Dis­graced duo just can’t stay out of pol­i­tics arena

The Covington News - - OPINION - JACKIE CUSH­MAN COLUM­NIST

Don­ald Trump’s tweet Tues­day of this week puts it all in per­spec­tive, “@realDonaldTrump: With Spitzer & An­thony Weiner run­ning for of­fice, New York is pervert cen­tral! Pa­thetic.”

Why are the du­ally dis­graced Eliot Spitzer and An­thony Weiner run­ning for of­fice af­ter en­gag­ing in pub­lic pec­ca­dil­loes that would have doubt­less per­suaded many a lesser man to stay home? Only they know for sure -- their rea­son­ing is prob­a­bly a bit dif­fer­ent than their pub­lic pro­nounce­ments.

They may have been in­spired by the re­cent elec­tion of the for­merly dis­graced for­mer South Carolina Gov. Mark San­ford, who won the spe­cial elec­tion for his state’s 1st Con­gres­sional Dis­trict on May 7 against El­iz­a­beth Col­bert Busch.

If San­ford (who re­signed while in of­fice, as well) can suc­ceed on the cam­paign trail in South Carolina af­ter ly­ing to his staff about hik­ing on the Ap­palachian Trail, then there is the pos­si­bil­ity for re­demp­tion, and elec­tion, for any­one.

For­mer New York Gov. Spitzer’s an­nounce­ment this week that he is run­ning for New York City comptroller raised again the is­sue of sex­ual trans­gres­sions and for­give­ness in pol­i­tics, as did the previ- ous an­nounce­ment of for­mer Rep. An­thony Weiner that he is cam­paign­ing for New York mayor.

Spitzer, who re­signed as gover­nor af­ter be­ing caught in a fed­eral wire­tap op­er­a­tion ar­rang­ing for pay­ment for prostitution ser­vices, has had five years since his pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion. Weiner, who re­signed af­ter a sex­ting scan­dal (not just send­ing sex­ual pho­tos, but then ly­ing about it), has had but two years out of the pub­lic eye.

Spitzer is run­ning for an of­fice that is lower on the re­spon­si­bil­ity scale than the one he held pre­vi­ously, as was the case with San­ford. Weiner is do­ing the op­po­site. In­stead of set­ting his goals a notch or two lower, he has raised them.

Weiner, with wife Huma, was fea­tured in a New York Times Mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle by Jonathan Van Me­ter on April 10, ti­tled, “An­thony Weiner and Huma Abe­din’s Post-Scan­dal Play­book,” which was a well-placed pre-cam­paign piece. Pos­si­bly the pub­li­ca­tion of this ar­ti­cle lulled him into the be­lief that, if his wife and publi­cist were will­ing to for­give him, so would vot­ers.

He must have been shocked when The New York Times’ edi­to­rial board laid into both men.

“Mr. Spitzer, like Mr. Weiner, is a po­lit­i­cal an­i­mal who clearly finds it hard not to have an au­di­ence. That’s un­der­stand­able, but did they have to bring us all along on their jour­neys of per­sonal am­bi­tion? For th­ese two char­ter mem­bers of the Kar­dashian Party, no­to­ri­ety is look­ing like the quick, easy path to re­demp­tion.”

Why do can­di­dates run for of­fice? The ra­tio­nales are as myr­iad and com­plex as the can­di­dates them­selves. A bet­ter ques­tion might be: Why aren’t more nu­mer­ous qual­i­fied can­di­dates run­ning for of­fice?

Is the press scru­tiny too much? Is the cam­paign work­load too hard (vir­tu­ally 24/7)? Is the op­por­tu­nity cost too great (giv­ing up a highly paid job for a po­ten­tial po­si­tion with less pay and more stress)?

Is the pub­lic in­va­sive­ness too much for the fam­i­lies? Or is the po­lit­i­cal field in gen­eral held in such low es­teem that qual­i­fied peo­ple don’t want to

en­ter into the fray?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stum­bles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them bet­ter,” Theodore Roo­sevelt said in Paris in 1910 when talk­ing about cit­i­zen­ship

in a repub­lic. “The credit be­longs to the man who is ac­tu­ally in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, be­cause there is no ef­fort with­out er­ror and short­com­ing; but who does ac­tu­ally strive to do the deeds; who knows great en­thu­si­asms, the great de­vo­tions; who spends him­self in a wor­thy cause; who at the best knows in the end the tri­umph of high achieve­ment, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while dar­ing greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who nei­ther know vic­tory nor de­feat.”

Pos­si­bly the ques­tion we have to ask our­selves is how do we en­cour­age more timid souls to try the po­lit­i­cal arena?

To find out more about Jackie Gin­grich Cush­man, and read fea­tures by other Cre­ators Syn­di­cate writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit www. cre­ators.com

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