Friday, May 24, 2013
Weiner Haters Are Dicks
This is another one of those times when I expect people to strongly disagree with me.
It happened with gun control. It happened with Michael Vick. It happened with Barack Obama and the debt ceiling and motorcycle helmet laws. And now it’s going to happen with Anthony Weiner.
The former Democratic congressman from New York’s 9th District who resigned in the summer of 2011 due to a sexting scandal announced two days ago that he’s throwing his hat back in the political ring, this time as a candidate for Mayor of the Big Apple.
I hope the guy wins.
Visitors to Weiner’s website can find an extensive policy document containing not ten or 20 but 64 proposals to keep New York “the Capital of the Middle Class.” Ideas include training and paying teachers well, reducing hunger by eliminating barriers to food stamps, promoting biking to work, helping small businesses that are struggling with an “overbearing bureaucracy,” shifting responsibility for rent control from the state to the city, offering a tax credit to family members who care for aging and frail parents and grandparents, allowing gay men to donate blood, tracking sex offenders using GPS technology, helping to clean up contaminated brownfield sites, providing incentives for hybrid taxis and lowering the tax burden for “outer borough” job creation, among others.
Weiner’s clearly intelligent.
He served on the New York City Council for over six years before being elected to replace his mentor, Chuck Schumer (D-Brooklyn), in Congress in 1998. (Schumer had decided to run for U.S. Senate.) While a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he supported a woman’s right to choose, Medicare expansion, a public option as part of health care reform, the auto bailout and reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment.
Weiner also voted to enforce anti-gay hate crime laws and limits on carbon dioxide pollution; maintain a moratorium on offshore drilling, raise corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards and provide incentives for alternative fuels. He voted to allow travel between the U.S. and Cuba, opposed allowing commercial airline pilots to carry guns and believes in the separation of church and state. And he opposed making the Patriot Act and Bush tax cuts permanent and eliminating the estate tax (aka “Death Tax”).
But what about those terrible tweets? An indiscretion that’s more embarrassing than criminal – and that’s largely between Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin – doesn’t trump an impressive public service career in my book.
Gee, I wonder if the real reason conservatives wanted Weiner driven out in 2011 was not because of moral failings or inappropriate tweets but because he’s a hard-core liberal who’s outspoken, eloquent, smart and not afraid to fight? I’m reminded of married U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana), who in July of 2007 admitted that he visited prostitutes but was given a free pass by the GOP because if he resigned or was forced out, the governor of Louisiana – a Democrat at the time – would likely have appointed a Democrat to replace him until a special election could be held.
The hypocrisy, it burns.
Sure, Weiner’s loud, intense and high-strung. His record’s not perfect – he supported the Iraq war in 2002, is pro-Israel to a fault (referring to Palestinians as “terrorists” in 2006), and voted in favor of building a fence along the Mexican border – and he had one of the highest staff turnover rates while in office. And I’m no expert on NYC politics; another candidate might emerge who’s better for the city. But Weiner doesn’t deserve to be dissed and dismissed just because the guy sent a few tweets that he shouldn’t have sent.
It’s good that the “Anthony Weiner” Facebook group has 56,698 likes – the “David Vitter” group only has 48,071 – and that his mayoral campaign announcement was met with “It’s time to forgive and move on” editorials as well as “He should be pilloried until the cows come home” pieces. Hopefully the GOP sleaze machine, of which Faux News is an important part, doesn’t succeed at closing the door on his second chance.
Click here to read “Anthony Weiner’s 10 Best Explosive Smackdowns and Snarky Jabs,” complete with video. And click here to view his campaign video.
Sources: Facebook, OntheIssues.org, Glittersnipe.com, AnthonyWeiner.com.