When he quit — and who can forget how Mr. Spitzer’s stricken wife stood beside him as he announced that it was all over? — he betrayed not just the voters, but the staff members, agency leaders and employees who had followed him to Albany, or moved over from the attorney general’s office, with the goal of healing the Capitol’s sick culture. They were his team, bursting with all the idealism and commitment that he professed to have, promising to make the Spitzer administration a model of integrity and effectiveness.

That never happened. Desperately needed reforms were thwarted, opportunities lost — and it was more than a sexual scandal that made Mr. Spitzer’s truncated governorship an exceptional debacle in a capital city that is debacle central. It was that he saw himself as a “steamroller” instead of a leader, that he stoked alienation and resentment in his allies as well as his adversaries, the opposite of what a competent politician should do.

New Yorkers, like all citizens, deserve serious and thoughtful political campaigns, but between Anthony Weiner, the former sexting congressman, and Client 9 (the name given to Mr. Spitzer in the federal investigation of the escort service he used) and the self-described madam who ran that escort service and now claims she’s going to run against her former customer, the stage is set for a summer of farce.