What Spitzer, Sanford, Ensign and Edwards Could Learn From John Profumo

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In politics, a new year inevitably brings tidings of hope and dreams of regeneration to those who have embarrassingly stumbled along the corridors of power. If only the change in calendar also carried with it a dollop of self-awareness. But for those brought down by sex scandals of their own creation, it is hard to relinquish the do-over fantasy that a few more months, another abject apology, or a clever new media strategy will somehow inspire amnesia — or, at least, forgiveness — among the voters.

How else to explain the preference for being obtuse over being irrelevant? Defrocked New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (insert your favorite Client No. 9 joke) is actively contemplating a bid for statewide office in 2010. Disgraced South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (insert your favorite hiking-the-Appalachian-Trail joke) issued a statement hailing himself as a “stalwart ally of the taxpayer” after the South Carolina legislature decided to censure rather than impeach him. And damaged Nevada Sen. John Ensign (insert any joke about having your family give $96,000 to the husband of the woman you were having an affair with) felt confident enough to take the lead on the Senate floor in challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform bill.


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