Monday, September 9, 2013

The public does remember scandals, even in NYC?

I'm writing this the night before the NY primary elections. A couple of the current races had been troubling me. One is the Democrat's field competing to be on the ballot for mayor this November. The other is the Democrat's field competing to be the NYC Comptroller on the ballot this November. How could Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer be regarded as serious candidates after they'd been thrown out of previous high-office positions for plenty good scandalous cause.


In case you have been sleeping under a rock or perhaps simply aren't from the NY area, here's a quickie background on these candidates.

Spitzer, a married man, was a well regarded governor of the state of NY 2007-2008. But then it was discovered that he was paying huge sums for the services of high priced prostitutes. It was widely reported, his wife stood by her man, and then he resigned from office under fire. He resigned from office rather than risk getting dragged through impeachment proceedings.

Far as I can tell, Spitzer was never prosecuted nor convicted on any of the charges, but I've seen nothing to so much as imply that he is anything less than 100% guilty of exactly what he was accused of.

Weiner, also a married man, was a U.S. congressman representing Manhattan's 9th district from January 1999 to June 2011. But then it was discovered that he was sending photos of his private parts to various women. Amid all the hoopla, he resigned from office.

I'm not upset with these guys resigning from office, though I do wonder about how no one bothered to prosecute them for their misconduct. But the huge shock to me is that they would then have the nerve to throw their hat into the ring to run for public office again. My one comfort is that recent polling numbers show both Spitzer and Weiner trailing in their races, so maybe their comeback attempts are ill-fated after all. Goodness knows the late-night talk shows have been having great fun with those candidates, especially with Weiner.

So, not much longer to wait to see if these comeback attempts fail as clearly as they deserve to fail. From my point of view, neither of these guys should have embarrassed us by running for office again. Or am I just being an old fuddy-duddy?

Election Night Update 09/10/2013

Well, the polls for today's primary election have closed and results indicate that Weiner came in a distant 5th place in a field of 5 candidates. Weiner got 5% of the vote. Bill Deblasio got 40%, just enough to win the Democratic ballot slot for NYC Mayor without needing to campaign for a run-off election in 3 weeks. (40% was the magic number to avoid having a run-off of the top candidates in the Primary voting).

Spitzer also lost with Stringer winning the race for the Democratic ballot slot for NYC Comptroller, but just barely. I was happy to see Spitzer lost, but would have been happier to see him handed a more decisive defeat. "Name recognition" is valuable when trying to get votes, though Weiner shows there are limits.

Perhaps it mattered that during this campaign, Weiner asserted that his checkered past was now behind him, but then the whole "Carlos Danger" brouhaha hit the fan during his comeback campaign. Maybe the difference was that there was no fresh scandal from Spitzer, just the old scandal that at least some folks have not yet forgotten.