expanded government power.

This summer, the nominees for President will give their acceptance speeches at their parties' national conventions. We should see these speeches as being delivered by a Spitzer. With every grandiose pronouncement, we should let out a belly laugh. "What a Spitzer...Look--another one...Go Spitzer...Spitzer again...All Spitzer all the time!"

Whenever the subject of politics comes up in conversation, try to bring up the name Spitzer. Yes, he's a real Spitzer all right.

The Spitzers in the legislature say they need to spend more of our money this year? What happened, did the Empereror's Club raise their rates again?

That Spitzer wants to tell me what light bulb I have to buy? You tell Spitzer what socket he can stick it in.

Eliot Spitzer has left public life. But generically, Spitzer is still all around us. In relating to politicians, we need to start acting less like Spitzer wives and more like Lorena Bobbitt.



No one likes a Spitzer
And no one give's a Spitzer's a$$ about the real issue. In many ways this is a sad article. If this is the best we are going to get from TCS from now on, perhaps it is time to leave.

One article in a week, and it is this bad? AAArrrrrggggghhhh!

The Path Downhill
If this is the best new essay TCS has to offer after a near week of draught, then they are indeed in apparent trouble. So Leftist politicians are Statist, expansionist and elitist -- wow, whould'a thunk? To what other nuggets of insight can we be exposed? L'affair Spitzer may certainly be topical, but trodding upon talk radio's milieu by offering this trite musing by Kling demonstrates what TCS posters have been speculating for some time: aside from the errant Big Bones of Contention (Fascism, AGW and other reliable standbys), the morsels upon which we are offered to intellectually chew are getting less frequent and less substantive on a more regular basis.

What is different about McCain?
He supports socialist policies, too.

It's not the message (socialism) its the messenger?
Too bad so many can be conned into tyranny so easy.

Is that because so many people want to be the tyrant?

A Suggestion to TCS
It is certainly true that the content on TCS has been declining for some time.

To add content and excitement to the site, I suggest that TCS solicit essays from its readership. They can even limit the acceptable topics...but I would recommend a freeform approach...we submit and they decide what to post. They could even establish a daily feature with a catchy title like…"Take a Stand". TCS could even offer to pay for the best piece submitted each week, as chosen by ratings by the readership.

The TCS site would clearly benefit from more content, and especially from controversial content. Why not give TCS readership a chance?

Probably so

Law enforcement
First, allow me to congratulate TCS on its first article since March 6. Power on, Power Rangers!

But for these scant crumbs on our plate I am still grateful. Arnold makes the point, as I understand him, that a man known for his prosecutorial efforts has transgressed-- both law and morality. And he stands shamed before us.

Therefore it follows that enforcement of the law is valueless, wrong headed and a manifestation of socialism.

Could soemone please lay out for me the intervening steps in logic required to achieve that conclusion?

we need to start acting less like Spitzer wives and more like Lorena Bobbitt.
I just LOVE that line. Arnold gets a notch up, considering how low he's fallen in the last few articles.

Speaking of Arnold. Has anyone noticed how his articles are the ONLY ones TCS tends to 'print'? I suppose this is becoming the 'Arnold Kling Daily' site.

Enforcing ALL laws would tend to end socialism
If all laws were vigorously enforced I anticipate a backlash against the state as what happened with Prohibition.

As for Spitzer, how does giving illegal aliens legal documentation enforce any laws?

Spitzer's wife
I saw a funny quote earlier today.

This was from a decade or so ago. Spitzer's wife was apparently upset with Hillary for standing by her man after the Monica affair.

I'll second that
I'd certainly contribute content. And I suspect anything I wrote would be widely read and commented upon. There would be no charge. Just look at the money they'd be saving.

I could do something informative and thought provoking, for example, on drugs and terror along the axis from Afghanistan to Kosovo-- and who it is maintaining the current status quo.

He also supports...
...lower taxes, more conservative judges, and finishing the job in Iraq. Those are IMPORTANT differences.


And he supports illegal aliens and opposes free speach.
Those are IMPORTANT differences, too.

No Subject
Here is the link for submitting articles (located also at the bottom of the page)

Do it already! :D

so give
what was the quote and where do you find it! I find this so rich if it is true.

Making Fun of Spritzers
"It is a shame that we only laugh at a Spitzer when his secret sex life is revealed to us. Instead of mocking Spitzers for their private foibles, we should be contemptuous of their public pronouncements. Whether it is "cleaning up Wall Street" or "giving everyone health care," the Spitzers are making extravagant promises that only result in expanded government power."

