Dolman: Whose future is Anthony Weiner thinking about?
Almost two years after sending out a lewd photo of himself on Twitter, lying about it, and then resigning from Congress, Anthony Weiner is back. And he still wants to be mayor. Maybe.
But should he be?
Well, people seem to like him, he told the New York Times Magazine in a piece that went up on its website this week. And what better year to run? The raj of Mayor Mike Bloomberg is fading. No obvious heir has emerged. And Weiner has been doing a lot of thinking -- mostly about himself.
You can't begrudge him that. He wrecked his career with spectacular, impulsive acts of self-immolation. He nearly lost his family in the fallout. And by the time his name faded from the media, he stood brutally exposed as a politician in the throes of advanced ego poisoning. He was virtually alone and thoroughly humbled.
He damned well ought to be thinking about himself.
But should he be mayor?
If he runs, I'm sure he will roll out his mayoral push with a near white-out of position papers, policy declarations and perhaps a pro-forma description of the city he'd someday like to see. Maybe he'll make a surprisingly good case for himself. But there's a catch.
The memorable mayors of New York -- from Ed Koch to Rudolph Giuliani to Mike Bloomberg -- have brought more to the table than outsized personalities and careful stands aimed at winning them the fevered enthusiasm of vast armies of targeted interest groups.
The better mayors have all had those skills and used them with varied success. But what drove them, what made them compelling, was something else: It was their singular vision for the city.
Koch was determined to rebuild the confidence of New Yorkers and stop the bleeding from the financial crisis of the 1970s.
Giuliani was determined to build a safer city that was less beholden to traditional Democratic interest groups.
Bloomberg was intent on creating a global city in full blossom, a safe but exciting place filled with waterfront esplanades, streetside tables and chairs and, more ambitiously, good schools.
But Weiner? His main passion seems to be Anthony Weiner. If narcissism were an instant disqualifier in politics, no one could run. But if Weiner gets into the race, he'll have to show voters he's just as passionate about the future of city.
Joseph Dolman is an editorial writer for amNewYork.