Last Call for Anthony Weiner

Friday, June 17, 2011

Anthony Weiner at his press conference announcing his resignation. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, It's A Free Country political reporter Anna Sale weighs in on the resignation of Anthony Weiner and what comes next, from special elections to redistricting battles.

What's your final Weiner thought? How do you feel about his legacy, his downfall, what comes next for his district? Let us know!

Like New York Congressional District 26, where Rep. Chris Lee sent shirtless photos of himself to a woman on Craigslist and promptly lost his job, New York’s Ninth District is facing a changing of leadership following a scandal.

Coincidentally, New York state is also currently facing its once-a-decade redistricting process and losing two congressional seats — likely one from upstate, and one from downstate. Generally the districts targeted for elimination tend to be those that are weak or were filled by a special election. The Ninth District might be the one to disappear, making the question of who might fill that seat even more interesting. Who would want a seat that may be gone in less than a year?

The governor will call the special election to determine who becomes the ninth district Representative, and when he does so is left to his discretion. The law requires seventy to eighty days notice between the time he calls for it and the election itself, so it is likely that the voting will be sometime in September.

Unlike regular elections, special elections have no primaries. Instead, nominations are done by the party chairs of the district. In Queens the Democratic Party Leader is Congressman Joe Crowley, in Brooklyn it is Assemblyman Vito Lopez, both big powerbrokers in their respective boroughs. They will likely choose different people and may be looking to find a candidate strong enough to make elimination through redistricting less of a sure thing.

According to the political scuttlebutt, the three favorites in the Democratic Party are former Councilmember Melinda Katz, Councilman Mark Weprin and Assemblyman Roy Lancman. Other possibilities include State Senator Jose Peralta, former Councilmember Eric Gioia, former Councilmember Noach Dear and former Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, cousin to Joe Crowley.

On the Republican side contenders may include Councilmember Eric Ulrich and retired television executive Bob Turner, who gave Weiner a run for his money in the last election, winning 40 percent of the vote.

What people are saying about the resignation of Anthony Weiner:

A caller from Midwood questioned the necessity of a special election.

Is it absolutely necessary that the Governor order a special election? Because it seems to me extremely costly when we may be out of the running next year and they redistrict in this area… Why spend all that money now, why cant we just have a regular election in November?

It is not, in fact, necessary, but the governor will likely desire it anyway, in order to create a more controlled environment politically. The governor may, however, time the election to coincide with city elections already scheduled for September 13, in order to contain some of those costs.

A caller from Morningside Heights had a practical question.

If somebody runs in a special election and is victorious and serves in Congress just to fill out the term and then leaves, are they eligible for a congressional pension?

They do not. Members must serve a certain number of years to be eligible for a pension. While that number varies depending on the age of the member of Congress, the minimum amount is five years. That person does, however, get to be called a congressperson for the rest of their lives and get a lifetime membership to the gym.

A caller from Brooklyn pointed out the historical precedent of people learning lessons from scandal exposure and public humiliation and becoming famous leaders.

There's a story about a young British officer who was trying to impress his hire-ups...he ended up ordering his men to fire on and kill two unarmed people, and then tried to cover it up.. he was found out, and the local newspaper ran the story and made it quite public and caused him some amount of humiliation. He learned from that, and was George Washington, our first president.

Sale agreed it is possible that the world has not seen the last of Anthony Wiener. Even former Mayor Ed Koch said, by his own internal calculation, Weiner may come back politically in fifteen years. It may not be long before the ex-congressman from District Nine has his very own cable show. If historical precedent holds true, Weiner is gone, but not for long.


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Comments [23]

chuzzlewit and garbuz's comments are reductionist and disingenuous. chuzzlewit ascribes NYC's problems to democrats, when our current mayor is an extremely pro-business republican. not to mention that this country is still (barely) recovering from 8 years under the worst president ever (a republican), who is responsible for the economic crisis. I'm also wondering if you've compared the NYC situation to states/cities governed by republicans -- are they doing better? I don't think so, friend.

garbuz's comment is similarly dishonest. left-wing politicians are amoral? what about david vitter (who actually broke the law), mark sanford, john ensign, etc.? i don't see how anyone can paint political scandals sex scandals as a "left-wing" problem with a straight face. it spans all political affiliations. and i would argue that a much more reliable indicator of morality is where people stand on issues: who is fighting the immoral death penalty? who supports devoting more resources to children and fewer to corporate CEOs? who supports sharing more of what they have with others less fortunate? who supports preserving our environment for future generations? not the right, that's for sure.

Jun. 17 2011 07:56 PM
Can REP. WEINER run for his OWN seat ? from Weiner as an Independent In the special election.

Can Rep. Weiner run for his own seat in the special election ? (Most likely as an independent since the Democratic party bosses abandoned him).

If so, he should.

This will let the VOTERS - not the media and party cadres - determine whether they still have confidence in him or not.