Unfortunately, laughing at them before they've taken a pratfall like this can be injurous to the health. Spitz fer example is notorious for calling vocal critics at 3AM to curse and harangue them. With the power of the State and a complicite press behind him it becomes somewhat risky. He's only one example of bloviating politicians who throws tantrums and misuse their authority to silence critics, I'm afraid.

We need at least 400,000 troops in Afghanistan!
In order to change the unlawful corrupt status quo in Afghanistan, an occupation army of at least 400,000 troops is required.

So here's our chance to stand behind our candidate John McCain. McCain's administration will have the job of stationing enough soldiers in Afghanistan to win. There are 193 countries in the world. The global population is over 6 billion. With the human resources available worldwide, maybe enough soldiers can be recruited to secure the victory in Afghanistan we know is possible.

Think about the billions of individuals who earn less than $10 per day! An international occupation army can be trained by the U.S. Armed Forces and our NATO allies!


A Conservative In Arizona

I'm a conservative in Arizona.

Shooting ourselves in the foot
Hello, conservative in Arizona.

I can see where you would think that way. But throwing 400,000 troops into Afghanistan wouldn't do a thing... other than hasten the bankruptcy of the United States. These wars are far more expensive than our ability to pay. And we are approaching the breaking poiny, where we get refused further credit by our creditors.

We should change up our pitch instead. People who were in Afghanistan back when we first invaded noted that the Taliban were a really easy act to follow-- they were foreigners backed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and everyone hated them. But the Afghans were so tired of making war that when their civil war ended they just decided to put up with them.

Then we came in. Wow! Everyone loved the idea of the Americans ruling them for a while. We had a ton of cash, and a reputation for being nice guys. Most people thought their fortunes were changing for the better, for once, and that some jobs might come out of it.

It hardly took us any time at all to wear out our welcome. What happened was that we were just like the Russians and everyone else who had ever invaded Afghanistan, killing people and killing more people and then killing even more people. But nobody's making anything any better. Just more killing... and bringing back the warlords, to revive the opium trade.

So now they're tired of us, and the Taliban are again being invited back to run the place. It's time for us to leave. Maybe we can come back later, much later, when we're ready to make peace.

George Orwell - call your office
Can it be an accident that the March 6th Kling article is now below the two March 4th articles written by different authors?

Eight days between article postings along with rearrangement of the home page to disguise the dearth of authors.

Perhaps TCS is indeed going down.

Even Obama Won't Retreat
The assumption that appeasement is normal or logical is foolish. The enemys the U.S. and our allies are fighting in Afghanistan are real.

During the past 30 years, Al Qaeda has attacked the United States numerous times. Al Qaeda and the Talebon require a safe haven. They seek to increase their territory by fighting in Afghanistan.

The opium trade in Afghanistan is out of control because only about 1/10 of the necessary level of occupation troops are stationed there.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary to furthur the cause of civilization itself. When the Talebon invade a village in Afghanistan, they kill the schoolteachers who have taught female students. Many of the Talebon in today's Afghanistan are foreign fighters. Talebon soldiers customarily force Afghan girls into polygamous marriages. The Talebon thrives through forceful extortion of the illegal opium trade.

Or something about how bad we are as a nation?
Sure Roy, this is your big chance to parrot the MSM!

Remember though, we now have hope because Obama says we have hope and we need change because change is needed.

All this hope and a racists preacher to boot. I feel so hopeful, I think I will change the channel.

Dad always told me nothing is worse than a prosecuter trying to make a name.
Spitzer was the perfect example of a AG gone bad. Abuse of office? So what, after all he was a liberal and to the left, the end always justifies the means.

Look up the list of worst abusing AG's. All Democrats. Any surprises here?

1. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut

2. Bill Lockyer, California

3. Eliot Spitzer, New York

4. Zulima Farber, New Jersey

5. Patrick Lynch, Rhode Island

6. Darrell McGraw, West Virginia

7. William Sorrell, Vermont

8. Lisa Madigan, Illinois

9. Peg Lautenschlager, Wisconsin

10. Tom Reilly, Massachusetts

Only two policy choices?
Obama is a presidential candidate! No, he won't recommend withdrawal, even if 90% of the public said they wanted him to. And if he were daffy enough to do so anyway, the superdelegates would remove him from contention. That, in fact, is what they were designated to do in the event the public were ever to choose the "wrong" candidate. No, the ruling class will continue to rule in the United States, whether they're Rs or Ds.

