Since I’ve started covering news in New York City, I’ve seen scandals destroy the careers of the state’s top judge, the state comptroller, the governor, a prominent congressman, and now state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
In all but the case of Comptroller Alan Hevesi, a destructive relationship with women was at the core of every implosion.
Judge Sol Wachtler donned a bizarre disguise as he stalked his former mistress on the streets of Manhattan. Eliot Spitzer made complicated arrangements to sleep with a prostitute. Anthony Weiner couldn’t stop sending naked pictures of himself to strangers – even after he had been caught doing it before.
Eric Schneiderman now enters this rogues' gallery with the notoriety that he is the only one of the rotten bunch accused of actually physically abusing a woman. The New Yorker magazine article about his behavior must be read in its entirety to realize why he now might be facing criminal charges.
The common thread in these cases is a politician's inability to have a normal relationship with a woman that doesn't take a dark and twisted turn. They all decided that it was worth it, taking enormous risks with their careers, risks that cost them their jobs and, in most of the cases, sent them to prison.
Politics creates leaders and it also creates enablers. If someone woke up in the morning and told everyone within sight that he should run the world, he'd be sent to a psychiatrist. But these are also the people we routinely send to Congress, City Hall and the White House. They are the people who know better than you and me and should be in charge. And if you’re in charge and working so hard for the people, don't you deserve the best? And doesn't the best include any woman you want?
These are little boys who fly too close to the sun, trying to grab everything in sight during their sad little flights. If you can't be a rock star, there's always the State Assembly.
The history of mankind usually involves a man on a balcony and tens of thousands of people who want to stand underneath that balcony. Perhaps we ought to rethink the fundamental dynamic that’s brought us to this very bad place – or at least think very hard about putting a woman up there for a little while.