Friday, March 14, 2008

Richard Russo on Eliot Spitzer

One of my favorite authors opines on the Eliot Spitzer saga.

WaPo: Imagining Eliot

Before everything begins to unravel, Eliot confides to [Russo's fictional character who is surely himself] Rick that he's made a mess of things, betrayed everyone he loves, that he isn't even sure who he is anymore. But Rick will tell him not to be melodramatic. It's true he's made mistakes, big ones, Rick explains, but they aren't what Eliot thinks they are. Rick admits he's outraged that Eliot has spent $80,000 on prostitutes, because it shouldn't cost that much to get laid in America. It's like one of those $500 Pentagon hammers. Downright wasteful. And why order a hammer from New Jersey and pay the shipping? There are perfectly good hammers in Washington -- it's a damned city of hammers when you think about it. Where on earth did Eliot get the idea that New Jersey hammers were superior? All he wanted to do was nail something, right?

Don't joke, Eliot tells Rick. This isn't funny; he could go to jail. But to Rick's way of thinking, that's the biggest joke of all. Your average CEO can claim millions in salary and stock options in the same year his company is going down the tubes, and it's all perfectly legal. You want to know what you're really guilty of, Eliot? Cluelessness. You didn't forget who you are, you forgot where you are. This is America, pal, where you can lead the nation into war on false pretenses and be rewarded with a second term in office, but where illicit sex is and has always been an impeachable offense. (Note to self: A little of this Rick character goes a long way.)