About a year ago, I predicted that Spitzer would be elected president in 2012. Damon broke the sad news to me in what struck me as an overly gleeful font. This morning at breakfast, the Fox News commentators put a fork in it: Spitzer's political career may be over. It seems that the reformer met up with a high-priced prostitute when in DC. (No word yet about how aspiring politicians are supposed to tell the difference between high-priced prostitutes and cheap politicians.)
Sadly, the news is about his libido. (You know what they say: big libido means a big fall.) Little is said about why the man rose to prominence and why it is important for someone to take his role.
In the last couple of decades, there has been a surge in the percentage of households that own stock (whether directly or through mutual and pension funds). To leave this money sloshing around without some regulatory oversight is to invite a series of ENRON-like fiascos in which senior executives and financial representatives easily manipulate the average investor. Imagine how ugly any sport would get after decades without a referee and you get an idea of what Wall Street could become – has at times become.
Spitzer was one of the few politicians who seemed able and wiling to go after the Wall Street’s coarser elements, protecting the average investor. The stupid politicians will see this imbroglio as an opening to steal Spitzer's votes. (The man recently won as governor of New York by an overwhelming majority.) The smart politicians will see this as an opening to steal his unique market position as the guy who protects the average investor.
The wrong lesson to draw from this is that this niche does not need to be served. Any politician who is savvy enough to create a career like Spitzer’s is going to have a real edge in any political contest. The sad thing is, these kinds of careers take decades to establish and just minutes to self sabotage.