Something in the water?

June 16, 2011 1:08:53 PM PDT
Is it something in the water? Or is it just the power-corrupts mentality of politics? Or is it that men - some/many/most, you pick - in the end are dogs, or junior high schoolers, or both?

Or maybe you think we can't draw any grand conclusions other than Anthony Weiner behaved badly, embarrassingly, childish, unprofessional, and with huge amounts of hubris and deceit.

Another New York elected official today ended his otherwise promising political career in humiliation and scandal. Sex scandal.

We've written ad nauseam about the juvenile and what-was-he-thinking behavior of Mr. Weiner. There are those who say if he hadn't so aggressively denied and lied about sending lewd pictures and sexually explicit messages over the Internet then he might have survived this, politically.

But when you dig a little deeper, it's hard to believe that. The scandal itself - his behavior with women he didn't know and would never meet, including a porn star/stripper - likely would have done him in. Certainly he would have had little shot at become Mayor of New York - a job he which he was perceived to be the frontrunner. But he could have continued his Congressional career, because by all accounts his constituents in Brooklyn and Queens (his seat covers both boroughs) still like him and support him and are sorry to see him go.

No one appreciates that more than Weiner himself, at least judging by where he chose to make his resignation speech: A senior center in the heart of Hasidic Brooklyn, where he announced his first campaign for City Council and his first campaign for Congress.

So now he's gone - bowing to the demands and suggestions of everyone around him. His wife - just returned from a State Dept. trip abroad and pregnant with their first child - was not by his side, as so many other political wives have been in other recent scandals.

Now, as for the is-it-in-the-water question. And where to begin? Last February, Republican Congressman Chris Lee from upstate New York resigned after a picture of him, shirtless, appeared on the internet. He was reportedly trawling for women.

Democratic Congressman Eric Massa resigned a year ago March amid ethics investigations that he sexually harassed staffers.

Republican Congressman Vito Fossella didn't resign, but he didn't see reelection after revelations that he had a child with a woman who wasn't his wife - during his marriage.

And of course Elliot Spitzer's disgraceful resignation as New York Governor after he admitted he was a client of a high-priced call girl ring. Oy.

So what now? It's all up to Gov. Cuomo. If he declares an official vacancy, a special election has to be held 70 to 80 days after that announcement. If not, then.... well, the people of Weiner's district, or former district, will not be represented.

But because the seat will likely be eliminated anyway because of the Census (New York has to lose two Congressional seats), it's unclear how this will all play out.

As for Mr. Weiner, he's got several million left in his campaign bank account - money he could use to stage a comeback after a respectable amount of time passes. Hey - it's not out of the question. Americans love a redemption story, right?

His judgment, however, will always haunt him. Including his decision to hold a public news conference today, which allowed hecklers to shout out obscenities and hurl insults. The main culprit: A nimrod who works for Howard Stern.

But we expect nothing less from Stern and his peeps; if Weiner had used better judgment, the nimrod wouldn't have been allowed in.

I'm just sayin'.

We'll have the latest on the resignation and reaction, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we've all heard stories about nightmare landlords. Tonight we hear about a nightmare renter. They call him the "rampaging renter" and he's accused of leaving a trail of trash and unpaid rent on the West Coast. But guess where our investigative reporter Sarah Wallace found him? Right in our area.

A couple from New Jersey started doing some research when the man who rented their home stopped paying rent, and what they discovered - well, that's Sarah's story, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

One more note: I'm off tomorrow, so this column will resume on Monday. In the meantime, to all you dads out there, Happy Father's Day. And to my dad, whom I got to spend 58 Father's Days with, I'll embrace my children like he embraced his, and rejoice in their love.

By the way, we've compiled some pictures of dads from our Eyewitness News family members. CLICK HERE to see them on our website.


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