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Weiner-Spitzer--Outrageous Arrogance

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Men of outrageous arrogance -- Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer.

Even in New York City, a town used to assertiveness, Weiner's performance in recent weeks has been way over the top. There he's been trying desperately to deflect disclosures about his sending women naked photos of himself--particularly of his penis--and raunchy online messages using the name "Carlos Danger." And this for more than a year after he resigned from Congress with a vow to deal with his serial sexting habit.

"I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out and today they have," declared Weiner at an initial press conference, somehow believing this would quell the new uproar over his behavior. click here

After a stay out of politics following his quitting Congress in 2011 because of disclosures then of his sexting, Weiner came back in full force this May announcing he was running for New York mayor. As he campaigned determinedly, he rose in the polls and became the front-runner--until the new sexting disclosures.

Meanwhile, Spitzer, who resigned suddenly as New York State's governor in 2008 for "personal failings" after disclosures of his being a regular client of a high-priced prostitution ring, announced last month he was running for the Number 3 job in New York City government, comptroller.

Spending lavishly from his family's fortune made in New York City real estate, Spitzer has been flooding New York with TV commercials, his main campaign device through the decades. And he has risen in the polls to being ahead of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

The kick-off TV commercial in the Spitzer media blitz had him declaring, "Look, I failed. Big time." But, the spot continued, having been "sheriff of Wall Street" when he was New York's attorney general between 1999 and 2006 should entitle him with "a fair shot" to return to governmental office. Saturating New York airwaves now is a commercial that says "the people of this city are about to welcome back an old friend." The headline about this in the New York Daily News: "Eliot Spitzer TV Ad Spins Disgraced Politician as an 'Old Friend' to New Yorkers."   click here

Weiner and Spitzer have become gags in New York City politics--indeed, punch lines on the national level.

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Andy Borowitz's humor blog on The New Yorker website about the initial press conference was titled "Weiner Continues Sexting During Apology." It claimed--in jest, of course--that "Weiner stirred controversy today by continuing to send dirty texts throughout a press conference devoted to apologizing for his behavior. Mr. Weiner was halfway through his apology when reporters noticed him remove a phone from his pocket and aim its camera lens unmistakably in the direction of his pants. After seeing the candidate snap a photo of the pants region and then send a text, reporters bombarded Mr. Weiner with questions, asking him if he had in fact just sexted. 'Yes, I did, but I swear this was the last time,' he said. 'This behavior is now behind me.' Mr. Weiner then concluded his press conference by removing his shirt and snapping a quick shot of his naked torso." http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/07/anthony-weiner-continues-sexting-during-apology.html

Serious issues about stability are, of course, being raised.

Representative Jerry Nadler of Manhattan, a colleague of Weiner in Congress, says: "I think he should pull out of the race. I think he needs serious psychiatric help."   http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/216708441.html 

Dan Janison in his Newsday column commented: "Politics is just one business, of course, where ruthlessness can be a character reference and hypocrisies are inevitable. But a prospective public servant's ability to act sensibly also is worth considering." 

Gail Collins in her New York Times column wrote: "Nobody knows what drove Spitzer to jump in. Did Weiner's entry trigger a case of disgraced-politician competiveness?" click here=0

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And Frank Bruni in his New York Times column opined that Weiner was "angling for a gigantic promotion. In the narrative he's constructed, his mortification has made him a new man, so we're supposed to give him an extra measure of our trust and hand him the reigns of the most important and most complicated city in the country. I know we like our mayors brash, but we needn't accept delusional in the bargain." http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/opinion/bruni-sex-and-the-sorriest-pols.html?_r=0

As for Spitzer, Bruni skewered his record as governor charging--accurately--that he "was shaping up to be a self-righteous, self-defeating disaster of a governor." 

As governor for little over a year, starting in 2007, Spitzer proclaimed himself a "steamroller"--and in his dysfunction exhibited the sensitivity of such a machine. http://nymag.com/news/features/34730/

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Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury and host of the nationally syndicated TV program Enviro Close-Up.

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