Why Anthony Weiner sinks while Eliot Spitzer soars

Many voters are willing to tolerate bad behavior in their politicians in the belief that he or she alone can solve the country’s (or city’s) problems. Ironically, however, a significant portion of the problems we face, the very problems for which politicians are elected to solve, are related to the breakdown of the family and the destruction of reliable standards of right and wrong.

Which brings us back to Anthony Weiner.

The would-be mayor was ahead in the early stages of his Democratic primary, demonstrating that voters were willing to give him a second chance. But he quickly slid from first to fourth after revelations that he continued his lewd behavior after the birth of his child and after he assured the media that he had recommitted to his marriage.

Just as revealing, a new Siena College poll finds that 68 percent of New Yorkers consider the national attention placed on the city because of the Weiner and Spitzer campaigns “embarrassing” and that 80 percent of New York voters view Weiner unfavorably — an all-time low among politicians.

To answer my initial question, the public may be more willing than ever to forgive politicians embroiled in sex scandals. But clearly, there is a limit to the amount of shamelessness voters will tolerate, especially when they end up being treated no better than a jilted spouse.