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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

What's Eliot Spitzer going to do for us?

It's not just comedians such as David Letterman, Jay Leno and Chris Rock who will make someone new the butt of their jokes as they get a batch of fresh material coming from the rapid fall from pub[l]ic office of New York Governor, Eliot Spitzer, who resigned yesterday in the midst of allegations that he was involved in a prostitution ring. A fall that may be heavier and further because of the moral high ground that he had staked out attacking corruption and all kinds of malfeasance. He has put new meaning to the phrase "cut and thrust of politics".

So, as the bottom falls out of the ex-Governor's world, the fallout now unveils a new star, who says she wanted to make music her career: a young lady named "Kristen" (a.k.a. Ashley Alexandre Dupre). Her details (and I am sure those of her other "clients") will quickly find their way from the bedspread to the newpapers' centrefold sheets and course their way to the Internet (see link). She was the singer in a band named Amie [French for female friend, if you are not aware] Street at Bed Supperclub (no kidding), in Bangkok, Thailand (how did that city get that name?).

Some upstrokes. New York now has its first black Governor, David Paterson, and the US has its first blind Governor (see Times report). Sorry Obama, your historic place is still there but ...

The downstrokes may include money laundering charges awaiting Mr. Spitzer. He had ambitions of making it to the big house, you know the White one. Chances now? Nil? A legal big wig chirped to me yesterday that at least Bill Clinton waited until he became president.

Does this have any impact on the US presidential elections? Former (1994) Democratic vice presidential nominee, Ms. Geraldine Ferraro, tried clerverly to deflect attention with her "racially divisive" remarks about Mr. Obama and then smartly stepping down from her position on Hillary Clinton's finance committee (see report). I noted yesterday to a friend that the Spitzer affair could pose questions about Mrs. Clinton's endorsements--Mr. Spitzer was a supporter of Mrs. Clinton and a super delegate. Lo and behold one English paper has latched onto part of that (see Times report). Mr. Spitzer had said that the would-be-president was someone who had "proven herself time and again".

America's political culture is puritan, and sex sins are rarely forgiven and never forgotten. David Letterman tried to make it easier by saying "I thought Bill Clinton legalised this years ago." Some other commentators are comparing pictures of Mr. Spitzer's wife (indeed a sad-looking woman) standing by her man with those of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton in similar circumstances-- presumably one of those moments when she proved herself "time and again". Provokingly, the Times notes that Mr. Spitzer refused to campaign for Mrs. Clinton in Ohio last week because he was too busy. Doing what, exactly? the newspaper chips. Speculating that he was playing hooky or was it hooker? Naughty, Times. Funny peculiar, though is that US politicians are rarely drummed out of office for sexual misconduct, but on some other charge that comes associated with that. In the Caribbean for sure, we tend to leave the sexual conduct of politicians as their private business, even looking askance if the man is not involved with at least one outside relationship and set of children.

I have never gone deeply into politics but am always astonished that those men on the top keep getting caught literally with their pants down by a machinery and equipment that they should understand fully. Wire taps? Closed circuit videos. When this happens in Liberia, with its totally invisible infrastructure, you can understand, but in the US? Are all the politicians really inane if they are not supported by their good briefs? How does a former state attorney general and now governor or president not know that they are surrounded by or followed by a raft of sophisticated surveillance? They get into such simple problems and do such crass things. Playing shell games with money. Trysts in hotel rooms. Consorting in public toilets. What the ****. Did Mr. Spitzer really sneak away from his security detail in Washington DC's Mayflower Hotel on the night of February 13 to meet his calling? Duh! I said to a legal friend yesterday that the minute more than two people are involved in something illegal or undesirable then that's the moment from when one of them is doomed.

The number 9 has many supposed properties, mathematical and spiritual, though not as significant as 3, 6, or 7. It will be interesting to see who wants to emulate Mr. Spitzer. The number 9 shirt used to be the one worn by the main scorer in a soccer team. Will Ronaldo or Eto'o ask for their numbers to be changed this weekend? The American professional baseball season is about to start and the numbers on players's shirts are not so restricted as in soccer. But I noted that the Yankees active roster does not have the number 9 allocated, nor do they allocate the number 69 (see link). Will the street traders in New York City have a field day selling jerseys with 9 and/or 69 and the name Spitzer on them? Quick! Go print up some shirts. Billy Crystal, reported by the Yankees website as a "hardcore Yankees fan" (I'd ask for that to be explained), is due to make a celebrity appearance for "The Pinstripes". Oh, oh. The fun is only just starting.

Comments on this post will only be accepted if they are in the same vein.

2 comments:

Jdid said...

Seems like Paterson was a much stronger supporter of Clinton than Spitzer ever was. Apparently it doesnt appear that he was really ever that close to her campaign.

And like you it does boggle my mind how a former D.A wouldnt think that the law with its surveillence options wouldnt catch onto him eventually.

Not sure if you followed it but there was a similar scandal with the Mayor of Detroit recently as well.

Pudding and souse said...

Paterson is "one of us", I read, with grandparents from Jamaica and Grenada. Soon have to start "bigging him up".