Sunday, September 11, 2005
Weiner in 2009?
The frontrunner, Fernando Ferrer, is a reliable policy wonk who comes off in public appearances like a buffoon. Two other candidates, Borough President C. Virginia Fields and City Council Speaker Giff Miller, are decent bureaucrats who haven't distinguished themselves with any big ideas. The only one with potential is Congressman Anthony Weiner, who right now seems not fully formed. He reminds me of the kid whose mother would follow him down the block saying "You forgot your allergy medication." He also sort of reminds me of a young Ed Koch.
Our incumbent, Michael Bloomberg, is a Republican Moderate who's considered hard to beat. Unlike the president, there's no overwhelming dissatisfaction with him from large segments of the population. There are people who are just not going to vote for a Republican on principle right now, even if he's not one of those Republicans, and there are people who are going to make choices based on race and ethnicity. But even at the West Indian Day Parade last Monday, the mayor was popular.
So I'm watching the debate last Thursday, and I'm thinking, if I were in charge of the Democrats right now, I would hope that Ferrer would get the nomination, that he would ultimately lose to Bloomberg, and since this will be Ferrer's third go after the job, he would probably not run again. Meanwhile, start grooming Weiner for a successful run in 2009, when term limits will mean that Bloomberg can't run again and no other moderate Republicans are on the horizon.
Well, I was reading the last issue of New York Magazine there was an article by Chris Smith that said exactly what I had thought:
The toughest lever to bypass in the voting booth will be the one next to the name of Anthony Weiner. He has the intellectual dexterity to give Bloomberg a workout, and he's tried to sell himself as the candidate who will move beyond traditional Democratic thinking.Yep, there's that "outside the box" thinking that David Ignatius wrote about in the Washington Post.
"If Weiner gets into the runoff, it suggests there's clearly a constituency for a message that Democrats have been screwing up and we need to do something differently," says a consultant not affiliated with any candidate. But Weiner, a 40-year-old congressman from Brooklyn and Queens who has spent his entire adult life in politics, needs to run something--a congressional committee, a think tank, a minor-league hockey team--before being put in charge of an entity as clamorous as New York, and his agenda needs four more years of baking.And the article concludes with:
Hey, do I know my Weiners or what?
National Democrats have been healthily shaken by John Kerry's defeat, and a local version is past due. "Last night I spent almost an hour surfing the Manhattan Institute Website," says a veteran New York Democrat. "While there's much I don't agree with, it's the only place I know of that's generating new policy ideas for the city. It's not unimportant for there to be a progressive-policy infrastructure supporting an urban agenda. That's something I hope we will see at some point. And it's more likely to happen if we lose than if we win."
Not that he's rooting for a loss. But here's the realist Democratic slogan for you: Freddy Ferrer and honorable defeat in '05. And Anthony Weiner all the way in '09.
I love my city. We stockpile our mayors.
Latest polls show Ferrer and Weiner in a statistical dead heat, and pundits are predicting a runoff.