Spitzer’s Fight for Reputation Redemption

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Scandal within politics is far from scarce, but nothing gains more attention than when it involves inappropriate sexual relations. This rang especially true for former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer who resigned in disgrace in 2008 following revelations that he had spent thousands of tax payer dollars on prostitutes. Yet now he is back, throwing himself into the election for New York City comptroller.

The real question is not whether he is qualified for the position, however it is whether the public be able to forgive him and move on. Although political sex scandals can be entertaining and create plenty of amusing headlines, Spitzer still ruined his credibility among his voters. Spitzer came off as a politician who believed he was above the rules and did not hold himself to the same standards he held the rest of New York. As Attorney General, he even seized and apprehended other prostitution rings because they are illegal!

Now that the dust on the scandal has settled and Spitzer has decided to bring himself back into the political spotlight, he is going to have to closely manage his reputation. Whether he is a changed man or not, he needs to appear as someone who is ready to beg for the public’s forgiveness. People need to believe that Spitzer has left his soliciting days behind him and now is focused on serving the people of New York (aka his voters).

The ideal game plan for redeeming his reputation includes taking responsibility for his past mistakes.  Then, he should apologize to the voters and people of New York for his indiscretions. His apologies need to seem sincere. Following the initial media “tour,” his focus should be on discussing how he is ready to change the city by being elected comptroller and keeping out of trouble.

So far, he has kept himself on track. He has made statements such as “I made significant errors. I stood up, accepted responsibility, resigned”. He claims he will be walking the streets of New York asking for forgiveness and collecting signatures for his campaign. But we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves; he just announced he was running yesterday. People who are deceived do not take it lightly, and Spitzer’s really going to have to work at a sparkling reputation if he wants to win the election. Good luck to him because his voters will not be fooled twice.

What would you say?

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