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Can shamed former NY governor Spitzer win new election with honesty? July 29, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned from office in 2008 after getting caught paying for prostitutes, is reentering politics and running for New York State Comptroller. Spitzer’s strategy thus far has been based on reputation and honesty. In a new ad, Spitzer tells viewers, “Look – I failed. Big time. I hurt a lot of people. When you dig yourself a hole, you can either lie in it for the rest of your life or do something positive.” So far, Spitzer’s strategy is working, as he is leading the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Spitzer’s comeback may seem odd, but it’s just one of many. Bill Clinton’s political popularity climbed after his own sex scandal, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford won a special election for a US House of Representatives seat following an embarrassing cheating scandal, and Anthony Weiner – until recent revelations – even made it to the top of polls for New York City’s mayoral race. Surviving a scandal and looking for a comeback may even be a slight advantage, some say. According to The Daily Beast‘s John Avlon:

“The sad fact is that in our celebrity-driven society, sex scandals guarantee that a politician will rise above the humdrum of campaigns full of earnest legislators. The press is eager to cover the soap opera, and the public seems eager to engage in the real-life telenovela. Now the clichéd old rule of Hollywood—there’s no such thing as bad press—seems to apply to public service. What could possibly go wrong?”

To see Spitzer’s new ad yourself, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why are so many American’s willing to give politicians involved in scandals another chance?

2.  Is Spitzer’s “honesty strategy” effective? Why, or why not?

3.  Is a history involved in scandal really an advantage? Why, or why not?

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