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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weiner Has a Great Future Behind Him

Anthony Weiner admitted that he did it. At Salon, Steve Kornacki suggests that his political future is bleak:

Consider that Weiner has really only been using his congressional seat for two reasons: 1) to position himself to run for mayor of New York City; and 2) to play the role of wisecracking, Republican-bashing cable news all-star. (Reason No. 2 is related to Reason No. 1 -- Weiner's decision to exploit cable news was part of his effort to expand his outer-borough base in New York to include liberals in Manhattan and Brownstone Brooklyn.) And now, he can't do either of those things.

The 2013 mayor's race is almost certainly out now. Before this scandal, Weiner was running at or near the top of the Democratic pack, and his prospects of succeeding Michael Bloomberg seemed to be improving by the week. By he was hardly an overwhelming front-runner, and New York Democrats have plenty of other options. This situation is not analogous to Vitter's in Louisiana last year, when the senator was running for reelection. The New York media -- and the two daily tabloids in particular -- will not let this scandal, and these pictures, go if Weiner were to run for mayor. It's hard to imagine he'd bring this abuse on himself -- especially since his chances of actually winning would not be good.

Nor can he go back, for the foreseeable future, to his outspoken cable news antics. On MSNBC and other outlets, Weiner played a somewhat holier-than-thou liberal, a representative of the "fighting wing" of his party who spoke with what many activists felt was unusual clarity. He won't be able to pull this off anymore.

In other words, if he were to stay in Congress, Weiner would have to keep quiet and not run for mayor. Which would make him an incredibly bored man, since he's never actually put much effort into his congressional work. This is why so many of his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill and in New York have long viewed him with disdain: He's an ultra-ambitious showman with a knack for generating publicity but little interest in the nuts-and-bolts work that comes with serving in Congress.