As predicted in my blog last week, Anthony Weiner jumped in the race for New York City Mayor. Also, as predicted, Weinergate isn’t a deal breaker for many New Yorkers. The one thing I’ve learned in New York is that boring, plain, and sad isn’t acceptable.
Prior to Weiner entering the race, the mayoral race was about as exciting as a Driver’s Ed video. As I said last week, Weiner joining the bland band of current candidates will spice things up. So far, that’s proving to be true. Today, Weiner campaigned in Harlem to a great crowd with many people saying that the pics of his pecs don’t matter. Granted, the lying about it is considered a huge no-no, but he did apologize and he seems to be handling things extraordinarily well.
He knows that many voters are creeped out by his past tweets and generally lewd behavior. The new and improved Weiner is humble, contrite, and actually statesmanlike. That’s a huge change from the arrogant in your face thug he was in Congress.
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s often how you handle them that makes the difference. Weiner is attempting to make lemonade out of lemons in about a strong a fashion as possible.
Across the country, the job of mayor is more of an operations job than one requiring a strong social issues platform. In New York City, this is especially true. Citizens of New York City want the garbage collected, the trains to run on time, crime under control, and snow cleared from streets as fast as humanly possible.
Weiner has a huge advantage right now. He has strong name identification (granted, some of it of the negative borne of scandal variety), and he has a pile of cash. If he can get New Yorkers believing that he has the right plan for the city, he wins.
Predicting these races in a crowded field is never easy. Anything can happen. However, if Weiner continues down a path of smart campaigning, he should be able to easily overtake the current so-called frontrunner Christine Quinn who has never been able to break free from the pack. Quinn is especially hampered by her position of promising to crack down on the New York City Police Department. Her criticism of the NYPD is unfair. They do a great job under Commissioner Ray Kelly, so I’d vote no on anyone who promises to punish them.
I don’t know Weiner’s position on the Police Department, but I’d say it would be a very bad move on his part to join the Quinn paddy wagon.
With all the attention on Weiner, now is the critical time for him to either get it right or get out of politics. If he commits to strong law and order, plus promises to get the snow removed and keep the trains running on time, I’m sure we’ll be calling Weiner “Mr. Mayor” very soon.