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June 7th, 2011

Anthony Weiner is a Park Slope Boy

I briefly met Congressman Anthony Weiner a few years back at the Park Slope Pride Parade on Seventh Avenue. Born and bred in Park Slope, he's a very personable guy and we got into a conversation about all the real delicatessens that used to be in the neighborhood. We were standing at the corner of Lincoln Place and I believe he was pointing at various small storefronts between Lincoln and St. John's Place.

I don't remember the details but he seemed effusive about his childhood around here (I'm pretty sure I wrote about our entirely wholesome encounter but I can't seem to find it in the OTBKB archives).

Ever since then I've followed his political career sporadically and was pretty sure he'd be running for Mayor of New York City in 2013.

Well, I don't think that's going to happen. Not now anyway.

No one needs me to chime in about Weinergate or to bash the guy whose already been almost universally bashed. Nor do I want to be an apologist for my Park Slope landsman, but I do want to say something about yesterday's speech in which he came clean about the underwear photos and his sexting history. IMO that was one heck of a apology: profuse, heartfelt, sad, specific, clear.

I would like to take this time to clear up some of the questions that have been raised over the past ten days or so. I take full responsibility for my actions. At the outset, I would like to make it clear that I have made terrible mistakes.

I have hurt the people I care about the most and I am deeply sorry. I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friend and supporters and the media.

Weiner, who doesn't have a lot of friends in Washington, asserted that he made "a regrettable mistake" when he lied that he'd been hacked and decided to stick to that story. Ya. But politicians always lie. At least at first. It must be in some politician's handbook somewhere. Deny, deny, deny until you can't deny anymore and then come clean.

You have to think that Weiner was engaging in some Spitzer style self-sabotage. I mean, you're potentially running for Mayor while sexting with strangers? Nothing stays private on the Internet and he was playing with fire. What was this guy thinking?

What is it with these politicians (see Spitzer, Schwarzenegger, Cohen, Clinton, etc. etc.)? Do they get so deluded by all the glad-handing (and power) that they forget that all the stupid, self-destructive things they do will come back to bite them in the ass?

Is there a self-annihilating force in politicians that's almost as strong as their ambition to be powerful and famous?

By the end of Weiner's speech he was in tears and you could see that he knew he'd probably ruined his career and disappointed everyone in his life. I know I was relieved that his wife wasn't there standing by her man. It remains to be seen whether their marriage will survive this episode but  she  has one of the best advisers in the world on the subject (she works for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton).

It remains to be seen what if anything of his career can be salvaged. Clearly, the guy needs to look deeply at himself and figure out his conflicting impulses. Still I was impressed with him the night I met him at the Pride Parade and as his career implodes I'm sorry for the potential that I saw that night that seems to have disappeared in a tweet of bad choices and an all-too-human lack of good judgement.

Posted in Civics and Urban Life | 2 Comments »