Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Political Nihilism

I guess Hillary Clinton is just about to lose the vote of a superdelegate named Elliot Spitzer. This isn’t good news for her campaign which needs every single delegate, super or not. Spitzer talks about something private, as if it really is private, as if his position as the chief executor of the law in his state means nothing. In the meantime he puts his wife next to him, without shame or meaning. His three daughters are mentioned by commentators, in passing.

Delegates, votes, majorities, and all such things are open to deeper meanings and interpretations in the Clintonian worldview. We are now deep into Clintonian metaphysics: She (and Bill) is making things up by claiming, implying to be precise, that the front-runner Obama should be running with her as the VP candidate; that way, as she said, "Democrats wouldn’t have to make a choice."
This, right after she asserted in the famous 3 a.m. phone ad that he is not ready to be president. The contradiction between the two things means nothing to her, of course.

Her problem is that the voters have made a choice and it is against her. But that is merely reality. So she re-structures reality a bit and this world of unreality ("dream ticket") in her mind becomes real, and all her epigones are out in public yelling the same deep-meaning-of-meaning-untruth as a new value into any TV camera placed in front of them. And they do this without shame, because in their world reality can be created or re-structured, the whatness of things doesn’t exist. It depends on what the meaning of is is, in those famous words. Nothing is and nothing matters. No votes. No rules. No manly Barack Obama demanding attention because he has earned his status as the front-runner. No thinker, no interpreter of the facts, matters. What matters is only the doer of the deed, the aggressive actor in a universe that is amoral to such will, to such assertion of power. If she wins, it becomes true.

I don’t know if Barack Obama will ever become president. If he does, in this or any other election cycle, I hope he merits it. We do know that at this point in time he is the front-runner in the Democratic primaries, and he should not be treated otherwise. For now, I recommend that he continue his hard response to Clinton’s attempt to re-structure political reality. After all, human beings are part of the natural structure of things, and sometimes that reality (which is not amoral) needs the support of human beings. Otherwise the aggressive nihilists might win, and that victory may seem impressive to those who are inclined to think that nothing is or nothing matters. That open door to nihilism can be closed by Obama. He should continue to make the right argument and keep getting the votes.

Discussions - 5 Comments

For all we know, Governor Spitzer may have made a good career move.

Obama can't close the "open door to nihilism" unless he denounces it when it's directed at Republicans, not only against himself or other Democrats. I'm not holding my breath. Nor should anyone else.

It may be too early to comment on this breaking scandal regarding Eliot Spitzer, but since I have no desire to make political points over this issue, I will go ahead and give my take as things stand now. I will not recount the details as they have been reported, rather try to put it into perspective.

First of all, it would not be fair to try and frame this in political terms-liberal vs conservative or Democrat vs Republican. Suffice to say that this story serves to prove the point that these transgressions by public officials cut across party lines. Today, we have a scandal by a Democratic politician, the Governor of the State of New York, Eliot Spitzer. In recent months or years, we have seen similar sexual scandals by Republican politicians, specifically, Mark Foley, Larry Craig and David Vitter. We have also seen the indictment of Democratic Congressman, William Jefferson of Louisiana, for bribery. Other bribery investigations are still in progress against both Republican and Democratic politicians. No doubt, many Republicans are cheering the news today. Spitzer is not regarded as a well-liked personality, and he has few defenders.

In today's press conference, Spitzer, while not going into details, all but confirmed that the breaking story against him has merit. Will he resign? He did not say, and speculation is strong that he is holding that option open as a bargaining chip against any possible indictment.

Should Spitzer be indicted if he, is in fact, involved in patronizing a high-priced prostitution ring? I will let the evidence dictate that. Is there a crime possibly involved? Very possibly- especially if the New York Governor participated in ordering that a prostitute be sent from New York to Washington DC (across state lines) for his use-as is reported.

More importantly, if all this is true, should Spitzer continue as Governor? In my view, unless this is all a big mistake or misunderstanding-no, he should not. Once a public official violates the law, he or she no longer belongs in public office. Let us not forget that, as New York Attorney General, Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings-in 2004 holding a strongly-worded press conference in announcing prostitution indictments.

Am I morally outraged at Spitzer's conduct? No. He is hardly the only man who has cheated on his wife and utilized the services of prostitutes. But he is the Governor of New York and formally Attorney General. First of all, a man in Spitzer's position who engages in this activity, automatically leaves himself/herself open to blackmail.

In addition, sexual transgressions, may or may not violate the law, public sensibility, or what have you. Sometimes, with everyday people, it is no one else's business. Not so with elected officials. Is it too much to ask that an elected official reign in his/her desires when they could interfere with their public service? As for patronizing prostitutes, there are legal ways to engage in that behavior. For example, Spitzer could have gotten on a plane and gone to a legal brothel in Nevada, thus not violating any laws. He could have traveled to any one of a number of foreign countries where prostitution is legal. Had that been the case, then I might argue that he should not have to resign. Unfortunately, Spitzer chose to engage in an illegal activity-supporting a lucrative and illegal enterprise and opening himself open to blackmail in the process.

In the coming days, further developments are sure to come. What I don't think will change is the principle behind this posting. While not trying to portray this as some typical Democratic scandal, hopefully, people like Nancy Pelosi or John Dean will think twice before talking about the so-called "Culture of Corruption" in the Republican Party. It affects both parties, and we as Americans, need to think about what is wrong with our system of politics that we are continually attracting people like Eliot Spitzer into "public service".

gary fouse


Well, Gary, things didn't go your way today. Spitzer resigned. The people of New York, and perhaps of the United States, have dodged a bullet. As one commentator says in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal: Spitzer is the kind of public official the Constitution is supposed to protect us against. You know, it might be worth reflecting on the possibility that zeitgeist drivel can be expressed much more briefly than you have favored us with.

My mistake. You said the dirtbag SHOULD resign. So, we both got our way. My apologies, Gary.

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