There are a lot of gray issues in politics, but now that Eliot Spitzer is running for New York City comptroller, we finally have one that's clear-cut: we are morally superior to him. Spitzer's candidacy has brought together young and old, Republican and Democrat, Washington and New York to condemn the ex-governor for attempting a comeback after being caught visiting hookers in 2008. The effectiveness of his tactics prosecuting Wall Street might be debatable, but his narcissism is not. "This is strictly about 'me, me, me,' and it’s a neediness that I don’t understand but we see all the time in Washington," Sally Quinn told Politico's John F. Harris and Alexander Burns. Quinn is the former Washington Post society columnist who lost that gig in 2010 after she wrote a column explaining that she had only the purest motives for scheduling her son's wedding on the same day as her husband's granddaughter's nuptials. Spitzer's neediness shouldn't be so unfamiliar.
In his first trip to meet voters on Monday, Spitzer was followed by a mob of reporters, and heckled: "When was the last time you got laid?" On MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday, the roundtable spent 15 minutes sticking it to Spitzer. The interview accomplished the unexpected: Stirring feelings of sympathy for a hooker-loving politician-turned-talking head-turned politician. Before the interview, Mark Halperin tweeted, "Micro crowd sourcing plea: we have Christine Quinn & Eliot Spitzer coming up on @Morning_Joe. Question ideas?" The question he decided on? "If you win this position, will you ever lie to the public once elected?" Spitzer responded, "No, no." (That's exactly what a liar would say!) Halperin continued pressing the city candidate on whether his punishment had really fit the crime: "But if you win, you will not really have paid--you paid some price obviously, but you will not have had your public career ended. Again, wouldn't that, to some extent, reinforce the notion that you could do what you want to do?"
Many told Politico that politicians are exactly the type of persons who think they can get away with this kind of behavior. Nevada reporter Jon Ralston told Politico that Nevada Sen. John Ensign, who resigned amid a sex scandal in 2011, "began as an earnest, I-can-change-D.C. person. But he became enamored of the trappings of power and with himself, leading to his downfall." But Ensign isn't so different from the average cheater. He slept with his best friend's wife. Politicians: They cheat just like us! Newt Gingrich ex-aide Rich Galen wins the award for the most honest Spitzer analysis. "People who run for public office, especially high public office, are not like regular people. They have a sense of themselves that most of us, even if we harbor, don’t tell other people."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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