No doubt a psychologist could explain all this. There may even be a name for what motivates people like Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer. Me, I don't get it and I never will.
Why, after suffering the humiliation of being run out of public office for perverted sexual behavior, do these guys place themselves back in the public eye? Any normal person caught "sexting" (Weiner) or patronizing a prostitute (Spitzer) would crawl into his den and emerge only in the most forgiving of settings. Church, maybe, or support group. Perhaps the fraternity reunion if you're feeling really bold.
I thought it was astounding when Spitzer got himself a gig on CNN. Now he's running for comptroller of New York City, with a bio that includes "was governor of New York state, until he was forced to resign after revelations that he was patronizing a prostitute."
And Weiner. Oh. My. Word. Anthony Weiner has to leave Congress after extremely embarrassing reports - complete with photos! - emerge of him tweeting pictures of his, well, equipment to women whom he discovered online. He gives the usual weepy press conference, goes away for a while and then pops up as a candidate for mayor of New York City.
Of course, he stages a professional rehabilitation campaign, appearing in public with his wife and new baby, revealing that he's been in therapy and he's a new man. Except he's not, and he never was. New revelations of Weiner sending sex texts and pictures to a young woman have popped into public view. The man who would be mayor was carrying on like a teenager who badly needs parental supervision as recently as last summer, around the time he was emerging in public, supposedly rehabilitated.
Weiner wants us to remember that his most recently revealed indiscretions occurred while he and his wife were "working through issues" in their marriage. Take note: Sending photos of your private parts to a young woman in another state will not lead to a smoother marriage. And you have proven yourself a compulsive liar, among other compulsivities. The people of New York cannot believe a word you say.
As of now, Weiner is not abandoning his mayoral campaign. Like Spitzer, he's running in the Democratic primary.
What is it with these guys? Narcissism partly explains it, I suppose. They must think so highly of themselves that they're convinced the world needs them, despite their self-admitted failings.
But I'm also thinking most people have a shut-off value, which activates after a certain amount of risk or humiliation. Weiner sure doesn't have it, and neither does Spitzer.
That's only a layperson's theory. Like I said, I don't get these people, and I never will. I just know I'm tired of having them around. They should both crawl into their dens and stay put.
Barbara Shelly is a columnist for the Kansas City Star. Readers can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.