Rep. Weiner has nothing to lose.
He has already been unjustly destroyed.

A victory for Rep. Weiner in the special election would redeem him and do much to improve the dirty and disgusting politics currently gridlocking our country.

Jun. 17 2011 01:13 PM
Where was Rep. Weiner's wife ? from New York City

One striking thing about the ugly and repeated public humiliation of Rep. Weiner is that he had to face it alone.

He had no staff or friends standing beside
him, and even more importantly - his wife left him face the wolves who destroyed him - by himself.

More important than sexual loyalty is loyalty
in the face of a crisis. A husband or wife should stand with his/her spouse during times of public crisis and threat. Even if in private the husband and/or wife hate each other, or both have outside affairs, or intend to divorce one another in a year, they should have the decency and loyalty
to stand with each other to face outside attack.

Where was Rep. Weiner's wife through all this ? Surely, she could have taken leave
of her overseas trip for a few days for personal reasons to defend her family -
but she chose not to do so ?

Was their marriage already strained ? -
Perhaps caused by Rep. Weiner's previous unilateral flirting, or perhaps by mutual breakdown in their relationship?
Perhaps they had an "open marriage" and
both agreed to flirt or have other relationships outside of marriage.
We don't know, and noone has asked.

Why was Rep. Weiner totally alone.

They say "a friend in need is a friend in need". One never really knows who one's true friends until one is weak and outcast.
In those times, it is a truly sad statement
when people find themselves alone and abandoned by those closest to them, who has a duty to stand with them.

THIS is a real character issue - far more important than a white lie told to prevent
humiliation for himself, his family and his party, and told to avoid the needless destruction of everything he had worked for in his life.

Noone has asked the loyalty question.

Jun. 17 2011 01:06 PM
Why are women immune to public scandals ? from Cultural bias or female gender superiority ?

Why are women immune to public scandals ?

Some might argue that it demonstrates female gender superiority - for example that they "become politicians to make a difference, whereas men become politicians to be someone". Others argue
that powerful men abuse lose touch with reality and lose self control.

But women also cheat on their spouses.
Women also flirt and filander - often every bit as crudely as men. (But often with a
sense of rightiousness that what would be blatently sexist behavior in a man is a virtuous statement for female empowerment). Women often even
force men to have children against their will just because they agreed to recreational sex. This is something a man would appropriately go to jail for.
Why does a man suffer severe social and economic consequences when a woman chooses to victimize him in this way ?
Why does society support and defend her -
the victimizer ?

Why are women immune to public scandals - particularly regarding the expression of their sexuality ?
Is this a strange cultural mix of old anti-feminist values protecting women and
new female empowerment ? Is there
an "old girls" network of highly empowered
women who protect their own?

What are the statistics on female as well
as male infidelity, online flirting and other behaviors that would destroy a man's
life if publicly exposed ?

Are prosecutions and consequences of "crimes of sexual expression" equal for men and women in our society in the
rare instances where women get caught
and exposed for these violations of public social taboo ?

Jun. 17 2011 12:50 PM
jgarbuz from Queens


I am "orthodox" in name only. I doubt if I keep even 5 of the 613 commands. But you are obviously a follower of "Rabbi" Karl Marx, along with Trotsky and all the other good Jewish boy-sheviks who gave us freedom, equality, the NKVD and the GULAGS!

And I have at least as much right to cast judgement as you do.

Jun. 17 2011 10:50 AM
bernie from bklyn

some find your religious/sexual behavior offensive. orthodox judaism could and should be considered a misogynist, sexually deviant cult. you have no right to judge.

Jun. 17 2011 10:44 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Thank GOD that this penis-waving low life is OUT of office. He typifies the utter Bonobo-like lack of decency, civility and/or morality. Even monkeys in zoos don't wave their penises around! But then, compared to amoral left-wing lowlifes, monkeys are an evolutionary step-up. Or rather, the utterly amoral Left is a huge step DOWN for mankind!

Jun. 17 2011 10:37 AM
bernie from bklyn

@truth & beauty-
YOU are the problem. what you just wrote is a perfect characterization of the moronic, puritanical, self-aggrandizing rhetoric that makes the population of this country seem ridiculous to the rest of the world.
you have no right to judge this man. he's into sending pictures of himself to adult, willing recipients. that's his thing. who cares? do you have a "thing"? we all do. it's part of being human. if you don't have a "thing" then you need to get one to "distract" you from worrying about other people's private matters.
he hurt no one, broke no laws. leave him alone.

Jun. 17 2011 10:32 AM

weiner is a coward. His constituents wanted him to stay, and he caved to the DC powers.
why couldn't he stand up for his hobbies and tell the moral police to mind their buisness.
i country has real problems.
he should have to pay for the special election

Jun. 17 2011 10:25 AM
Robert from NYC

I think he will be able to run for Mayor in 2013. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Ed Koch's brain is dissolving, I give him 2 years. Nancy Pelosi sucks!!!

