Elliott Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Anthony Weiner: disgraced, former elected officials who are once again running for your vote. All cheaters. All liars. All seeking your forgiveness, your vote and providing a plethora of middle school sexual puns for the front page of the New York tabloids. These bona fide betrayers of the public trust trudge on in quest of redemption and a return to the soapbox and spotlight.
Spitzer, Sanford, Weiner. They come in threes... like death. Are they all about serving the people or do Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have lobbyists forcing these punchlines back into the public eye? They're certainly not Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito -- more like Caligula -- but they all have chosen to trample on general principles. Can these shamed politicos alter their philandering ways or is it as Macklemore put it, "I can't change even if I tried... even if I wanted to."
Whether they've transgressed with prostitutes, mistresses or tweets, this testosterone-driven trio has realized that we are a forgiving lot and are banking on your willingness to let bygones be bygones, starting with the obligatory apology speech. "I've let down a lot of people ... In every instance, I would ask for their forgiveness." (Sanford) "I'm hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it. (Spitzer) "Look, I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down. But I've also learned some tough lessons." (Weiner)
Makes one wonder why so many of history's lowlifes didn't attempt to jump on the apologize-and-give-me-a-second chance bandwagon.
Jeffrey Dahmer: "I just feel terrible about the seventeen lives I took, some of which I prepared some rather tasty meals from. I would hope that my admission serves as evidence of unmitigated contrition and that you, as network executives at the Food Channel, will seriously consider my pitch, "Having Friends For Dinner."
Judas Iscariot: "I don't mean this as an excuse, but I figured, Son of God, he'd pretty much be able to get out of anything the Romans threw at him. Still, I can see that I made a huge faux pas and for that I am so sorry. Meanwhile, if that bodyguard position is still open for the Pope, I am available.
Tyler Perry: "Yes, I admit it. I've made boatloads of money producing the same film and television program over and over, just changing the title to trick audiences into thinking they were watching something original. From now on, no more repackaging old concepts. If you give me a second chance you'll see that I'm a man -- OR MAYBE A WOMAN -- of my word, in my 'Madea's Big Momma Doubtfire.'"
Lenny Dykstra: "First of all, who the hell would ever think that I wasn't a lying piece of garbage the first time I opened my mouth is beyond me. But if this is what I got to do, here it is... I admit it. I cheated employees out of paychecks, committed bankruptcy fraud, money laundered and practically screwed just about anyone who wandered within ten feet of me. I am very, very sorry and would like to show you just how much by offering you the opportunity of a lifetime to invest in my new magazine, "Can't Believe Anyone Buys My Bull%.' If you're interested, you can write for it too."
Cigarette Companies: "Okay. It may cause a little cancer and we could have been a bit more transparent in our testimony. Now that we understand that our statements may be seen as what some may call, lies, we apologize and would ask you to approve our request to begin manufacturing food additives."
O.J. Simpson: "Being that I cannot be tried twice for the same crime and I have been judged not guilty... Sure. I murdered Nicole and Ron. I truly regret the crime I committed that I was proven innocent of. Can I have my Heisman Trophy back?"
Philadelphia Sports Fans: Hurling snowballs at Santa, booing Michael Irvin while he was crumpled up on the field with a career-ending injury and then there was the throwing up on the eleven year old girl. To tell you the truth, the Santa and Michael Irvin things, they deserved it, but, that girl was way too young to throw up on. For that I am sorry. So, whataya think... will you go out with me now?"
Nicodemo "Nicky" Scarfo Jr.: "Yeah, right."
Award-winning TV writer, Steve Young, is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" www.greatfailure.com
A version of this post first appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer