Weiner Made Right Decision, Didn’t Run Away From Fight
Nothing can convince this observer that Congressmember Anthony Weiner pulled out of the then still undecided Democratic mayoral runoff imbroglio last Wednesday because he didn’t have the guts to take on two steep, uphill fights against Fernando Ferrer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to complete the election cycle and become mayor of New York City.
We say his reason for conceding the primary to Ferrer was a simple, cold calculation based on third grade arithmetic—if the recount of the primary voting remained with Ferrer at 39.50 percent of the total, then all he would need from the count of about 10,000 absentee ballots was another .05 percent of the vote to reach the elusive 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff with Weiner.
Put another way, Weiner had to have the Tuesday vote recount remain the same or close to it, and then would have needed virtually all of the 10,000 or so absentee ballots to go into his column.
The probability of all these things having favorable results for Weiner is virtually zero, considering past experience with recounts and absentee ballots. Invariably, they break down along the same lines of the general voting.
If this was Weiner’s thinking, or if someone close to his political life pointed it out to him, it was the rockbottom basis for his decision.
As it turns out, the Board of Elections recount of last Tuesday’s vote announced yesterday pushed Ferrer over the 40 percent mark, removing the necessity for a runoff with Weiner. So, as we see it, Weiner’s plan to pull out of the runoff the day after the primary went strictly according to his objectives.
We’re sure that once Weiner made the decision to withdraw from the runoff, or even as he considered that option, he would also realize the future political benefits he could derive from putting Democratic unity first in Ferrer’s battle with Bloomberg and his own future political career and reputation second.
Weiner would realize the future political benefits he could derive from putting Democratic Party unity first and his own career and reputation second.
Four years from now, we should be witnessing the end of Mayor Michael Bloomberg second term, by all indications. On November 8, the mayor is heavily favored to defeat Ferrer in the general election. The mayor’s first-term record, his campaign up to this point, his endorsements, and, finally and most important, his personal wealth and willingness to spend it, all point to an easy victory.
This bleak picture would faze any Democratic candidate against Bloomberg, including Weiner. It just isn’t in the cards for Bloomberg to blow this election.
In four years, the Republicans will have to search high and low for a candidate to succeed Bloomberg. They won’t come up with anyone credible. There will be no record such as Bloomberg’s to point to, whatever it will be after a second term. There will be no bottomless pit of cash to smother the opposition with free spending.
On the Democratic side, Ferrer will by that time have lost three chances to win the mayoralty. He’ll have “loser” stamped all over him. There’ll be no dearth of other Dem mayor-wannabees, but Weiner by that time will still be young, about 44, he’ll have a 10-year Congressional career behind him, and all the experience of the just concluded campaign. No one will forget—he won’t let them—how he soared from last in the pack to second, a solid, threatening runner-up to Ferrer.
And there’ll be that matter of the party being indebted to him for forging party unity in this election, which will give Ferrer his only hope.
Make no mistake about it, Weiner’s no quitter, and he didn’t throw in the towel to end the primary/runoff fight. He said that’s not his character, a fact demonstrated during the primary campaign and in the past in his legislative career.
The Queens/Brooklyn lawmaker, now a Forest Hills resident, is a diligent, hard-working, outspoken legislator. We know this from having covered him since he ran for Congress in 1998 and won a hard race. We admire him because in his career and in the just-completed campaign his positions on the issues had substance and he projected them with an independent, fighting style. He didn’t throw in the towel last Wednesday. He just made a sound, well-thought-out, calculated decision, which sometimes takes more courage than does tilting at windmills.