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Eliot Spitzer missed one question on his SAT. He missed none on his law-school admissions test. He went to Princeton, Harvard Law. This was a guy who could not only understand securities fraud but could prosecute it, too, often under arcane laws that nobody had looked up since Prohibition. In other words, he was a bright dude.
So what in the wide world was Eliot Spitzer thinking?
"Oh, that's easy," Christopher Hitchens said from his Washington apartment last week, as word of Spitzer's morning resignation buzz-sawed through the Beltway.
Hitchens—a former contributor to the Voice—has written the obituaries of more than a few political careers, and he has a theory about the ones with poor coital judgment: They just don't see illicit sex as an obvious threat to their political survival. In fact, they see it as a primary reason to seek higher office in the first place.
"You wouldn't be doing any of this if one of the objectives was not to increase the amount of pussy that was available to you. That is what you do," Hitch says. "You don't do it to be, ah, the most approval-rated governor of New York, for fuck's sake."
During the 1992 presidential primary season, Hitchens pointed out, the day that Bill Clinton won the endorsement of the Democratic Leadership Council—"which, in fact, meant it was overwhelmingly probable he would be the nominee"—was the very day he hit on Paula Jones.
"He said, 'Wait—I could be the next president of the United States. Now, where's the next cutie? Because I need that now, much more than I did 10 minutes ago,' " Hitchens speculated.
And likewise with JFK: "With Kennedy, it's really all over the guy for everyone to see," Hitchens said. "From dawn till dusk, from soup to nuts, from everything he does to the last day he dies: 'I do this to get laid.' "
Hitchens is at work on a new memoir, but he couldn't get away from politics on Wednesday, working on a bottle of Pinot Noir as he talked.
Returning to Spitzer, he added that the man's moral grandstanding and bullish style of governance should have been a dead giveaway to his boudoir habits: "What's the point of all this if I don't get an orgasm now? What's the point of being an alpha male?
"Anyone who doesn't get this," he concluded, "doesn't know diddly-squat."