Political comebacks welcome news for some, not so much for others

The American people may not be finished just yet with Sarah Palin, Eliot Spitzer or Anthony Weiner. All three individuals, having left politics in rather poor fashions, have been brought back into the fray in the past few weeks.

Photo courtesy of pie maison/Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy of pie maison/Wikimedia Commons.

Former 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin caught the attention of many by refusing to squash rumors that she was considering a run for the United States Senate in 2014, when current Alaskan Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat, is up for reelection.  Speaking on The Sean Hannity Show, Palin told Hannity, “I've considered it [a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014] because people have requested me considering it.”

Palin was recently rehired as a contributor for Fox News last month and spent little time blasting her potential 2014 opponent, remarking that Senator Begich has not fulfilled his promise to the Alaskan people.

Despite Palin’s recent statements, the chair of the Alaskan Republican Party, Peter Goldberg, has yet to speak with her. Potential challengers to face Begich include current Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell and Tea Party favorite Joe Miller. In a hypothetical matchup run by Public Policy Polling, Senator Begich bested Palin by 16 points.

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Likewise, New York City was greeted by the return of two politicians chased from politics by tales of sordid affairs. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, a declared mayoral candidate to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as former Governor Eliot Spitzer, made headlines in their announcement of bids to reclaim political office.

Running to be the next mayor of New York City, Anthony Weiner is asking voters to forgive his past scandal that drove him from office. Forced to resign after admittedly sending sexually explicit images of himself over Twitter in 2011, Weiner is running a highly visible campaign to run the country’s most famous city.

Photo courtesy of Center for American Progress Action Fund/Flickr.

Photo courtesy of Center for American Progress Action Fund/Flickr.

In his recent announcement video, Weiner admitted, “Look I know that I’ve made some big mistakes, and I know that I let a lot of people down. But I’ve also learned some tough lessons.” Hoping to earn a second chance, the candidate outlined his 64 “Keys to the City” that promised to renew New York City’s middle-class promise.

In a crowded field, Weiner’s past notoriety has given him instant name recognition. In a recent Marist poll, Weiner led New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn 25-20 points, although a large portion of the potential electorate remains undecided.

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer is also not letting a past sex scandal deter him from a present pursuit of higher office. Running for New York City comptroller, Spitzer is aiming significantly lower than his past titles.

As attorney general and then governor of New York, Spitzer made a name for himself as a watchdog of Wall Street’s excess, yet was brought down when allegations came to light of Spitzer having purchased the services of high-priced prostitutes. After a few years as a cable news host, Spitzer formally announced last week his intention to run, and began gathering signatures to appear on the ballot immediately.

When asked by Jay Leno why he would do something so reckless while occupying the office of the governor, Spitzer cited past moral failings. “There was a phrase that I used that was, 'Hubris is terminal. People who fall prey to hubris, end up falling themselves' ... And this is something that I think infected me.”

Spitzer also brushed off attacks from his opponent Scott Stringer in the race for comptroller, defending his record as governor and promising to let the voters decide the more worthy of the two.

However, several are questioning Palin’s, Spitzer’s, and Weiner’s true motivations for returning to public office. Political psychologist Stanley Renshon, of CUNY’s Graduate Center and Lehman College, said of Spitzer and Weiner, “It’s not that the public needs him or them back in office. It’s much more that they need to be back in office.”

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