When he was a congressman, Anthony Weiner didn't make a lot of friends in Washington. Widely known as abrasive, as overly ambitious even in a town full of ambitious people, and as a notoriously difficult boss, Weiner didn't find too many people rushing to the media to defend him when he was discovered tweeting photos of his junk to women who were not his wife, and he quickly resigned his seat in Congress.
Yet a mere two years later, Weiner is not only running for mayor of New York—his lifelong dream—at least one poll shows him running neck-and-neck with the presumed favorite, city council chair Christine Quinn. Could it be that the contrition Weiner has shown for his social media shenanigans is warming the hearts of famously tough New York voters? As one quoted this weekend in The New York Times said, "He has a humble spirit to him. We have to forgive and forget."
That may be the first time anybody ever referred to Anthony Weiner as "humble," but in the forgiving (if not forgetting) department, he did manage to convince his wife to stick around, unlike former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who left his family for an Argentinian temptress, then made a triumphant return to Congress thanks to the forgiving nature of Palmetto State voters. It's been said that evangelical Christians love a politician with a story of sin and redemption, but unfortunately for Weiner, they make up a rather small proportion of the New York electorate.
Meanwhile, Weiner won't be the only candidate on the ballot whose de facto first name is "Disgraced Former." Elliot Spitzer, his days as a patron of prostitutes behind him (as far as we know), just announced that he's running for New York city comptroller. If nothing else, it'll mean plenty of work for headline writers at the New York Post and Daily News. Today, the Post went with "Here We Ho Again" over a photo of Spitzer. Not exactly a headline for the ages, but give them some time.
So They Say
"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership. Today I'm announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas. I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs, opportunity, and innovation. I will actively lead this great state. And I'll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future."
Daily Meme: Spitzer Strikes Back
- So, as noted above, Eliot Spitzer is running for New York City comptroller. The Internet has itself all in a tizzy.
- The New York Post is blissfully happy about this turn of events.
- Conservatives all around are celebrating. One blogger puts it, "Confirmed: NYC election to be even bigger joke than first thought."
- A few conservative bloggers have nice things to say about the candidate. Reihan Salam writes, "Eliot Spitzer is a Terrible but Qualified Human Being."
- Josh Barro has a slightly more glowing review: "He'll probably win. And fortunately for those of us who live in New York City, he'll probably be good at it."
- What about other reporters? Ben Smith sums up his views thusly: "Eliot Spitzer Is Nothing Like Anthony Weiner. He’s a fucking steamroller."
- Kristen Davis, who went to prison after admitting she provided escorts for Spitzer, isalso running for comptroller. "This is going to be the funnest campaign ever," she says. "I’ve been waiting for my day to face him for five years. I sat ... in Rikers Island, I came out penniless and nothing happened to him. The hypocrisy there is huge.”
- Today, Spitzer launched his campaign surrounded by reporters, New Yorkers, and hecklers. “When we go to the ballpark, we heckle the pitcher who throws one bad pitch. I sympathize with the hecklers. We have a little bit of the heckler in each one of us. At a certain point it passes the line of decorum, but you know, this is New York, this is politics. I’m game for it. I’ve got skin as thick as a rhinoceros.”
- One voter's response? “If it gives him pleasure, let him do it. People have become very tolerant of all sorts of shenanigans.”
- And as Guardian's Kayla Epstein puts it, "Don't count #Spitzer out. He's already accomplished the impossible: Getting people interested in the comptroller race."
What We're Writing
- Paul Waldman writes about how Obamacare will be blamed for every problem any American has with health care.
- Walter Shapiro outlines the mistakes made by the Obama administration on gun control post-Newtown.
What We're Reading
- The Customs and Border Protection Agency loaned out its ten drones to other agencies 250 times in 2012.
- Mark Leibovich gives a sneak peek of his Washington insider's novel, This Town, with a profile of the consummate flack, Kurt Bardella.
- Vanity Fair provides a tick-tock of the night Ambassador Christopher Stevens died.
- Furloughs at the Department of Defense caused by the sequester, which will affect more than 650,000 employees, start today.
- What happened to the White House's "green jobs" pitch?
- Did Bobby Jindal's beef with David Vitter bring down the Louisiana governor?
- Buzzfeed's John Stanton profiles Reggie Walton, chief justice of of America's super powerful secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
- Was the Federal Elections Commission designed not to work?
Poll of the Day
When searching for news, the vast majority of Americans still turn on the TV as opposed to the computer, according to a new Gallup poll. Television was the first place all age groups turned to for information, and 55 percent did overall. The Internet was the first stop for 21 percent of Americans, while newspapers were the initial media for only nine percent.