In his first television appearance since a social media-induced scandal torpedoed his political career two years ago, a contrite Anthony Weiner began to describe what life may be like under a theoretical Weiner Administration.
In particular, during the taped NY1 interview with Errol Louis, Mr. Weiner staked out several policy positions and offered criticism of the Democratic campaign primary thus far, edging closer to a mayoral bid that, based on the tone of the interview, appeared more likely.
“I got to do it soon. I mean, I’m starting the process and people are inviting me to come things and to talk to them about issues and I’m going to look for opportunities to talk about things as I move forward,” Mr. Weiner said, responding to a question about when he would officially launch a mayoral campaign. “I’ll tell you one thing for sure, I want to be a part of the ideas primary, that’s for sure. That primary I want to do very well in.”
Mr. Weiner has emphasized his interest in “the ideas primary” in other ways recently too. Earlier today, Mr. Weiner produced a policy booklet, for instance. In his interview tonight, Mr. Weiner delved deeper into hot-button policy issues, including stop-and-frisk and a proposed inspector general for the city’s police department. Interestingly, while critiquing how stop-and-frisk is executed, Mr. Weiner expressed his general support for the controversial anti-crime policy, placing him to the right of many of his potential competitors.
“I don’t think it’s smart to stop the police from having the ability to do that,” Mr. Weiner explained. “But I will say this, if you are having so many 250′s, so many stop-and-frisks going on in your precincts and the number of actual arrests and actual convictions is a tiny fraction of them, you’re not a good cop, you’re not a good commander, you’re not a good supervisor. You’re just not doing a good job. I don’t know you can see the statistics that have been released now after court fights that show the relatively tiny number of people who actually turned out to have done something of any race, but particularly people of color, and consider those cops that did that job a good one.”
Calling for more “transparency” in the police department, Mr. Weiner also criticized one of his hypothetical rivals, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, for her proposal to create an inspector general for the police department.
“I don’t believe it’s a good idea on the policy side,” Mr. Weiner said. “I think it does something no one running for mayor I think should want. It blurs the lines of authority. If I run for mayor and if I become the mayor, I want people looking at me and saying, ‘you know what, you’re in charge, you did this, you’re accountable, both on the good side and the bad side.’ And I think inspector generals are vestiges of a time in New York politics when we were creating authorities and boards and agencies, anything we could to buffer the tough decisions from the boss. I don’t like that ethos, I don’t like that thinking.”
Sounding like a potential candidate, Mr. Weiner despaired at both the policy discussions breaking out in the Democratic primary and the media coverage that has accompanied those discussions.
“The public debate has been a little disheartening at times, I think sometimes we get caught up in one or two issues and anything else that goes on seems to be too much for the coverage,” he argued. “As a consumer–which I’ve had a chance to be, just a pure consumer of news for a while and information–I wish there were more ideas and books out there floating around, more decision-makers out there to look at that.”