But that's not the point. We know that only a certain range of policy options is open to any president. What we were discussing was what would be the best approach of any that might be conceivable. And to define the entire range of options as only being between (1) massively lethal firepower or (2) appeasement indicates a serious dearth of ideas.

We could have chosen, for instance, to bring popular local rule to the provinces of this overwhelmingly rural country. And to use American money to hire local people to rebuild a nation shattered by a generation of war. That approach would have been both popular and successful.

"The assumption that appeasement is normal or logical is foolish."

First, who would we be "appeasing"? The Taliban are the creations of our staunch allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Do we have any need to appease those two entities? And they're not just "most", they are nearly ALL foreign fighters. And all have been trained and aided by our friends, not by our supposed enemies.

My point was that in our zeal to sock it to someone, anyone, we have converted the Afghan people from being pro-American to anti-American, in the space of the 5-1/2 years we've been bombing them. This is not a smart strategic move, it's stupidly antithetic to any positive goal we might ever have in that part of the world.

And not just the Afghans. We've taught the public of every Islamic nation that we only consider them to be fit for bombing. All we appear to have is bombs, not anything in the way of inspiring ideas.

Finally, opium is bigger than ever now. Why? The Taliban had it nearly eradicated back in 2000, and we brought it back. How did we manage that?

What happened was that we didn't make the slightest attempt to endorse local democratic rule. We just reinstalled the warlords-- the guys who've been making money off the opium trade all along.

And just so you know, in this "war of civilizations" the actual women of the country say they're every bit as bad off today under the warlords as they ever were under the Tal. Civilization has already lost that war.

Whenever I see soemthing as blatantly stupid as this, I always assume someone, somewhere, knows what they're doing-- and has reasons to want the opium trade and civil anarchy to be considered insoluble problems. But I could be wrong. It could actually be that the people running the strategy behind this pointless, counterproductive war really are that stupid.

My role as media spokesperson
What an odd picture you must have of me. If I were to parrot your MSM I'd be saying the surge was working, and the Iraqis are stumbling toward a better tomorrow.

I don't agree
Well Roy, I guess we just disagree. We don't view the world in the same way.

I'm a John McCain conservative in Arizona who comprehends the fact that all of the other individuals on the earth don't necessarily agree with everything I say.

We are mostly complaining about the lack of articles per week than about the forum postings.

That is where the 100+ postings derive from, in my view. People get side-tracked and recurring debates start up again while they await the next article.

Furthermore, most of the insults on there are the forum posters insulting themselves. Yes, the authors sometimes get it...but mostly stays in the realm of disagreements as you say you like it to be, from what I've seen.

But what I really would like to ask you Joanie is this: If you have some inside knowledge about TCS, we'd all like to read about it. :)

You have this other quality as well
You can't explain exactly why you think the way you think. You just feel it in your gut. So it must be true.

Look at other postings on other sites on RCP or Townhall
TCS is tame compare to those.

I don't bother with the liberal sites because they don't now how to say anything with out using foul language.

So much for the feminist dream...
Both Hillary and Silda are educated women, capable of earning money on their own and both were left for whatever reasons, to "stand by their man". I don't know the woman, but I pity her and especially their daughters.

THat having been said, Elliot should be hammered by some over eager prosecuter, who won't be stopped by the courts that are supposed to guard against malicious prosecution and ensuring due process.

Joannie - TCS is tame compared to most other sites
I've come to TCS off and on for a couple of years. Yes - there are sometimes back and forths that are a waste of time to read. But in general I've found the conversation here to be much more polite and informed than at other sites. To pick one, the daily kos site is just ridiculous - any disagreement however slight with the party line sets off real flameouts.

Comparing TCS with other Joanie
When trying to keep one's customer base, it is unwise to assume that "one size fits all."

I am not familiar with RCP and so can offer no opinion on that site or the credentials of the columnists who contribute. Townhall, however, has many columnists who enjoy a kind of celebrity status on television and/or radio. That in and of itself will draw traffic to the website and keep it there, in spite of any abusive behavior.

Other than Jim Pinkerton, who is no longer a contributer, I can't think of any other celebrities who bring traffic to this site. Therefore, TCS has to use a different incentive to attract and keep their customer base. People most likely frequented this site for an exchange of ideas as opposed to an exchange of insults.

All the same, I was surprised that you would approve of abusive behavior simply because other people do it.

