How could Eliot Spitzer be so stupid? What made him risk everything he worked and stood for? How could he betray his wife, his children, and the citizens of New York, not to mention idealists everywhere?
We've got this whole thing backwards. The more relevant -- and realistic -- question is: How could he have been anything but that stupid?
In other words, why wouldn't Eliot Spitzer buy a 22-year-old?
He had rationalizations by the bushel-full with which to regale himself:
I'm a super-achiever with big appetites. Isn't it all part of the same package?
Politicians have always gotten some on the side. Try walking a mile in our shoes. You can't imagine the pressure. We need to blow off some steam.
While being governor has been a study in frustration, my accomplishments as attorney-general of the state of New York are legendary. What's one black mark next to rows of gold stars?
True, I busted prostitution rings. The owners of the Emperors Club are a couple of Jersey guys, but they're not affiliated with the Mob. Don't you think I made sure of that before giving them my business?
Besides, wouldn't it be more self-righteous to place my ideological purity above the demands of my job? Consumed by my urges, I would never have gotten any work done if I were constantly distracted by temptation. Wasn't it better for my constituents if I yielded?
My wife is less interested in sex. Besides, as she's aged, she's become less attractive to me anyway.
Why not just use porn then? For a mover and shaker like me, that's the next worst thing to impotence. If I was going to get caught with one or the other, I'd rather leave the public with the image of me being serviced rather than servicing myself.
Why didn't I ask a friend for a referral to a more discreet service? I never asked for the image of a paragon of moral virtue. But, saddled with it, I couldn't buck it with those close to me.
You may not buy these rationalizations. However, as we speak, Eliot Spitzer is probably consoling himself with them. Meanwhile, in the rush to condemn him, we neglected to stop and take a look in the mirror.
Middle-aged men especially need to ask themselves: If we were wealthy like Spitzer and able to spend the money without our spouses noticing it, wouldn't we too be tempted to buy a 22-year-old? Deep down, aren't we envious of what he had been getting away with up to now?
Speaking personally, I have looked in the mirror and the mirror spoke back: You would have to take it one day at a time.
In other words, until your hormones wander off into the sunset, should you be able to afford it, the temptation to hire a young woman would never go away.
Alas, poor Eliot -- like Bill Clinton, relegated to Internet porn forevermore.