"Crusader of the Year":

Kimberley Strassel complains about the media's "act[ing] as an adjunct of Spitzer power, rather than a skeptic of it," and points out,

Time magazine bestowed upon Mr. Spitzer the title "Crusader of the Year" ....

What's inapt about that? I'd bet many Crusaders had lots of sex with prostitutes.

Thanks to Rand Simberg and InstaPundit for the pointer.

What I would like to see discussed is whether Spitzer was a good prosecutor or a bad one. What exactly is a good vs a bad prosecutor? Did all/most of the people he nailed deserve to get nailed, or did he abuse prosecutorial discretion? Are prosecutors fundamentally different people from public defender types? (Of course, many prosecutors move on to do criminal defense work in the private sector.)

Compare and contrast Spitzer as a prosecutor with Guliani as one (or the prosecutor of your choice).
3.12.2008 2:43pm
martinned (mail) (www):

Continuing the Spitzer conversation here:

Can anyone explain to me why this is something to resign over? Yes, he broke the law, but as far as I can see his infraction is no worse than if he'd been caught smoking pot. Otherwise, it's between him and his wife.

(Disclosure: I am fortunate enough to live in a country where both prostitution and smoking pot are legal, but that's beside the point right now.)
3.12.2008 2:47pm
CheckEnclosed (mail):
What is the over/under on how long it will take Kristen to get: a)a book deal; b) a date with Dr. Phil; c) a reality show?
3.12.2008 2:57pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
What would happen if Time Magazine declared a Muslim "Crusader of the Year." ?
3.12.2008 2:57pm
martinned, how about the fact that he has prosecuted and maligned both prostitution rings, and those who engage in money structuring schemes?
3.12.2008 2:59pm
Ben P (mail):

Can anyone explain to me why this is something to resign over?

It was a violation of the law, but my guess in this case (and to be fair I only have some familitarity with NY politics) Mr. Spitzer had a large number of enemies both outside and inside his own party within the state. Further, he made his career as a prosecutor prosecuting "moral" crimes such as this.

Even something like this was enough for all his enemies to go on the attack, and quite effectively it seems.
3.12.2008 3:01pm
martinned (mail) (www):

As I recall, his crusader/prosecutor past revolved mainly around prosecuting Wall Street white collar crime.

[Checking wikipedia.]

Wikipedia lists, as his notable cases, computer manufacturing, securities, insurance, entertainment, abortion (in favour of it, apparently) and police corruption. So I guess this is still not the same as, say, a hypothetical bible thumper getting caught with a street walker.
3.12.2008 3:10pm
HipposGoBerserk (mail):

I don't live in NY, so it's not really my business, but . . .

He prosecuted several prostitution rings, making this a case of rank hypocrasy at best and possible corruption of the prosecutors office at the worst (did his service providers ask him to eliminate the competition?). Either way, his effectiveness is so destroyed he has to leave office. The political crime he committed was having a scandal at at time when he had only 30% approval ratings.
3.12.2008 3:19pm
martinned (mail) (www):
The political crime he committed was having a scandal at at time when he had only 30% approval ratings.

I guess that's probably the best answer...
3.12.2008 3:28pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
Brilliant point by Ms. Strassel. Spitzer's "enablers" are sure to continue the virtual blackout of Dategate. You watch.
3.12.2008 3:29pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Eugene, I'm pretty sure the Crusaders you refer to raped the women they came upon rather than paying them large sums for their connubial services. I hate Spitzer, but I wouldn't imply he raped anyone.
3.12.2008 3:37pm
TMac (mail):
I don't believe Spitzer was intentionally structuring--he was just using a lay-away plan.
3.12.2008 3:41pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):
This all goes back to the arguments against the Governor that go back to his time as AG. Many in the business community, as well as intelligent well-informed New Yorkers criticized his practices as being more of a show than actual good law enforcement. Then AG, Spitzer, was often ridiculed for bringing his cases in the court of public opinion, bullying his target, demanding a settlement that made everyone look good, and that he'd then go on his merry way. This characterization was the reason many felt he was putting his political aspirations ahead of the law enforcement duties he owed the state.

That said, from day one, the Governor drew rebuke for his tactics. On the first day of his term he called the Assembly Minority leader, leaving a message: I am the F*#&ing steamroller. He was elected by a huge margin on the platform of cleaning up the cesspool that has been NY politics. Yet, he has been the biggest offender. He allegedly illegally used the State Police to keep track of Senate Majority Leader Bruno, whom Spitzer accused of wrongly using state aircraft. No wrongdoing has been found on the part of Mr. Bruno, yet Spitzer was still under investigation. The governor attempted to trump an unambiguous Vehicle &Traffic Statute to grant illegal aliens driver's licenses. After public outcry and multiple suits filed seeking to enjoin the program, the governor withdrew his plan. Now it comes out that the governor was frequenting high-priced prostitutes—and has been for close to 10 years. It's deeper than that though: Even if one wants to avoid the sex part of this, the governor allegedly violated federal law in his structuring the transactions to avoid reporting of high-value transactions. Even if that wants to be ignored, because it all revolves around the sex, there is one issue that I don't think has gotten much press yet.

