When it comes to politics, it seems that time and again our elected (or hopeful) officials get caught up in embarrassing scandals that derail their efforts to win our votes, or at the very least mar their political legacies. Over the past several years, we have seen John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Craig, and several others taken as a result of their sexual indiscretions. New Yorkers in particular are no strangers to politicians who lust for more than just political power. Not a day passes without Anthony Weiner gracing our news cycles trying to resurrect his bygone ambitions in the wake of his sexcapade.
Former Governor Eliot Spitzer is another fallen politician aiming to breathe life back into his political career by running for New York City Comptroller. New Yorkers are sure to recall the scandal that derailed him a few years back, which involved high class "escort" Ashley Dupre. So now that Spitzer wants our forgiveness while rebuilding his career, why is he worth our votes?
If his own ethics (or lack thereof) are the reason to deny him your vote, consider that in the years since his resignation, Spitzer has been involved in no incidents of indiscretion. It's possible that he just hasn't been caught, but regardless, he has put five solid years without incident between his political undertakings. At the same time, he has maintained an active presence in the political zeitgeist. It is clear that if he hasn't developed a new set of morals (particularly concerning infidelity) he has learned to keep his indiscretions under the radar.
If political incompetence makes you hesitant to vote for Spitzer, consider his record as attorney general and governor up until his resignation. Not only did he fight against corporate corruption of the type that brought us the financial meltdown of 2008, but he also attempted to enact reforms across the board in education, same-sex marriage, and illegal immigration. While he wasn't always successful, he wasn't afraid to try to usher in meaningful change. This suggests that he genuinely cares about helping his constituents.
Spitzer spent the time between his resignation and his current bid for New York City Comptroller as a pundit on CNN and Current TV. He used the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of and passion for politics. Perhaps more importantly, upon deciding to return to the political arena, he chose to run for humbler office than mayor or governor. He likely understands the necessity of tempering his political aspirations according to the expectations of voters. He'll also take the job for a dollar a year. Clearly, Spitzer is willing to take two steps back in order to take a step forward. At least for the foreseeable future, he seems willing to keep his ego in check when approaching the job.
Spitzer's political career is marked both by admirable highlights and embarrassing low points. Ultimately, however, he is a well-educated, competent, and determined politician. He has the audacity to challenge the status quo, and is hopefully more humble due to his fall from grace and painstaking return to the political ring. Even though you might not give it to him, Spitzer is absolutely worth your vote.