Even as a born and bred Canadian I was fascinated with the rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer. He’s the guy that, as Attorney General of New York State, went after the wall street bandits, suing the thieves that ran large and highly profitable companies they used as their personal piggy banks. It was nice to see a politician, American or otherwise, actually do something that most wanted done and aggressively sue the wolves that wear expensive sheep’s clothing. Some would argue that Spitzer, had he not run for New York governor and continued his wall street manhunt, may have changed the course of a future global economic meltdown and helped avert the catastrophe that was to follow. Others think he was just another arrogant, self absorbed, meddling, asshole politician. I like the guy and would have supported him even with the Governors mansion full of hookers. His wife may not have been so supportive.
After his success as New York State Attorney General, Spitzer (naturally) ran for state Governor and won by a record vote. Spitzer was flush with success but some of his new found fame was seeping into his character and he took on a rockstar persona as he appeared on a variety of hip and respected tv shows and within the pages of magazines and websites. He was the golden boy, loved by voters but reviled by high powered financial titans and politicians he had crossed during his cull of dishonesty and greed. We know the story of how Spitzer, a moral, married father and respected public figure, sought the comforts of a variety of high priced prostitutes employed by the now defunct Emperors Club VIP. This didn’t bode well with voters and, prompted and vigorously supported by his long list of business and political enemies, he stepped down as governor on March 12, 2008 amid the swirl of gossip and published graphic details.
There’s a new documentary available now which details the entire Spitzer rise and fall called Client 9, a fascinating study of power, privilege, greed, politics and entitlement. Eliot Spitzer is interviewed extensively throughout the film and he’s candid and forthcoming, which is why I always found him to be an interesting public figure even after his ‘Charlie Sheen’ romp. Numerous political figures, friends, employees, business people and of course, a multitude of hookers are interviewed during the film and the details we learned during the meltdown are clarified. But during all of this, Spitzer comes across as a guy that was caught up in his own success and fame but now looks back with the clarity afforded those with experience. How many politicians, especially of his calibre, are actually candid and forthcoming? Especially those that have been caught with their pants down. Literally.
I highly recommend the film and, even though it unearths the nasty shit so deeply entrenched within American politics, reveals how those we see as somehow a bit better than the rest are really just the same in so many ways. Even multibillionaires and high powered politicians are weak, greedy, deceitful, vindictive and childish. Which somehow seems to make us all feel much better about just being regular people. But all that money and power would be nice, wouldn’t it?