Eliot Spitzer Swallows … a Hard Lesson in Humility

Eliot Spitzer Swallows … a Hard Lesson in HumilityEliot Spitzer knows how to swallow: from power to putting a female body part (you know what it is) at his tongue… Eliot Spitzer used to be Governor of New York. Top of the Empire State.

He got that job in part because of his record as a tough-guy Attorney General. He made headlines and enemies enforcing the laws and regulations that govern Wall Street, and Wall Streeters didn’t like that.

When his habit of frequenting prostitutes came out five years ago, just one year into his term as governor, his resignation brought cheers in some quarters.

Now, he’s trying to return to public life with a run for Comptroller of New York City. And this raises some fundamental questions about politics, power and human behavior.

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After such an episode, should the voters again entrust Mr. Spitzer with public office? For some, the situation is black and white: He broke the law, resigned in disgrace, and he should go do something else with his life.

Well, he tried that on CNN, and it flopped pretty hard. Anyone remember In the Arena?

So, Mr. Spitzer is asking all of us, to forgive and forget.

It seems unlikely. The man who once commanded nearly 3 million votes in the 2006 New York Gubernatorial Election is now scrambling to get 3000 signatures of registered Democrats to get his name on the ballot for Comptroller.

It’s irrelevant if he does it or not. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is still likely to kick his ass in the primary no matter what.

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Still, it is an unusually far fall from grace. And one wonders at his motivations for taking on a last-minute electoral push.

Is he trying to repair his public image and show some growth? A fall from such a great height tends to change people. Some become bitter and vindictive, while others seem to be less selfish and actually become better people.

Should the public move on and look at him as perhaps the most qualified public servant? All things considered, I think he can make a decent case for himself. The Wolf of Wall Street might be just what the City needs to get its fiscal house in better shape. But I’m not sure qualifications matter more than character here.

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In the Bible, Jesus of Nazareth teaches that there is more joy in heaven over the redemption of one sinner than there is over a whole bunch of guys who had no need of repentance (I translate loosely).

City Hall isn’t heaven. So, I’m leaning toward the guy who had not need of repentance. One can forgive, but only a fool forgets.

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