Anthony Weiner ought to consider the fate of a certain former governor of New York. His name is Eliot Spitzer, and he had a pretty high opinion of himself back in the day. He enjoyed issuing moral pronouncements about the behavior, ethics and other habits of mere mortals. One day, however, the world discovered that Mr. Spitzer didn’t think the rules applied to him. He quickly became an ex-governor.
Mr. Weiner has a similar streak of arrogance. He was quoted recently telling Mayor Bloomberg that he’ll rip up the current mayor’s bike lanes when he, Mr. Weiner, becomes mayor. This sort of presumption has become the Brooklyn congressman’s stock in trade.
About a year ago, Mr. Weiner tried to force his way into the news cycle by denouncing nefarious diplomats who accumulated lots of unpaid parking tickets. Carefully selecting his targets, he complained that diplomats from Yemen, Zimbabwe and Iran were among the offenders. He called their behavior “insulting to all New Yorkers.”
Well, he wasn’t wrong. Diplomats at the U.N. regularly scoff at the city’s traffic laws. Politicians in search of a headline have been complaining about this behavior for decades.
But those who preach ought to be careful about what they practice. It turns out that Mr. Weiner had a pile of unpaid parking tickets in Washington, D.C. A Washington newspaper recently revealed that the congressman owed the district $2,180 in unpaid tickets for an array of violations over a four-year span. The congressman was by far the biggest scofflaw on Capitol Hill-his nearest competitor had just $600 in unpaid tickets. Makes you proud, doesn’t it?
Mr. Weiner was quick to make good on his debts after the media got wind of his hypocrisy, and his spokesman said the congressman was happy to “have helped decrease the D.C. budget deficit.” Hopefully Mr. Weiner takes this incident a little more seriously than his spokesman did. There’s a lesson to be learned here, but it will require Mr. Weiner to get off his high horse.