Editor’s note: This column was written before the latest allegations of sexting by Weiner were made public on Tuesday and admitted to by the mayoral hopeful. It’s worth noting that the editorial staff of this newspaper agrees with the sentiments here, and also believes that there is no room in New York politics for individuals who don’t learn from their mistakes.
By Steve Sanders
In his opus, when Frank Sinatra sang… “It’s up to you, New York, New York,” he must have been thinking about an election like the one that looms in New York City in less than two months.
So here is the deal. In September the Democratic party voters will go to the polls and nominate its standard bearers for the general election. Resigned Congressman Anthony Weiner is a candidate in a crowded field for mayor and resigned Governor Eliot Spitzer faces Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the race for comptroller.
Both entered their respective races late and both catapulted to the top of the polls, primarily based on their name recognition and celebrity.
Celebrity? The former Congressman gained his notoriety by texting pictures of his private parts to women and girls with suggestive and salacious remarks. When caught he lied about it to the public as long as he could get away with it and then after getting cornered, confessed and resigned from office. The former governor earned his fame by first bullying his colleagues and others with threats and taunts. Then it was revealed that he spent much of his time soliciting prostitutes and even making arrangement for payment through questionable accounts and interstate travel. This from the one time top state law enforcement official and chief executive of the state of New York!
It isn’t just the lack of restraint or reckless acts of personal indulgence that should bother New Yorkers; it is the fact that their judgment is so flawed and their temperament reflects a dangerous narcissistic compulsion which seems to have led both men to a view of the world that places them at the center of the universe where their particular needs come first. Not very good for persons aspiring to public service.
Now don’t get me wrong; political persons by nature are aggressive and egocentric. To some extent, you need those characteristics to be successful in the world of politics. But there is a world of difference between the behavior of Mr. Weiner and Mr. Spitzer and most any other politician that I have seen. To elect either of them to high office in New York City would be setting up the city to be the national and international punch line when we should be solidifying our place as the world class city that we are. A city filled with the best and the brightest.
A vote for either man is a vote to feed their personal addiction for attention and power. They need New York City voters, New York City voters don’t need them.
I for one, a lifelong democrat, will not support the party standard bearers if either are Weiner or Spitzer. I will not demean our great City in that way.
But as Frank Sinatra sang… It’s up to you New York, New York!
Steven Sanders is a former state assemblyman who represented the Town and Village community for 28 years.