There's nothing funnier in American politics than sex scandals, don't you find?
My personal favourites are the ones involving rabid anti-homosexual right-wingers getting caught doing naughty things with boys. Monseiur Larry Craig's wide stance is a perfect example. Others, like the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky saga, become so legendary, you can still dine out on intern jokes years later (cigar, anyone?).
But now there's a new one adding spice and sensation to the otherwise dull lives of ....um, New Yorkers.
State Governor Eliot Spitzer has been linked to a high-class prostitution ring, that reportedly charged clients up to $5,500 a pop. Today he's given a brief media conference, admitting to nothing in concrete, but admitting he needs to spend time "regaining the trust" of his family.
Which brings me to my next point - The Wife.
Stoically "Standing By Her Man" - Silda Wall Spitzer said nothing during the conference, and even held hands with her husband as they left. One wonders if she dropped it like a stone once they were out of view of the cameras. What must it be like for her? While Spitzer himself will be hit by an outpouring of surprise, disbelief, anger, and shame, his wife will cop all of that, plus another, more terrible thing. Pity.
Pity her for not knowing what her husband was up to. Pity her for not leaving him straight away. Pity her for what she has to tell her three daughters. And perhaps, just perhaps, pity her for not being "enough" for him sexually. (That's not my personal view, just what normally happens with these sorts of things. Remember what they said about Liz Hurley during the whole Hugh Grant/Devine Brown affair? "If you get good home cooking, you don't have to use the drive-thru", that sort of thing).
What do you do in a situation like that?
And more generally, what happens to people's sex lives when they become a politician? Now apparently power is an aphrodisiac. A girl I know who worked as a media adviser in Canberra for a time once told me she often saw pretty-and-super-well-educated young women eyeing off much-older politicians simply because they got off on being close to powerful figures. Now I can't even imagine sauntering up to Alexander Downer, or Wayne Swan, or even Julia Gillard with a sly wink and a sexy grin, but perhaps I am in the minority.
And what's the temptation for women in politics? One can't imagine that they don't have the same temptations with their own young, smart, well-educated advisers - or perhaps they too dig their male counterparts, a la Cheryl Kernot.
Governor Spitzer's affair is obviously a cash transaction - does that make it better, or worse? I try to keep an open mind about prostitution, because it's not going to go away, and it's (generally) a safe and responsible option for both participants. But would I want my own other half popping off for a $5000 professional shag?
Well, for starters, I'd want to know where he got the damn cash, and whether the chick also cleaned my house, car and re-painted the roof for that price.
I'm not sure if Mrs Spitzer would be thinking the same though. I'm a more povvo kinda gal...