So, there I was last week, about to meet my friend for a drink in Chelsea. As I approached the bar next to the one I was headed to, a taxi pulled up and a group of scantily clad, older, plastically-tampered-with women got out. I glanced to the bar they were headed into. It had a publicity event, press conference-ey background in the entryway.
I kept walking, but saw the Penthouse logo checkered across wallpaper. Funny. But whatever, “It’s New York,” I thought, and headed next door to my destination.
An hour or so later, we left and turned right, past the slight spectacle from before. Except this time, as we walked slowly past and I was able to look more closely, I was flummoxed. The Penthouse logo was offset on the wall by another design that read, “Kristin Davis for Governor.” Huh? You think you know a girl. I didn’t know that Charlotte from Sex and the City was that politically active. Or that she had ties to Penthouse. Samantha, I could see.
Miffed by this odd (public) juxtaposition of a brand synonymous with smut nudity and a campaign for high political office, I had to investigate further. I implored my friend to allow it. As a woman of class, she was not overly enthusiastic, but did acquiesce. Without much trouble, we got inside.
It was strange. A relatively trendy spot crowded with a mix of older guys in suits, young people mingling, and women in black bikinis with swirly, star-laden tattoo-style designs lovingly crafted on with Sharpie markers promoting Kristin Davis.
I immediately confirmed that this was not the Kristin Davis we all know and love. A picture of a buxom blonde woman made that much clear. Still trying to figure out what exactly this was, we began a lap. Halfway through it, we paused and took in a lay of the land. No sooner did a man, a reporter, stop me and ask me questions. Knowing nothing about what this was and kind of sketched out about what was coming into focus, I reluctantly agreed to speak with him off the record. Suffice it to say, I learned a lot more about the event from him than he learned from me.
It turns out, as gleaned from him on the scene and verified later, this Kristin Davis is the former madam of a prostitution ring, running for governor half-stunt, half-serious. She claims to have set up Eliot Spitzer on trysts. Her platform is based on three issues: legalizing marijuana, prostitution, and gay rights in New York State. Bold.
The reporter and I finished talking. My friend and I decided to finish our loop, passing near the candidate, who looked kind of like Stifler’s Mom after a run-in with the renegade plastic surgeon from Nip/Tuck.
We found the egress and availed ourselves of it, beginning to debrief immediately. The pot advocacy was no surprise, as I have withheld mention until now of the giant marijuana leaf that adorned the Kristin Davis campaign logo used out front. I suppose it’s not a patently absurd issue to push based on developments in other states lately.
Prostitution is another story. I’ve heard the argument that if you just legalize it you can regulate it, overseeing health issues and reducing STDs. Like I said, bold. Let’s just put it this way: I don’t see the votes. When I think of this issue, two things come to mind, both from The West Wing. One is the hilarious premise of differentiating between hookers and call girls. The other is when Mary Louise-Parker’s character has a conniption when an official international proclamation decries “forced prostitution,” not “prostitution,” and she thus insists that all prostitution is forced in some way, that it’s not exactly a first career choice. There’s a corollary there to Chris Rock’s assertion that keeping your daughter off the pole is a father’s chief responsibility.
As for gay rights: sure, terrific. Except that anyone has the right to be gay in New York State. Legalizing same-sex marriage, now that’s another story, a worthy cause, but still an uphill battle after the vote that failed late last year.
Once we had left and digested, I thought it was weird, but compared it to the stunt-runs that porn stars made at the gubernatorial seat in the California recall of Gray Davis in 2003. And once-laughable Arnold Schwarzenegger eventually won that race.
But a day later, upon scanning through the front page of NYTimes.com, I came across the headline “Spitzer Antagonist Advises Ex-Madam’s Campaign.” How’d that get there?
It turns out that Roger Stone, a Republican strategist and arch-nemesis of Eliot Spitzer’s, is shadow-managing Kristin Davis’ campaign. They’ve teamed up for a campaign of spite. Like the Seinfeld when Jerry tries to return a jacket for spite, should these two be denied entry to the race because it’s such a bad reason? Besides, this is a campaign that to a large extent is running against a man who already resigned two years ago in disgrace.
According to the Times piece, Davis “served a three-month jail sentence on Rikers Island in 2008 after pleading guilty to promoting prostitution.” Meanwhile, in the same scandal, Spitzer avoided all criminal charges and has been making a pronounced (and arguably successful) effort to rehabilitate his name with a slew of media appearances.
Davis won’t win, but campaigns don’t have to in order to make a difference or achieve their true goals. And while the motivation is dubious, Davis and Stone do raise a reasonable point. As she put it:
“I committed a crime, I took responsibility for that crime and I served time for it. And I hope to be viewed as someone who took responsibility for their actions.”
“There are different standards for the political class and the average person. We mention Spitzer a lot and that refreshes people on what’s going on in the political world.”
I guess I’d be pissed too if I went to jail for 90 days and the other guy merely had to hide in his posh Gold Coast apartment. For his part, Roger Stone thinks he can get Davis half a million votes. But, does Stone, the self-anointed Dark Prince of political dirty tricks, really favor the stuff Davis is running on?
And why include oblique references to sex on Davis’ site, such as donating to become a Friend Of Kristin, or a FOK, as they abbreviate it? It diminishes her already low credibility.
We’ll see how much attention this story gets as the year rolls on. I mean, hey, Joy Behar certainly noticed.
Whatever comes of it, the whole run may have been worth it to see the Times’ attempt to classily tiptoe around Kristin Davis’ breast implants with the term “grand décolletage.”
And to see if she can at least get more votes than David Paterson.