Spitzer, Weiner & The End of Shame

Shame can be a good thing. It can hold people accountable for the mistakes they make. At its best, it can lead to true contrition and a genuine desire to change behavior.

And then there’s Eliot Spitzer.

The former NY Governor and no-holes-barred prosecutor wants to make a comeback from the prosecution scandal that ended his governorship. He’s running for NY City Comptroller. Spitzer maintains we all have “urges” and his failing was he didn’t keep his in check.

Can’t say I’ve ever had an urge to be with a prostitute, have you?

Yet, Spitzer believes he should be leading us. His comeback has little to do with public service. It’s about ego and limelight. His race is a political calculation about just how low the voters’ standards are. “There is not a standard of purity that applies in public service,” he said. If there was, “we would have a very short list of individuals who could then serve.”

Spitzer no doubt made the late entry into the race because he saw how well Anthony Weiner was doing in the polls for mayor. Weiner is another sex oddball with a comeback story and big ego.

Their races are more about the electorate than they are about the men involved. Just where do the voters’ standards lie? Is this the end of shame? Or the beginning of a new standard.

Elections matter.

The writer, a one-time elected official, is a political and communication strategist and speaking coach.