There are few more frequently summoned cliches in politics than to intone, with a solemn nod, that, as Herodotus told us millenia ago, “character is destiny.” It is a line never uttered about the good, the wise, the selfless, or the brave. It is hard to know what else to say, however, in the face of today’s New York Sun report that former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was drummed out of office when his habit of using high-priced prostitutes was uncovered, is planning to start a “vulture fund that would scoop up distressed real estate assets around the country, revamp them, and flip the properties for a profit.” Well, it isn’t as if anyone expected him to go into charitable work, (see: character/destiny). He never bothered to make a pretense of being in politics to help the poor, as so many Democrats do. But “scooping up distressed assets” sounds too much like his sex life. And profiting from people’s foreclosed homes is an occupation better suited to a defender of capitalism (someone willing to play the villian), than an anti-Wall Street crusader.
As a fascinating aside, the article mentions that, during a recent meeting about this fund, “Mr. Spitzer mentioned that he was no longer burdened with the frustrations of being governor.” Being governor just isn’t so great if the state legislators won’t roll over and do what you say, even if you promise to pay them more. You wonder why he spent twenty years acquiring power, when he could have just gone into his father’s real estate business to begin with — and no one would have cared about his personal habits, to boot.