Jun. 17 2011 10:25 AM

Who hasn't lied about their sex life??!?!

Especially in a public forum!

Jun. 17 2011 10:23 AM
Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

Its too bad that in America No Politician feels they can be honest and tell the truth from the start. We all have our faults and foibles but should be judged by our good deeds and not brought down by sillyness....

Jun. 17 2011 10:20 AM

@ Ms Sale: The election would not be for “giggles”, even if it is going to be redistricted out, because if the Dems don’t win it, they’d have to give up yet another seat.

Jun. 17 2011 10:19 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

The legacy of former Congressman Weiner should be the following:

To Any and All Wannabe Politicians:


Various sex-related scandals have taken place throughout history, but in this internet day and age, exposure of both the body and the indiscretion are almost instantaneous and too much of a distraction in the political ring.

If you haven't got the good sense to keep your penis to yourself, then don't run for office. These sex scandals are too much of a distraction - not to mention embarrassment and humiliation - to co-exist with ANY political climate and are just plain inappropriate and annoying.

What is worse is that it seems that no matter how many sex scandals there are, the newer ones don't seem to learn the historical lessons from the older ones. Those who do not learn history, etc.

So we want intelligent, quick-learners, who think with their gray matter.

I would be more than happy to replace former Congressman Weiner in Washington. I am a Scorpio, pragmatic, logical, honest as Abe, and I want to carry the message of Poor Richard's Almanac to the nation's legislative body.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Jun. 17 2011 10:18 AM
Robert from NYC

Oh my God is there really a chance that Noach Dear will get voted in? I thought he disappeared for good a long time ago. That's scarry, wooooooooah! Blech!!

Jun. 17 2011 10:18 AM
Adele Cohen from Brooklyn

You are not considering who has more county committee votes - Brooklyn or Queens. When Ted Weiss died, Brooklyn had absolutely no voice in the county committee nominating Jerry Nadler. Manhattan's county committee had a higher weighted vote.

If it is Brooklyn - Lopez will have control, Queens, Crowley.

Jun. 17 2011 10:17 AM
Robert from NYC

Yes, it is a said day. The guy didn't even have sex like Clinton who had sex in the office of the President and Vitter who visited prostitutes and others who remain(ed) in office. It's really uneven. The worst of this is how his own dems threw him under the bus, as it were. The guy was excellent in representing his district, nyc liberals, and liberals throughout the country. A strong and honest voice. Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz cut their own throats and they will pay for it.

Jun. 17 2011 10:16 AM

Dumb, really dumb.

Both the preoccupation and the waste of talent.

Jun. 17 2011 10:16 AM

Mario Cuomo as a a 1-term caretaker candidate?

Jun. 17 2011 10:14 AM
RLewis from the bowery

Please, please, please tell us that this is the last Wiener segment you're gonna put us through, Brian. I could care less about Anthony, but this whole affair has made me respect the news media even less... if that's possible.

Jun. 17 2011 10:13 AM
sp from NYC

Tacky, yes, but not illegal or corrupt. I am totally disgusted by the hypocritical Pelosi, Obama, and the Democratic caucus. As a life-long New York Democrat, I will not be voting for them in 2012. Can Weiner run in the special election as an independent?

Jun. 17 2011 10:11 AM
bernie from bklyn

this is a sad day for nyc and for this country as a whole. this guy was targeted and driven out for no good reason.
i don't want to hear about "distractions" and his "lewd behavior". we have no right to judge this man in this way. he broke no laws.
he's into "sexting"- who cares? big f'n deal!
this damages NO ONE!
rachel maddow has the nerve to call his behavior "gross"? many would consider her sexual acts gross, who is she to judge? and if she's off base on this, then the right wing/puritan morons who populate this country did and will flip out and hop on their high horse.
he was a highly effective voice for reasonable people in this country (single payer etc..) and now he's gone. very sad.
and sorry to be vindictive, but i hope there are teams of hackers finding the skeletons in andrew breitbart's closet. that guy needs to feel what it's like to be targeted and vilified for matters of privacy.

Jun. 17 2011 10:06 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Hey, here's a novel idea. Why don't the majority Democratic voters in Weiner's district eelct a Republican (!) for a two year trial?

So how has that addiction to politically correct, welfare state Democrats worked out for you? Your state is bankrupt, your city is heading there, there are no new jobs, industry (what little is left of it) is leaving, and your schools stink.

What did you get with Weiner? He passed no major bills, made no deals and accomplished little between 2006 and 2010 while the Dems had a majority.
What he DID do was advance the career of Anthony Weiner .... as a big-mouthed, arrogant MSNBC / CNN talking head for the far leftists all over the country. It was the political version of his standing in the mirror and taking photos of himself.

Hey, roll the dice and try someone whose first claim to legitimacy isn't the same old doctrinaire failed policies of the 1960's.

Jun. 17 2011 09:27 AM

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