This is a disaster for Hillary Clinton.
According to the wiretaps, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was delighted to be getting the prostitute "Kristen" again. At least he knew her name. It took Monica Lewinsky's boyfriend six sexual encounters to remember her name (raising his lifetime average to 8.2).
You know that queasy feeling you get thinking about Bill Clinton back in the White House again? Now you remember why. Hillary Clinton couldn't feel worse about the Spitzer case if she were an actual New Yorker.
Proving that Karl Marx got everything wrong -- more bad news for Hillary -- history is indeed repeating itself, but, contra Marx, the first time as farce, the second time as tragedy. Clinton's scandal was hilarious; Spitzer's is just depressing.
Most people outside of New York can't grasp the enormity of Spitzer's political free fall.
Eliot Spitzer was the golden boy with an absolutely charmed life. His parents were the children of Jewish immigrants, who created a Ralph Lauren lifestyle for their children.
Spitzer's father made half a billion dollars in New York real estate and raised three high-achieving children -- two lawyers and a neurosurgeon. In a family like that, becoming governor of New York makes you the black sheep.
Spitzer went to the best schools -- Horace Mann, Princeton and Harvard Law School. He must have written some good papers.
He lives at the perfect address (Fifth Avenue and 79th St.) with his perfect Harvard Law School-educated Southern Baptist wife -- whose parents must be telling her they told her so right about now -- and their three perfect daughters. (Admittedly, the apartment is a gift from Dad: A mere top-flight education doesn't get you an apartment overlooking Central Park.)
And now Spitzer's entire anal-retentive, good paper-writing life has collapsed in the horrifying image of a frenzied masturbator. This is the most complete coup de grace imaginable, short of an assassin's bullet.
Spitzer's life is ruined. It doesn't matter if he has defenders who will wail, "It's his private life!" It doesn't matter if he fights the charges. It doesn't matter if this was a political prosecution. As Talleyrand said: "It's worse than a crime; it's a blunder."
Eliot Spitzer, Harvard Law graduate and Fifth Avenue denizen, is forevermore: "Client No. 9."
Forget about his career -- those around him better have him on suicide watch. Dudley Do-Right is on tape in a white-knuckle negotiation with pimps about payment for a prostitute. (Let's just be thankful that there's no anti-Semitic expression for Jews haggling about money.)
No one will ever be able to look him in the eye again. How can Spitzer hold a press conference when reporters won't stop giggling at him?
Spitzer can't go to the restaurants he used to frequent. He can't go to the Whitney Museum near his apartment. He can't go to track meets at his daughters' expensive private school. He can't show his face in public.
The golden boy's disgrace is deep and subliminal; it can't be expunged.
One shudders to imagine the sepulchral gloom pervading the Spitzer home this week. At least Hillary would liven the place up with some lamp-throwing.
Whatever Spitzer's flaws, he was a pristine product of wealth and attainment. And he threw away a star-studded life of accomplishment in a wanton, reckless pursuit of sex with prostitutes.
There's no prettifying what Spitzer has done. The Web site of the "Emperors Club VIP" whorehouse patronized by Spitzer heroically claims the prostitutes -- or "models" -- are chosen for their "level of education, family background, intelligence, personality."
One can almost hear the typical John, heavy-breathing into the phone: "And this one you call 'Busty Betty' -- does she come from a good family? Parents still together? What church do they attend?"
Surprising no one, police wiretaps indicate that the "models" were semi-literate, could not learn to swipe a credit card and seemed invariably to be on drugs. That's what you get for $2,000 an hour in this charming business.
After one prostitute missed an appointment and left a "crazy" text message for one of her pimps, the procurer remarks that the girl is on drugs. It seems, the procurer adds, "a lot of these girls deteriorate to this point."
Behold the "victimless" crime of prostitution. Hard to believe these girls would turn to drugs. Having sex with strangers for money, nothing to live for ... just thinking about it makes me want to take drugs.
It's absurd to talk about Spitzer's problem being "hypocrisy" -- as if everything would be fine if only he had previously advocated legalized prostitution.
It's absurd to talk about "alpha males" and political power -- an alpha male does not bring his family shame and disaster. Who was more alpha than Ronald Reagan? Think he ever had a "whore problem"? This is more like a dog who wee-wees on your leg.
It's absurd to talk about legal defenses. This guy has fallen from the pinnacle of New York society to being a disgrace to his class. He's the Ivy League version of Paris Hilton.
That was always the advantage Clinton had: We never expected any better. He went from Skunk Trot, Ark., to Skunk Trot, Ark. Spitzer fell from Fifth Avenue to Skunk Trot, Ark.