Then AG Spitzer brought down high-price prostitution rings, while allegedly frequenting other high-price prostitutes. Furthermore, he spoke at length about the terrible nature of these rings—indeed as both AG and Governor he worked with women's rights groups to strengthen the laws and enforcement of prostitution.

All of these things are why he should be out of office. Not because he had an affair, but because this is just one more thing to throw on the pile for an administration that was built on ethics reform and rebuilding the public's trust in the gov't. All this Mr. Spitzer accomplished within 14 months of taking his oath of office.
3.12.2008 3:45pm
nosmo (mail):
He raped his constituents in the Empire state and he raped whatever dignity was left of the office of Governor....

and yes there were camp followers and prostitutes during the crusades and the crusaders took their pleasures like every army on the move, by force, for money, and quite often by mutual consent. When you are a defenseless widow or orphan you will do whatever it takes to gain a friendly armed defender
3.12.2008 3:46pm
WHOI Jacket:
So, the NY Governor puts himself in prime blackmail position with a prostitution ring that may or may not be associated with the Gambino crime family.

What are the possible objections?
3.12.2008 3:47pm
Next Year In (mail) (www):
Did you know that when the Crusaders took over Constantinople in 1204 they put a French prostitute on the Patriarch's throne? No joke.
3.12.2008 4:03pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Eugene, I'm pretty sure the Crusaders you refer to raped the women they came upon rather than paying them large sums for their connubial services. I hate Spitzer, but I wouldn't imply he raped anyone.

Well, they'd have to bring along camp followers for the days when they didn't capture a town.

"What happened to all the women?"

"We raped and killed them all."

"Drat. What are we going to do now?"
3.12.2008 4:08pm

Are prosecutors fundamentally different people from public defender types?

Well, you don't find all that many PDs who think the only thing wrong with the Crucifixion was that they didn't do it again when the opportunity arose.
3.12.2008 4:16pm
AntonK (mail):

"I'd bet many Crusaders had lots of sex with prostitutes."
No doubt, but were they throwing prostitutes and their clients in jail at the same time that they were partaking of the sensual pleasures with prostitutes themselves?
3.12.2008 4:44pm
PersonFromPorlock, if I saw antisemitism everywhere (I don't, but I do in many of Israel's loudest critics), I might think that was a veiled reference to Spitzer's religion and the malignant deicide charge. (Of course, the opportunity for deicide does not come along so often, does it.) Now, Orlando Patterson, professor of sociology at Harvard had an op-ed in the NYT yesterday accusing Hillary of making a racist appeal with her 3AM ad, since clearly, at least clearly to him, she was exploiting latent fears of black men by white Americans. (No kidding, read it to see the "logic" he adduces in support of that contention.)

CheckEnclosed, sorry, but I beat you by at least 30 minutes with speculation of just that sort re Kristen's future opportunities. (see previous Spitzer thread) I think it will be in the tabloids (or People, US, etc.) will be there before a book deal, or maybe Vanity Fair. If there is some exceptional about her (e.g., she is an ABD in philosophy at Columbia, the Mensa Whore; or, she comes from one of America's finest families; etc.), she might go even further, like 60 Minutes. After a couple of years, when she has sucked all she can from the current celebrity (a la Fleiss, Xavier Hollander, the Mayflower Madam, the one who outed Vitter, the one who did Dick Morris at the Hays Adam hotel in DC, and other notorious hookers), she can go another round with her story of how she was born again and found salvation.

18 USC 1030, thanks for that riff on Spitzer as AG. It is the sort of thing I was looking for, though I expect others may differ with your assessment of him. (Didn't he clean, or at least start the job, the Augean stables of Wall Street? That was a public service, wasn't it, even if all the problems weren't cured?) Now, do you care to say something about Andrew Cuomo, Spitzer's very ambitious successor as NY's AG, who has garnered lots of press for going after just about everything that moves which would upset the citizenry, e.g., corruption in student loans; subprime mortgage lending, etc. I don't know if it counts as schadenfreud or not, but I would be very surprised if Cuomo's immediate reaction to the Spitzer news was that it might mean he won't have to wait until 2010 to be the next Cuomo in the governor's mansion.
3.12.2008 4:55pm
pmorem (mail):
martinned, HipposGoBerserk:

27% approval rating was last week, before any of this hit.

This just brought out all the bad blood people already held for him.
3.12.2008 8:19pm

PersonFromPorlock, if I saw antisemitism everywhere (I don't, but I do in many of Israel's loudest critics), I might think that was a veiled reference to Spitzer's religion...

I suspect Mr. Spitzer is an autotheist....
3.12.2008 10:19pm
Kevin P. (mail):
martinned, the guy was a sanctimonious bully and a thug. He threatened scores of people with prosecution and scary consequences, then settled for nothing. He built up an image of a holier-than-thou crusader for justice and ethics and then turned out to be a lawbreaker himself. I agree that prostitution should not be illegal, but am enjoying watching him become ensnared in it.
3.13.2008 1:20am
linguist (mail):
The Crusader finds Kristen, a story out of Time.
3.13.2008 10:19am