As we all know now a disgraced former New York Governor is attempting a comeback. He announced a last minute entry into the Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller. On it's face his announcement is a little hard to understand. Elliot Spitzer could spend the rest of his life writing books, giving lectures, commenting on TV, writing Op Eds, sitting on corporate boards, fundraising for charities and candidates and being a rain maker for a law firm.
So why run for an office that is clearly a step down from his previous offices and something he does not have to do in order to pay the bills? He believes in public service? He has some good ideas? He needs it in order to feel forgiven and or whole? I don't know. What I do know is that if I were a New Yorker I would seriously consider voting for him.
There have been three up and coming politicians who I looked forward to supporting for President some day who have broken my heart - Jim McGreevey, Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Wiener. Maybe not Wiener for President but he was/is someone who I thought could really make a difference. They held such promise, they are some of the smartest people around, they had great ideas, they stood for the things that mattered to me, they were passionate and they wanted to make a difference. Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Wiener were brought down by their own hubris. I wonder if it ever occurred to them that what they were doing could destroy their careers.
McGreevey on the other hand was blinded by his ambition and shame and the combination destroyed his career. He believed that he could not achieve political high office if he was true to himself and he is right.
President Clinton more than survived his sex scandal but it is a part of his legacy.
Mark Sandford's comeback leads me to believe that sex scandals are so last century. If a conservative, holier than thou hypocrite like Mark Sanford can get elected to Congress by very conservative, holier than thou voters then some guy who showed his "member of Congress" to a woman on Twitter and a guy who hired a hooker to do whatever can surely get elected to office in New York City.
I am the king of second chances so far be it for me to not wish Mr. Wiener and Mr. Spitzer well. If nothing else the months leading up the their respective primaries will certainly not be dull. In fact, how bad would it be if they won? New York could do a lot worse. They are smart guys.
This editorial by the New York Times objecting to Mr. Spitzer's return to politics is so over the top with it's outrage that I had to double check to make sure I was not reading The Onion
This is what the comptroller does
The comptroller is responsible for auditing the performance and finances of city agencies, making recommendations regarding proposed contracts, issuing reports on the state of the city economy, marketing and selling municipal bonds, managing city debt, and serving as managing trustee of the public employees pensions funds. As managing trustee, the comptroller presides over the boards of the funds, along with managing assets. Overall fund governance is with boards of the individual funds.