Two Creeps

Published: July 29, 2013

By Jim Lichtman
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I can’t believe the words that come out of the mouths of two individuals who hold themselves up as responsible, trustworthy leaders worthy of putting their own interests aside in service to a larger purpose.

Before I go any further, let me just state, for the record, that the only direct evidence of wrongdoing toward women by both San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and candidate for mayor of New York, Anthony Weiner, are allegations by the women they have wronged and the subsequent apologies by both men. However, any way you look at it, it doesn’t look good.

After reports of sexual harassment by at least three women, Filner announced that instead of resigning – clearly the best and most honorable option – he would go into rehab to correct his behavior. How long? Two weeks. While it’s difficult to get an incumbent out of office, Anthony Weiner is a different matter.

Running for mayor of New York, Weiner would be following in the footsteps of one of the most successful and decent men to hold that office, Michael Bloomberg. The contrast between Bloomberg and Weiner could not be any sharper.

After putting himself through Johns Hopkins and Harvard, Bloomberg became a partner in Salomon Brothers. After leaving the firm, Bloomberg went out on his own and revolutionized the distribution of financial information. Bloomberg L.P. made Michael Bloomberg a billionaire. In 2002, Bloomberg became mayor of the largest city in the United States. He was elected for a second term, followed by a third.

In a nutshell, that’s Bloomberg.

After a stint as a member of the New York City Council (1992-1998), and congressional aide to then U.S. Representative Chuck Schumer, Anthony Weiner was elected to the U.S. House serving New York’s 9th congressional district. Serving from January 1999 to June 2011 when he resigned due to a self-admitted sex scandal.

While I give Weiner points for his zeal in standing up for his New York constituents, it would appear that at the same time he was fighting for “his people,” he was also fighting for more face time with an unknown number of anonymous women via cell phone texts that included a number of revealing, anatomical photos of himself; a new-tech gimmick euphemistically called, “sexting.”

When the story first broke, Weiner denied it, saying it was a hoax and that his phone had been hacked. That story quickly crumbled under remarkably little research, along with the help of his victims or accomplices – depending on how you view his female partners.

After a public apology to his then pregnant wife and New York constituents, Weiner stepped down in disgrace, ostensibly to get his act together and see what he might do next. Next turned out to be a run for mayor of New York City. Oh, but just before that – a year after he resigned, Weiner now admits, based on newly released information, to having engaged in additional “sexting” over the past year with an unknown number of women.

After serving as a councilman for the city of San Diego, California, Bob Filner was elected to the U.S. House in January 1993, serving until December 3, 2012. Before his House expired, Filner successfully ran for mayor of San Diego, assuming office on his last day in the House.

A mere seven months later, three of Filner’s long-time aides, stepped forward to accuse the mayor of sexual harassment. Over the next several days, here’s what happened next:

Filner first apologized on a local radio station, telling listeners that he would seek professional help to change behavior he described as “inappropriate comments, kissing and groping”; a few days later, he admitted that he treated women poorly, but insisted that a “fair and independent investigation” would clear him of sexual harassment charges, (I thought he just admitted to them!); the same day, Filner’s chief of staff resigned; then, Filner’s new chief of staff resigned after only 10 days on the job, replaced by, of all things, a woman, (what is she thinking!).

In a nutshell, that’s the backstory on Weiner and Filner.

The behavior of both of these “men” is not only reprehensible, but something, to my way of thinking, totally beyond the pale. As both have demonstrated, their own needs clearly trump any consideration for the people they currently represent, in Filner’s case, and hope to represent in Weiner’s.

Okay, so here’s my question for San Diego and New York: Is this the top of the talent pool for government leadership?

200 hundred years ago, both Weiner and Filner would have been tarred and feathered, or worse. But today we’re supposed to be more enlightened and forgiving. While it will ultimately be up to San Diego’s Council and voters to decide Filner’s fate, Anthony Weiner has the full-throated support of his wife Huma Abedin.

My opinion?

This is not Abedin’s first time at the “sexting” rodeo. However, if she wants to “stand by her man,” more power to her.

According to the Web site Real Clear Politics, Weiner is currently polling 2nd, at 20 percent, behind frontrunner Christine Quinn who stands at 25 percent. Weiner is only 5 points behind! And he’s 5 points ahead of Bill Thompson.

Laura Leathers, mother of Sydney Leathers – who participated in Weiner’s latest sexting episode – told the New York Daily News, “God help New York if he gets to be mayor.”

My message: People of San Diego, and New York City, you can do much, much better than Bob Filner and Anthony Weiner. If they are willing to engage in this kind of self-absorbed behavior on your time, apparently, without serious consequences, what else are they willing to do in the name of you, their constituents?

Good governance is not about who makes the most headlines. It’s about sincere, honest, disciplined, hard work for the people. Get rid of these creeps.



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