By: Joe Strupp
At least four daily newspapers in New York State have called on Gov. Eliot Spitzer to resign following revelations by The New York Times on Monday that he had engaged in an illegal act with a high-priced prostitute.
The Times itself, however, stopped short of urging an outright resignation, but pointedly demanded that Spitzer better explain himself if he wanted to remain in office. Several other papers, meanwhile, editorialized that his effectiveness is all but gone as this scandal unfolds.
“New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer could not have been more wrong in his brief public appearance after the world learned that he was suspected of patronizing a prostitution ring. He did not just betray his family in a private matter,” The Times wrote. “He betrayed the public, and it is hard to see how he will recover from this mess and go on to lead the reformist agenda on which he was elected to office.”
The Times lead editorial later ended by stating: “Mr. Spitzer did not seem to understand on Monday what he owed the public ? a strong argument for why he should be trusted again. The longer he hesitates, it becomes a harder case to make.”
Several other daily papers, however, came forth with calls for Spitzer to step down. The New York Daily News, in an editorial headlined, “Hit the road, john,” stated that, “Eliot Spitzer brought his once-promising governorship to a crashing end with a display of recklessness and hypocrisy of such magnitude that you had to question his sanity. Three words to the man: Just get out.”
The paper’s front page hed reads: “PAY FOR LUV GOV.”
The New York Post, no friend of Democrat Spitzer during his one year in office, agreed, opining with the firm editorial lead sentence: “Eliot Spitzer must resign. The governor’s brief statement late yesterday, in which he apologized to his family and to the public for an unspecified transgression – but hinted that he plans to continue in office – can’t be the last word.”
The Post’s front page blast? “HO NO.”
In Albany, the state capital, the Times Union editorial page read, “It was the last thing the people of New York needed to see and hear. If the governor has violated the public trust, as it appears he may have, he must resign.”
That followed with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle essentially calling for a resignation if Spitzer does not clearly deny the claims, which it appears he will not. “Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been too vague about his role in a high-class prostitution ring. He must step forward today to flatly disavow implications that he was involved in the illegal activity or resign,” the paper wrote.
Newsday of Melville, N.Y. headlined a story with “Irreparably damaged, Gov. Eliot Spitzer must resign,” then added, “From the moment of yesterday’s shocking, sordid revelation – and his pitiful apology – no more state business can be done with Spitzer at the helm.”
Others followed with criticism, but no outright demands for resignation.
The Syracuse Post-Standard wrote, “Given his past problems with the Legislature and his already low approval ratings, it is difficult to see how he can ever again be effective.”
In the Staten Island Advance, a similar view: “He will never again be able to govern the state of New York effectively. Waiting for all the facts is not appropriate or necessary. He did what he did. He admits it. This, on top of his record to date, strongly suggests he is not fit for the office he holds.”
The Journal News of White Plains, which called Spitzer “a complete and utter dunce,” also stated, “It is virtually impossible for a better-than-thou governor to vie effectively in the world’s second-oldest profession, when a federal wiretap purportedly catches him slithering along in the nighttime muck of the oldest.”
The Wall Street Journal took another approach, reminding readers of its numerous past editorials against Spitzer, and even claiming the statehouse press corp. had given the governor a free ride: “Where were the media before this? With a few exceptions, the media were happy to prosper from his leaks and even applaud, rather than temper, the manifestly abusive instincts of a public official.”