At this point, the only question left about Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign is how long he’ll stay in the race. Because at this point his candidacy is doomed.
Weiner had been leading the pack in the Democratic primary. But after last week’s revelation that the former congressman, who stepped down from Congress in 2011 after admitting that he had shared risqué photos of himself over the Internet, had continued to share similar photos following his resignation, his poll numbers tanked, dropping nine points. Yesterday, Weiner’s campaign manager announced he was quitting. And a chorus of “just go already” arose on the Sunday talk shows, even from Democrats and their allies, with folks like longtime Obama strategist David Axelrod calling Weiner “delusional” and saying flatly that he ought to quit the race.
So why would Weiner stay in? He can’t even make a basic case for his candidacy at this point. Asked by a former public school teacher on Friday whether he had the “moral authority” to lead the city, his response was to ask the teacher whether she would vote for him (she would not) and then declare that others should have that choice. That’s not much of an argument.
Granted, there’s never been much of argument for Weiner, except that he’s feisty and provocative and hungry for TV soundbites. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal for an article about his legislative accomplishments, he offers up that he funneled $70 million to a local national park, and insists that while he sponsored just a single bill during his time in Congress—a bill intended to reduce cigarette tax avoidance—he attached a lot of amendments to legislation sponsored by others.
In other words, while on Capitol Hill, Anthony Weiner wasn’t much of a legislator, or a deal maker. Instead, he was an attention-seeker, whose first and last priority was Anthony Weiner. If he stays in the race for a while longer, it will be because he just can’t give up that attention, even if it means embarrassing himself and his party. On the other hand, it also suggests the case for Weiner, should New Yorkers make the unlikely decision to give him yet another chance: He’s the same brash, attention-seeking guy he always was, and at this point, there can’t be that many embarrassing secrets left to reveal.