Last Updated Mar 11, 2008 6:19 PM EDT
Right now, a lot of people are piling on Eliot Spitzer for portraying himself as being so righteous in stamping out evil even while reportedly seeking out the services of high-priced call girls. People seem to be surprised.
But I'm not. I was very lonely out there in the cold in 2005 when I wrote an article, first in Chief Executive magazine and then in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that Spitzer had an ethical problem. (See also below) I wrote:
"He is attempting to create a new ethical standard. Yet he has turned a blind eye to his own ethical problem. If he wants to set new, higher standards of conduct in corporate America, he must himself adhere to those new expectations."
If Spitzer was going after people in business for perceived conflict of interests, I argued, he had his own conflict--pursuing justice on one hand and blatantly pursuing political office on the other. Many other attorneys general have done it, but that was no longer an excuse in view of the new standards that Spitzer himself was helping establish, I argued.
Spitzer's camp could never respond to my argument. The only thing they knew how to do was to attack and destroy. It was obvious that he, and they, lacked a true moral core. Blind ambition, yes. Moral core, no.
The greatest tragedy is that the people of New York are now going to suffer from political gridlock and/or drift while the Spitzer problem gets sorted out.