Why Sex Scandal-Plagued Politicians Keep Coming Back for More

The instinct that leads many people obsessively to pursue public approval and power through winning elections is closely linked to the instinct that leads many of these same people (and let’s face it, they are all men) to sexual excess and disaster.
July 9, 2013

Another week and there goes another fallen officeholder trying to claw his way back from tabloid purgatory—another chance for some people to marvel about the power of forgiveness and redemption, and other people to marvel about the power of egomania and pure chutzpah.

It is one more occasion, in other words, for the vast majority of people who would stay crouched in a hole for years if they ever endured humiliation and disgrace of the sort Eliot Spitzer brought down on himself to wonder: What makes these guys tick?

In the view of many political veterans, Spitzer’s attempted comeback from sexual scandal, like Anthony Weiner’s attempted comeback, like Mark Sanford’s successful comeback, is more than just an eccentric 2013 coincidence.

It is the latest (arguably quite redundant) evidence of a more fundamental truth about politics: the instinct that leads many people obsessively to pursue public approval and power through winning elections is closely linked to the instinct that leads many of these same people (and let’s face it, they are all men) to sexual excess and disaster.

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