Eliot Spitzer is back on the political scene—just like Mark Sanford and Anthony Weiner—and apparently tearing up over his past transgressions this morning on Morning Joe. Which makes Politico wonder: What makes these guys tick? The simple answer, from Washington insiders, is egomania. "The essential thing that these politicians all have is an absence of shame," says journalist Sally Quinn. "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." A political psychologist agrees, saying the new runs for office are attempts to redeem bruised egos: "It’s not that the public needs ... them back in office. It’s much more that they need to be back in office." How some are reacting to Spitzer's run for comptroller:
- Whether or not Spitzer stands a chance, Wall Street won't want to see him back again, Politico notes. "He’s had these legendary duels and battles with a number of people in the sector,” says an industry official. “Should he be elected, you’ll just have another official who’s antagonistic towards the sector." Indeed, as a financial manager for New York City, he'd have a powerful weapon against corporate heavyweights.
- Spitzer's own argument is that he's a gutsy progressive; he notes his backing for gay marriage in 1998. "I’ve been ahead of the curve. I’m not a traditional politician. I am not one who takes the measure of a political issue and calibrates to the public opinion," he tells Politico. "I’m tough enough to stand up and do what needs to be done."
- Adds a former Bush administration official: "When people say his name, it’s usually preceded by a four-letter word."