F. Scott Fitzgerald’s axiom that there are no second acts in American lives does not apply to Eliot L. Spitzer. He has enjoyed several acts (and entr'actes) already. Assistant District Attorney. New York Attorney General. The Sheriff of Wall Street. The Steamroller (a self-generated moniker). Mr. Clean. Democratic Party Super Delegate. Governor. Client 9. And now, Washington Post and Slate magazine columnist.
The events immediately preceding Governor Spitzer’s resignation require no recapitulation. At the time, his many enemies and detractors chuckled, confident they had seen the last of the combative crusader, and the Spitzer brand went into hibernation just as quickly as some of the financial firms
he once targeted.
Almost half of New Yorkers in an AP poll believed he should serve jail time
But a few months later, and within a fortnight of Manhattan US Attorney Michael J. Garcia’s declaration that the “public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges”, Mr. Spitzer has re-emerged as a pundit in the pages of The Washington Post
Further advancing his rehabilitation, Slate.com – arguably our nation’s online magazine of record – last week bestowed Mr. Spitzer with a regular forum under the title “The Best Policy.”
“I go forward with the belief, as others have said, that as human beings our greatest glory consists not in never falling but in rising every time we fall,” Spitzer announced in his resignation speech
Sure enough, the Spitzer brand has now transcended peccadilloes, pathos, bathos and inexplicable self-destruction to become about . . . the glory and triumph of the indomitable American spirit. Now that’s re-positioning! And it seems to be working among at least some of the Slate readers who aren't authoring vituperative screeds:
“Love the article. Glad to have the benefit of your keen insights again. A lot of us in New York State miss you very much, and I speak for so many who regard you as the BEST Attorney General we ever had.”
“What was genuinely "disgraceful" was the invasion of Mr. Spitzer's privacy, the cruel infliction of pain on his family, in order to block his intervention on Wall St.”
“Glad to have you back now what about becoming the next Senator from NY. we need some one like you in the Senate.”
For years Eliot Spitzer was the most feared and loathed man on Wall Street. For a few weeks he was the butt of jokes. And eight months later the éminence grise is back on the national stage.
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