As any fervent - or even casual follower of New York politics can tell you - our elected officials have a propensity for lying.
And we're not talking about the little white lies that they like to tell. For instance, take our favorite: "I don't want to take up everybody's time, so I am going to keep my remarks brief." Yeah right! But that's not really their fault, they just can't help themselves when they get in front of a crowd with a mic in their hand, not unlike Guru (RIP).
And for our purposes here, we're not even talking about the really big lies, like taking money on the side or extorting contractors or keeping secret slush funds of taxpayer money to dole out for political favors. To do those things, you not only have to lie to the public, you have to be able to lie to yourself just to sleep at night.
We're talking about the smaller, more personal lies. For instance, when a local elected official goes to a town hall meeting and tells a constituent that they will look into getting a traffic light at a particular intersection, even though they have absolutely no intention of doing it.
Or when a reporter asks a politician if they plan to make a run for higher office, and they say something like, "I'm focused on doing my current job and delivering for the people in my district." An answer like that rings kind of hollow when it is delivered at a fundraiser for said politician.
Big lies display a lack of conscience, everyday lies like those require an actor's talent to pull off.
So with that in mind, we didn't really believe Congressman Anthony Weiner when he told us that he decided not to run for mayor last year because he felt it was an important time to be in Washington, and that he wanted to be at the center of the big national debates this country is grappling with - health care, Wall Street, immigration, etc. We politely said, "how nice," and then as soon as he left our office took the cynical view that he just didn't want to challenge the Bloomberg political machine and its near limit-less bank account.
We apologize for our doubting ways, Mr. Weiner.
Over the past year, Weiner has become one of the most high-profile members of Congress. He did just what he said he was going to do, and put himself at the center of the health care debate, even going so far as to take a radically left stance, calling on a public option for every American, an idea that was the major sticking point in getting any sort of reform passed, but one that he was extremely vocal on.
Since then, he has been ubiquitous, taking a hard-line stance with members of the Republican Party and using television appearances and the Internet to spread his message.
According to The Politicker, Weiner even bum-rushed the DJ booth at a fashionable Lower East Side night club packed with 20-something party-goers recently and delivered this missive: “Every single moment that we are stroking our beards and gazing at our navel and thinking about the world we’d like to be and singing ‘Kumbaya’ is another day we’re not punching Bill O’Reilly in the nose.”
Damn Hammer, don't hurt 'em!
And it seems to be working for him if Weiner's intention was to get noticed, either in a positive or negative light. You know you've hit the big time when someone mails an envelope filled with a mysterious white powder to your district office in the hopes of creating an Anthrax scare, which is exactly what happened to Weiner and his staff on March 25. He even joked about it during his impromptu night club stump speech.
“I follow Twitter for the Tea Party and just show up to [expletive] with them,” he said. “No, I don’t actually do that. I just sit at my desk and they send me talcum powder every couple of weeks.”
We don't know if Weiner is trying to up his political profile for a long, influential stay in Washington, D.C., or if he is just trying to show that he is tough enough to be the next mayor of New York City when that campaign starts up in a few years. But this time, we're not going to try and figure it out and just enjoy the ride.