Sanford wants to be another comeback kid

By Laurie Bennett

January 11, 2013 at 3:40pm

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, his political career shredded by revelations of an affair with an Argentine woman, has decided to run for Congress, according to the Weekly Standard.

It was less than four years ago that Sanford held a mortifying but riveting press conference admitting to the affair and explaining a six-day disappearance.

Is he really ready to run again? Has enough time passed for voters to take him seriously?

Many of the signs seem to say, “Why not?”

Mark Sanford
Mark Sanford

After all, the once disgraced Bill Clinton is enjoying his highest favorability ratings ever.

There’s also buzz about former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who recently ended a gig at Current TV after its acquisition by Al Jazeera. Spitzer’s career as a news analyst and talk show host, along with public resentment about Wall Street shenanigans he had tried to stop, helped blunt memories of his dealings with a prostitution ring.

New York magazine reports that Spitzer was coy when asked about a return to politics. “Others presume I have the ambitions,” he said. “Let me leave it at that for now.”

The Muckety map above shows many of America’s biggest political sex scandals.

We tried measuring each pol’s waiting period between humiliation and redemption, but found that the differing circumstances defied comparison.

We did spot a couple of themes, though.

Avoiding criminal prosecution would appear to be a prerequisite to a return. Maybe John Edwards will someday prove that avoiding conviction suffices.

Penance also seems shorter for those who admit their transgressions rather than lying about them. Barney Frank, who in 1989 asked the House ethics panel to investigate his relationship with a male prostitute, easily won his next election.

Anthony Weiner, on the other hand, at first denied tweeting lewd photos. He changed his story at a subsequent press conference, and then resigned his House seat under pressure from other Democrats.

We’d be surprised if his name appears on a ballot anytime soon. Maybe he could follow Clinton’s example and urge his wife to run.

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