Looks like the New York City mayoral race is about to get much more interesting. Anthony Weiner, the former New York City congressman who showed his stuff on the Internet and then resigned after lying about it, is reportedly about to throw his hat into the ring in a bid to succeed Michael Bloomberg.
I’ve never understood why Weiner handled the whole incident so poorly. When it happened, he should have just said—yeah that’s me—then endured a couple of weeks of jokes and chiding. It’s not like he intended to send this out to the entire world. Like many of these situations, it was the cover-up, not the “crime,” that got him into trouble.
Let me be clear. I definitely don’t condone what he did. Sending those unsolicited photos to women not his wife was awful. If I’d been married to him, he wouldn’t have much left to photograph after I was finished with him. In the world of American politics, however, what he did was pretty tame compared to others who’ve engaged in similarly inappropriate behavior.
What Mark Sanford did is far worse. Running off to Argentina to be with his mistress on the public dime while leaving his wife, four children, staff, and public to think he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” was probably about as low as it could get absent committing an outright felony. You’d think he’d be done. Not a chance. Instead, the old boy divorces his wife and runs for Congress with the mistress by his side and wins! Granted, it was in a very red district, but given the GOP’s professed support for family values, you’d think if anyone would lose in such circumstances, it would be him.
Weiner is running in NYC, which is a place known to be much more forgiving of such antics. In fact, New Yorkers seem to actually embrace interesting characters rather than shy away from them.
An advantage he currently has in the race is the fact that no one is really jumping for joy over the current crop of candidates. Christine Quinn, long thought to be the frontrunner, is going so anti-police, I think it will ultimately hurt her. Joe Lhota is a great pick and has Rudy Giuliani’s support, but he’s a Republican, likely problematic in very blue NYC.
With all the scandals going on right now, taking a picture of your junk and inadvertently sending it out for all to see doesn’t seem like a huge disqualifier, especially since the job of mayor is more about making sure the streets are safe and the garbage is picked up on time than social policy.
My dream pick is New York Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly. He is highly respected and strong. He’d be a law and order mayor, and I have no doubt he’d win.
If nothing else, having Weiner in the race will spice up an otherwise dull race. And who knows? Despite his many political problems, he may just be able to pull off a win in a “photo finish.”