It’s all but official. The New York Times Magazine did a splashy piece on Anthony Weiner, which means he is running for mayor of New York.
Weiner was asked the hard questions about what he learned in the political time-out chair: “Where do you stand on gun control?” “Can New Yorkers be trusted to buy 16-ounce Cokes or only 15 ounces?” “Do you now know the subtle difference between the ‘reply’ and ‘reply all’ buttons?”
In the modus operandi of a man plotting his comeback, the article in the New York Times was fed to a compliant, liberal media, public relations partner. Weiner did try to play coy about what office he might run for, and ain’t that just like Anthony Weiner?
Weiner was a high-level Democrat Congressman whose self-inflicted, epic fall from grace was legendary. He and the enchanting and demure Debra Wasserman Schultz were the media faces of the Democrats on issues. When the humidity was too high in Miami for the TV cameras to get a wide shot of Wasserman Schultz’s hair, Weiner would be called upon to be the spew monkey of DNC talking points.
Anthony Weiner clearly loved cameras, especially cellphone cameras, entirely too much. In his spare time he enjoyed shoving his cell phone down his pants and taking pictures. Then, and here is where it gets weird, he would send them to random women online: an exotic dancer, an unwed mother and a blackjack dealer — or, as they call it in Queens, the “circle of life.”
At first Weiner said his Twitter account had been hacked and that he did not send the pictures, but he was going to look into it and would get back to us with his findings. He tried to elevate himself to the highest honor a Democrat can bestow upon himself: victimhood. Borrowing a line from his mentor, Bill Clinton, Weiner’s defense was “I did not have text-ual relations with that woman.”
In fairness to Weiner, this could all have been a misunderstanding. He was told during his briefing as a freshman House member that Congressmen could mail their packages to people for free.
In the New York Times article, Weiner implied that he was a victim of quickly evolving technology when he Tweeted pictures of his privates.
Weiner is polling well. He is even second in the race now to secede Mayor Bloomberg. He has $4.3 million in campaign money, and public matching funds could add $1.5 million to his creepy coffers. He will be formidable. Only in politics can a disgraced Congressman get to keep that kind of money.
Even more charming is the fact that three of his fundraising donors, such solid citizens all, have been charged with felonies ranging from bribing a state senator to running a Ponzi scheme. Only in liberal, Northern, big-city politics can such a candidate with so much baggage even think about a comeback. Maybe fellow New Yorker, Representative Charlie Rangel, can advise him.
When politicians like Weiner with no experience outside of government come up through the ranks on either side, we should be eternally suspicious. Once de-frocked, they find little demand in the private sector (especially demand for someone who got in trouble with his own private sector); they have no marketable skills. I guess Weiner could be a greeter at Wal-Mart.
If he runs for mayor, it will be a high stakes, “double or nothing” (which is also his approach to underpants) endeavor. Like most comebacks of disgraced politicians — and battle of the bands events — the real loser is the audience.
Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com.