2013-07-18 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Are We Becoming Just A Bawdy Joke To The World?
Charles Rogers

A ren’t you just about sick of it? I mean the machinations of our political people, either running FOR office or running FROM office or dilly-dallying IN office, who aspire to greater things in their political world? How can they have the gall…the NERVE to even show their faces? I feel like I’m living in ancient Rome, with Caligula and his buddies (and gals!) engaging in their debauchery right there in front of us!

No, I’m not a prude, and I’m probably the first one to laugh at a bawdy joke, but let’s face it — if any one of these boobs gets into political office, the bawdy joke will be New York City!

So far, unfortunately, Anthony Weiner, running for mayor, Eliot Spitzer, running for comptroller, and Vito Lopez, running for City Council, all have this sex thing to get over (unfortunate for us if either gets elected). They are all accomplished political figures who would, if circumstances were different, probably be relatively fierce contenders for those respective positions. Note I didn’t say “respectful,” because within recent years respect for governmental agencies has lost that nod of approval, not just because of the uncontrolled sex drives of these guys, but because of the obvious rampant corruption through greed for money and for power. For some reason, however, the sex thing makes them sleazier; more oily; more hard-to-take.

Now, there are those who say we should “overlook” it; that it’s a human frailty for some to give way to their basic feelings. I hate that picture of Spitzer as he sat on the television show “Morning Joe” and the crocodile tears started to flow. You can say it was a sign of sincerity, but, as they say in Brooklyn, “gimme a break!” It sounded more like a bad B movie — in black and white, yet! The pouring out of jokes about Weiner started months ago when he announced he was getting into the race for mayor. Before that, Lopez decided he’d run for a Council seat, although he was run out of the state Assembly for debasing and allegedly sexually molesting his female staffers. Weiner was the butt (pardon the expression!) of jokes on all the latenight TV shows — and they’re still laughing AT him. In case you don’t know, while he was in Congress, and representing us in Washington, he was also sexting (funny word at this point!) pictures of his privates to unsuspecting females all over the country. When his peccadilloes were revealed, he ranted and riled and steadfastly, barefacedly lied — to everyone. Then he finally admitted to his complete lack of character and slinked away for, uh, not long enough.

Spitzer wasn’t much different, although while he was being “served” by paid prostitutes, as governor he was directing legislation that made certain cases of prostitution a felony in his state. Hypocrisy was the least of it, especially in light of the cheating on his wife and family. He’s only been in the race for what has been termed the second highest governmental post in the city for less than two weeks, and it is supposed that the taint of his shenanigans while governor will fade to a small degree. However, we can’t dismiss the pictures of talk show host Jay Leno, who interviewed Spitzer last week, when he asked the candidate, “How could you be so stupid?” Or the picture of a man picking up a prostitute on a deserted corner, to which host David Letterman captioned: “This is a shot of Eliot Spitzer picking up signatures for his campaign!”

Think these stabs will stop? Not on your life!

But there is a problem; especially in Spitzer’s case: His only contender is former Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Although Stringer’s got all the credentials needed to be a good comptroller, the one element that he needs is some kind of charisma. Yes, unfortunately, not enough people know about him and already the polls put him at least ten points below Spitzer. The nondescript candidate is trying hard for the nomination in the September primary, but it’s already an uphill race. Weiner is another problem because he has some good people contending for mayor, not the least of whom is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. He has to surpass his own foibles and be able to have the public redeem him. Trust is his problem, as it always has, but this time his character must come into the question.

Letterman and Leno are just the start. Imagine the bawdy jokes if those candidates make it!

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