I once said that an idea of Joanies was stupid.

She went off complaining that if I was going to insult her like that, she wouldn't come back.

RCP: Real Clear Politics.
It is a major political site.

As for TCS, maybe corporate sponsors really don't want free markets. They prefer the socialist state where they can use the power of the government to control competition.

There is one thing worse...
...and that's a prosecutor who doesn't prosecute anything.

They're supposed to be obnoxious... to evildoers. If you or your dad haven't done anything, there's no reason to fear any prosecutor. No matter how intense his witch hunt, if you're not a witch you have little to fear.

I like your list, where you enumerate in close detail all the ills that have been done to the land by horid Democrats. It shows an intensity of focus that would have made you a good Grand Inquisitor yourself. But you forgot one shining star in the prosecutorial world...

Joe McCarthy.

Other than people like him and Richard Nixon, who prosecuted thought crimes, the reason we have no Republican prosecutors is that they are all on the side of the financial criminals.

In fact I can only think of a single Republican with any interest in looking into chicanery involving cash transactions. Such inquiries normally would only hit one of their own people, and would be greatly discouraged.

The Republican prosecutor in question? Kenneth Starr. It took him several years, and he only came up with goose eggs.

>"As for Arnold's column...he was absolutely right to include both sides of the aisle. And instead of insults, he deserves our thanks for trying to keep the doors of this place open."

Hmmm -- apparently in these days of hypersensitivity, criticism = insult. Yes, I've seen many schoolyard insults hurled between posters (that's their prerogative, unless the site specifically states that "posters who use 'doo-doo head'-esque flame techniques will be summarily banished" -- individuals willingly expose themselves to such abusive banter by choosing to post here), but I've rarely seen such tactics used to deride the article authors.

Since I got this ball rolling with the first post, I'll state here that I stand by it. While I've found many (if not most) of Mr. Kling's essays to be pertinent and agreeable to my ideological sensitivities, let me reitierate that I perceive his latest (above) to smack of pure fluff, as though it were hastily compiled in order to satiate the stated desire of many TCS-ers to see more frequently incoming topics upon which to grind their intellects. Yet the Spitzer commentary piece is hardly of the quality which attracted me to these boards in the first place, and I believe others would agree. If you perceive that criticism as "insult," then we'll just have to settle for disagreeing upon matters of definition and tact. And if TCS continues to post such inanities, I fail to understand how that reflects a serious effort to "keep the doors of this place open" -- in fact, I contend that it will simply yield the opposite effect.

I appreciate your comments.... by Joanie
I'm not saying that critiques are insults. A critique that is meant to be constructive and informative is not an insult.

I would say that what you offered was a tough critique. But you are not the person I was thinking of...

Just so that you understand where I'm coming from:

When I taught high school and college, my students were strictly forbidden to use insults as a means of criticism. When you tell someone that their comment is stupid (as frequently occurs here at TCS), it offers no constructive information and demonstrates a lack of respect. Anyway, by teaching students appropriate critiquing skills, they demonstrated respect for their fellow classmates; and the atmosphere in the classroom was quite congenial and conducive to learning.

I'm not asking that everyone engage in the proverbial group hug. The entire purpose of this website is for an exchange of ideas, and it's not my wish that everyone should agree (that would be boring).

Regarding the columns that are being posted might be helpful if people were to actually submit ideas to the editor of TCS, or, as someone has already mentioned, submit an article.

Friends of thieves?
Socialism crept into this country claiming to 'help' and be a friend to the little guy.

Our 'tolerant' liberal/progressive/socialist types would have their opponents be tolerant and respect all points of view, except for those that oppose their POVs.

When liberty is involved, I don't believe there is room to compromise and play nice. There is no room for profanity, but using proper terminology like 'thieves', 'socialist' or 'fascist' is appropriate to describe what they do.

Is that too harsh?

No, simple misunderstanding of economics, I am afraid.
Some facts:

1) Readers who are drawn here to read the articles (and be targeted by the advertising) are not the same as those who routinely come here to post. How many sites do you go to just read the article in question and don't bother with the forum postings? Most, I gather.

2) Hence why most of the advertising (and I speak of both prominence as well as quantity) is on the landing pages and individual article pages. In fact, I only see one ad up on the top of this page as I write this and it is barely noticeable.

