The disgraced former-governor Eliot Spitzer recently spoke at the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University as part of a series of talks to “promote philosophical reflection on some of the most challenging ethical issues in public life.”
The foundation’s director, Lawrence Lessig, told The New York Post, that he asked Spitzer to speak because he could offer attendees a unique perspective.
Lessig also said that the well-publicized “hookergate” debacle that cost him governorship was not a factor in determining whether Spitzer was qualified to speak.
Kristin Davis, the madam who supplied Spitzer’s escorts is furious about the speaking gig.
The following excerpt is from a post on Davis blog:
Spitzer drawing the line between public policy and personal ethics is blatantly un-American. Public Officials are elected, in part, on their personal ethics. There [sic] entire past and any blemish on their character are brought to the public light for us to scrutinize and determine whether or not they are Ã¢â‚¬Å“fitÃ¢â‚¬Â for leadership. Their families campaign with them to show us that they have the type of values that Americans respect and support.
Mr. Spitzer was a vigilant crusader against Wall Street. He was also a vigilant crusader against prostitution yet a hypocrite of the highest level since he went around arresting the same agencies he frequented. I have to wonder if that hypocrisy bled into other areas of his life? Especially since the biggest Ponzie scheme in the history of the world happened right under his nose as both AG and Governor.
For the record, I am not saying that I see no value in hearing what Mr. Spitzer has to say. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d love to hear from a man who held the highest political office in the state of NY on how we can better evaluate our public officials to ensure they are not corrupt.
You can read the letter she wrote Lessig here.
The response from Harvard students and alums is mixed. Tara Jayaratnam, a student at HarvardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kennedy School of Government, told The Boston Globe she “thought it was extremely valuable,” adding that society tends to hold public officials to high standards, often overseeing the expertise they may be able to bring to a debate.
An alum who spoke with The Post at the Harvard Club of New York didn’t mince words: “It’s unbelievably hypocritical. He should find the deepest hole in Manhattan and crawl back into it. Unfortunately, there’s no sense of shame anymore. Shame died with the Clinton era.”
Mmm, catty–just the way we like our politics.
Image via A Life’s Anthropology. Information via The New York Post.