H/T to Keith Olbermann, who used this post's title in his broadcast tonight.
Well, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has gone and done it. He's gotten himself involved with a sex scandal. Personally, I'm surprised. Not as surprised as I would have been if it were his predecessor, George Elmer Pataki. (We're supposed to use middle names, right?) But I am surprised that he would do it. He should have known better. It was a terrible lapse in judgment and, because of not just this but the other scandals he's brought about, he should step down as Governor of New York. It does sadden me to say that because I do like him, I like what he did as Attorney General, and I voted for him, both for Governor and Attorney General. I was proud of the "drive-a-stake-through-him"-work he did as our AG. But I do not believe that he can effectively serve as our governor any more. Not in this term. Maybe he can run again later, after all this dies down.
I am curious, however, not just how they found out about this, but also why they pursued it. The authorities were investigating a money-laundering ring and had focused on a particular escort service. Wiretaps had picked up on a client going by the name Client 9 who had arranged to escort one of the "escortees" from NYC to DC. (No word yet on the identities of Clients 1 through 8.) At what point did their interest in the money-laundering they were investigating turn to the details of Client 9's itinerary? And why did they pursue this conviction, or that of any of the other defendents? Yes, if you read the Mann Act and its interpretations, it is technically true that what Spitzer did violated this law. But you know what? So what? Sure, there are some who feel that prostitution of any kind, even among consenting adults who truly enjoy what they're doing, however perverted it may appear to others, should be a crime punishable my a minimum of prison time. I would agree with that if we were talking about forced prostitution, or any kind of sex slave trade. Those people are scum. But to apply this rationale to your basic run-of-the-mill boy-meets-expensive-call-girl, boy-pays-expensive-call-girl, boy-fucks-expensive-call-girl, boy-goes-home-to-his-free-wife scenario is, in my opinion, a misapplication of the law. And not only that, the law, by all the interpretations I've seen, was an attempt to control immorality. And you know what the dead-and-buried hero of the Republican Party, Ronald Wilson Reagan (count the letters; 6-6-6!) said, "You can't legislate morality."
But you can legislate slavery and slavery for purposes of prostitution. Not only that, you can also legislate it in the Territories of the United States, such as the Marianas Islands. If they want to enforce the Mann Act the way it ought to be enforced (for you can't legislate morality, remember?, so you can't enforce its original intent), then perhaps they should look into the kind of people who aided and abetted the transportation of people for the purposes of illicit sex as it happened there. People like Thomas Dale DeLay, better known as Tom DeLay.