3) So, with facts one and two at hand, let's look at where the forum postings are even accessible. On many sites other than TCS, they are usually accessible by the reader at the bottom of the page in some format (truncated or whole) as well as a submission form to post your own comment. On TCS, you have to link to a whole new page. Therefore, people who are just coming to read the articles won't even see the forum postings, so how can they be driven away from the forum posters and the various flame wars as you mention?

4) So, if there are a dearth of articles being published, then readership of this site will naturally diminish. That is where the ad revenues will take a hit. And, that has nothing to do with the postings in the forums -- which are now just a true loss lead that doesn't lead to anything with regards to the aforementioned business model specifics you and I both outline.

5) So I respectively disagree with your analysis of the situation, Joanie. The cart (forum postings) comes after the horse (the articles) and thus w/o the horse, the cart goes nowhere.

6) As just an FYI, I have been posting here for years (off and on). Therefore, if you think I'm 'new here' it makes me question just how 'new' you are yourself. :)

Would you rather hear the truth, or pretty lies
If an idea of yours is stupid, I should tell you it's wonderfull, just to spare your feelings?

New Constitutional Amendment: No lawyers allowed to hold office: conflict of interest
Do lawyers as a class have the morals of ally cats or did we just get lucky with Clintons, Spitzer, and now Paterson?

Do those who 'practice' law hold it in contempt? If laws are standards and those standards are so flexible, are all standards flexible?

Reagan was not a lawyer. GW Bush is not a lawyer. McCain is not a lawyer.

Voters should be very careful about choosing lawyers to lead them since most lawyers don't seem to know where the want to go. Except to gain more power and sex.

I remember the day RSW took you to task for this kind of behavior...
...he felt that you were better than that, and that if you still wanted a response, he would prepare one (the implication being that he wanted you to show some respect).

If it is your opinion that an idea of mine is incorrect, then I would appreciate a respectful critique pointing out where my logic is flawed. After all, if posters such as Zyndryl, Stinkhammer, Marjon, SullyA, Somerled, Pauled, Roy and others can respond with thoughtful critiques/responses, then why can't you?

In the future I will ignore any posting you make whose primary function is to harass or annoy; and will respond only to those postings that offer constructive criticism. I will not allow you to bully me.

Qualfications needed for public office... by Joanie
When running for office, what does being a lawyer bring to the table? One would hope for a background in constitutional law; but as of late, very few politicians seem to be interested in the Constitution.

It's not unreasonable to require minimum standards for holding public office, particularly when the individual could end up in the White House. Considering the complexities of today's world and the state of our economy and foreign policies, a background in econ and history should be required.

Serving in the military does not necessarily qualify one as a military strategist. Running a business does not necessarily mean you are qualified to select a staff of economists or to make economic policy.

As for those politicians who seem unable to keep it zipped...just so long as it's their dime and on their time, then I feel I don't have the right to say anything about it. However, based upon a report that I read about Spitzer, it might be good for politicians to take a refresher course in Health 101.


If political leaders can lie to their spouses, why should we be surprised when they lie to us?

Libertarians should not value integrity?
As the party of principle, libertarians must judge people's character.
While I do support decriminalizing gambling, prostitution, drugs and any other 'victimless' crime, as a principled voter, I must also hold politicians accountable.
If they cannot control themselves and be responsible, they do not earn my vote or respect.

You did not read what I said...
I said that I did not approve of such behavior and would demonstrate that at the voting booth.

Personal preferences aside, I then brought up the issue as to whether the law has the right to pry into his private life.

BTW, the Libertarian Party is a whole different animal than (l)ibertarian philosophy. I recall an instance where they were going to endorse a Republican who had at one time in another state voted for gun control. Why endorse the guy? Because they were hoping that a lot of people would vote for him on the Libertarian Party ticket. There's supposed to be some benefit to that; but I wouldn't know because I'd heard more than I needed to and walked away. As it was, the individual backed away from the endorsement.

Still no word
Wednesday morning. I hope Nick is all right.

I sent an email last week to Nick
...and never got a reply.

Here's what I wrote:

Hey Nick,

Recent forum postings are starting to speculate on the possible demise of TCS Daily. Is it going the way of the Dodo?

Lincoln was a lawyer. . .
Which just goes to show that stereotyping is always faulty to at least some extent.

That said, if a plague wiped out 50% of the lawyer class growth of GDP per capita would probably increase by at least a percentage point or two for a dozen years until more were spawned.

Impending Demise
It's appearing more and more that this site is indeed on its last legs. Were that I was of some stature that I could do something to help revive it, but my meager existence dictates that I can only devote so much attention to things online....

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