Eliot Spitzer has made a dramatic return to New York politics, running for City Comptroller five years after dalliances with high-priced escort Ashley Dupré cost him the governorship.
In addition to her work as a prostitute, Ashley Dupré was a singer-songwriter. We conducted a close reading of lyrics from two of her songs, released in 2008. They reveal trenchant insights about the hurdles Spitzer faces in this race.
Sex money drugs is what I’m all about/
Step up your game so you can see for yo’self/
Brush up against me and whisper in my ear/
Make me feel what you wanna feel (- Move Ya Body)
These lyrics cut to the political chase: can Eliot Spitzer collect the required 3,750 voter signatures by Thursday to even get on the ballot? That’s no-nonsense, brass-tacks political analysis from Dupré.
Bend me over, take me there/
To your world, grab my hair (- Move Ya Body)
It’s what everybody’s thinking: is Spitzer too much of a bully to hold office? He nicknamed himself “The Steamroller.” Do voters really want that? It’s a salient point, Ashley.
If ya wanna take me out after da club/
Ya gotta do it right, baby, show me some love (- Move Ya Body)
Who hasn’t Spitzer shown “love” in “da club”? That’s right: establishment political players. Did he solicit a prized endorsement from Héctor J. Figueroa, president of the powerful 32BJ union, for example? No. So Spitzer can’t “take him out” after that. Dupré’s work is full of these metaphors.
Know where to touch me in all the right spots/
Know how to handle me and take this pulse (- Move Ya Body)
Dupré has a forthright warning for Spitzer: be careful of yes-men in your camp. They may “know how to handle” you, but do they act in your best interests? Keep an eye on that, Dupré recommends.
Would you stay right here, boo?/
Would you defend your girl, do whatever she do? (- What We Want)
OK, it’s the elephant in the room. Would the Comptrollership be just a stepping-stone for higher office? The voters are Spitzer’s “girl.” They want their “boo” to stay focused on fighting for New York City, not take off for D.C. whenever a better offer comes along. You’re right, Ashley. Politics can be very personal, and not always policy-based.
I know what you want,
You know what I want,
I know what you need,
Can you handle me? (- What We Want)
Of course, the number one issue for Eliot Spitzer to answer: can he handle the CityTime scandal? This massive case of contract fraud has rocked faith in municipal fiscal competence. It’s all the city talks about. Does Eliot Have the cojones to clean out the stables? Once again, Ashley’s political acumen gets to the core of issues.
Hey you, I wanna tell you something/
I’ve been around, you can’t tell me nothing/
I see through you (- What We Want)
Who’s “been around”? Scott Stringer, that’s who. The well-liked Borough President is Spitzer’s frontrunner opponent, who’s been kissing babies and making friends while Spitzer was yakking it up on CNN. Voters may “see through you” and go local. He’s no pushover, Spitz. Mark Dupré’s words.
Will your love be strong?/
Will I turn my back and find out you’re gone? (- What We Want)
The New York City Comptroller’s race has a big whale of a conundrum to deal with: pension policy. Do city workers trust you not to “turn your back” on them and their precious retirement futures? Municipal employees pay attention, Mr. Spitzer. And they vote. Can you give them “strong love” as Dupré so heartily recommends?
Uh, your body do that thing/
Uh, your body do that thing/
Shake your body, do that/
I’ll be droppin’ (- What We Want)
OK, enough pussy-footing around. The ugly skeleton in Spitzer’s closet is so obvious as to barely need mentioning. He will “be droppin” out of the city campaign funding system, opting to spend big from his own wealth. Will New Yorkers respect a man who feels like he has to pay for it? Nuanced take.
Look in my eyes so I can see if you’re real/
Can you ride with me, boy? (- What We Want)
Oh yeah, that thing where you fucked a call girl with your black socks on and had to admit it and resign on live TV. That’s probably still an issue.
Tom Cowell is on Twitter @MrTomCowell .