The Rockaway Beat
I remember Congressman Anthony Weiner fondly.
I have often said that all politicians are whores – whores for power, whores for money, and whores for votes.
After covering Weiner for most of his tenure as Congressman, however, I had to admit that he said what he believed and did what he said he would do.
We often spoke either on the phone or at The Wave office in Rockaway. He was always plain speaking and direct. If he couldn’t do something, he said so and pointed out why he couldn’t do it.
If he disagreed with me, he always said so and told me why. He didn’t always change my mind and I seldom changed his, but he genuinely listened and responded.
Not many politicians do that.
If I talk about him as if he were dead, that’s because I believed that his political life was over, but now I am not so sure.
In New York City, we believe in rebirth and redemption.
If you don’t believe that, take a look at Eliot Spitzer. Take a look at Bill Clinton. Take a look at any number of politicians who actually committed crimes and had sex with those women and are now back in political favor.
When Weiner got caught in his sexting scandal, somebody famously said that Weiner was the first politician in history that got thrown out of office because of a sex scandal who actually never [had sex].
If you can find a law that Weiner broke, I would like to know about it, because I haven’t been able to find one.
Was he stupid? Of course.
Was he lewd? Of course.
Did he show some sort of moral problem? Of course.
Did he break any laws? Of course not.
Take a look at our two Congressmen at the time that Weiner was forced out by his puritanical brethren in the Democratic Party.
We have Weiner, who destroyed his career (although not his marriage) by texting semi-lewd photos of himself to a series of woman, including a student, and then lying to the press about it.
We have Greg Meeks, who has been found by his Congressional peers to have committed a crime in taking money from a Queens businessman without reporting it. While he said it was a “loan,” the Ethics Committee found that it was in fact a payoff.
Then, we have his involvement with his non-profit, “New Directions in Community Empowerment,” which seems to have empowered only the pockets of its founders, Meeks and State Senator Malcolm Smith.
Also, there are lots of questions about money donated to a Hurricane Katrina charity, NOAH-H, which collected money for refugees who had moved to New York City.
That money seems to have disappeared as well. All of those issues, I understand, are under investigation.
So, we have one stupid Congressman with a definite sexual problem and another who I believe and his peers believe is a crook.
Which one is out of office? You know the answer to that question.
I believe, however, that the party threw the wrong Congressman out of office.
In the recent primary, both Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer endorsed Meeks for reelection.
How could they back a crook? You tell me, but I consider that one of the real weaknesses of Democrats in this state.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a crook, as long as you can win and you support the party leaders on major issues.
Just don’t get caught in a sex scandal – even if there is no actual sex.
Now, a year later, Weiner and his wife, who works for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a woman who knows something about sex scandals and redemption, want to get back into the game.
Sources say that Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife, has orchestrated a comeback and basically told him to get off the couch and get back into the hunt.
I, for one, am happy about that.
I do not like any of the old-line Democratic candidates who are already running for the seat – particularly Christine Quinn, who has proven much too liberal for my tastes and whose slush fund, which was used to reward groups and legislators who supported her, was really a criminal act carried out by a legislator who defines, in my mind, the definition of political whore.
When Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s favorability numbers were up, she might as well have been his clone, giving him a third term and working with him to destroy the public school system and turn it over to business interests such as Eva Moskowitz, the charter school queen.
Now that people have found out what a charlatan the mayor really is, she is distancing herself from him in public, while still sucking up to him in private for the campaign funds he will give her for being his loyal serf.
Weiner truly believes in the middle class and has always fought for middleclass city dwellers, even while Bloomberg and Quinn were fighting for tourists and millionaires, disdaining residents who live in the other four boroughs.
With $4.5 million in campaign funds burning a hole in his campaign chest and a burning desire to get back into politics, Weiner seems to be putting up a trial balloon for a run for a citywide position – either mayor or public advocate – in the upcoming 2013 election.
I would be the first one in line to endorse him for either office, although I think that he has to run for Mayor.
After 12 years of an elitist and nannyist Bloomberg administration, we need somebody who actually believes that middle class is a positive place to be.