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In L.A., a bad case of Anthony Weiner envy

May 22, 2013|By Paul Whitefield

Well, Los Angeles has a new mayor. It’s nice-guy Eric Garcetti, who defeated nice-woman Wendy Greuel. If you’re not from here, you’ve probably never heard of either of them. If you are from here, you probably didn’t even vote -- turnout in Tuesday’s election was put at 19% (which, shamefully, was a bit higher than expected).

So how come we can’t have a mayoral race like New York’s?

That’s right -- I’m suffering from a bad case of East Coast envy. We get Garcetti vs. Greuel; the Big Apple gets Anthony Weiner vs., well, a bunch of other no-names (at least to us on the Left Coast), but who cares, because he’s got enough national name recognition for the lot of them.

Even the staid Associated Press, writing about Weiner throwing his hat in the ring, couldn’t sugarcoat this bad boy: “Weiner is embarking on an audacious comeback quest, hoping to go from punch-line pol with a tweeted crotch shot to leader of America's biggest city.”

Though Weiner may be considered a long-shot, he’s got at least two things New Yorkers admire: chutzpah and, uh, chutzpah. Plus, as the AP story noted, he’s “got a $4.8-million campaign war chest, the possibility of more than $1 million more in public matching money [and] polls showing him ahead of all but one other Democrat.”

Not bad for a guy last seen resigning his seat in the U.S. House and going home to live, presumably miserably and forever, in his new wife’s newly built doghouse. The wife, Huma Abedin, told the New York Times Magazine that she has forgiven him; Abedin was a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, so presumably she is no stranger to the “male politico as hound dog type.”

Still, it’s unclear how accepting even New Yorkers will be of Weiner. After all, he’s so gun-shy that he couldn’t bring himself to announce his candidacy live; instead, he posted it on YouTube. Though, of course, that might just be because he’s a social media kind of guy. After all, he’s put out a platform of sorts on, you guessed it, Twitter. Some habits die hard, apparently.

Anyway, this is what he said, in part, on the video: “I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons. I'm running for mayor because I've been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life. And I hope I get a second chance.”

And isn’t that what America is all about: second chances? We gave Richard Nixon one (OK, didn’t turn out that great). Clinton got one too -- if you set aside that whole impeachment blip.

And Weiner might be just what New York needs, though if he plans to keep “fighting for the middle class,” he might want to consider a city that actually has a middle class.

One thing’s for sure, though. Unlike L.A.'s campaign, you can be sure people will at least pay attention.


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