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Anthony Weiner: Will the Media Let Him Become New York's Next Mayor?

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by Jon Friedman
May 30, 2013 7:05 PM
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Only in New York ...

If you live in New York City, all you've been reading and hearing about lately is the improbable political comeback of one Anthony Weiner. 

He might just be the town's next Hizzoner. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/anthony-weiner-new-york-city-mayor-race-92017.html

Stranger things have happened.

Weiner is benefiting from many factors as he plots his return to prominence, a few years after a lewd-photo scandal derailed his career and made him instantly a punch line.

New York is a forgiving town and America is a forgiving nation. We love the notion of the fallen politician or actor or athlete or musician coming back to win our hearts and minds through sheer persistence, grit and demonstrations of humility.

Plus, the post-Michael Bloomberg mayoral race is a snoozer. The voters don't know or much care who is running, Republican or Democrat. Nobody has stepped forward to win us over. Nobody has demonstrated much charisma. Crucially, nobody has become a media darling. 

The race is up for grabs. All bets are off. 

The key, as always in my hometown, will be the media. New York's soul can be found on the front page of the tabloids, the Post and the Daily News. The headline writers set the tone for how the citizens regard people, especially celebrities. Nobody gets a break here. If you mess up, you'll be branded as a punching bag for a long time. 

Is it time for Mayor Punching Bag?

Weiner, if he is a serious candidate in the wings, would be wise to play along. He can use as much media exposure -- to show that he has purportedly changed and become a mature family man -- as he can muster. And the journalists might just be only too grateful to accommodate him.

I suspect that the New York tabloids and talk-radio stations wouldn't mind seeing Weiner step forward as a legitimate candidate. At least his entry would give them something to make fun of.

That is Weiner's biggest challenge. The jokes. You've heard them all by now, though nobody seems to get tired of asking if Weiner has the staying power for a campaign or if he can keep up his momentum or finish what he started or exhibit the staying power to win a grueling race. OK. I'll stop now.

That Weiner was done in by his own stupidity, immaturity and personal excesses might not qualify as a dealbreaker to a new life in politics. 

The voters might grudgingly conclude that he is the best candidate for the job, regardless of what happened before.



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