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June 13, 2011
About Those Pro-Weiner 9th District Polls
Much has been made of stories saying that the people of Congressman Weiner's district want him to stay. Let's look into this a bit further. New York's 9th Congressional District is a gerrymandered creation, the result of New York State's previous population losses. The state has gone from 45 districts to the current 31, soon to be 29.
One recent 9th District poll was taken June 8th during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Shavuis/Shaveis). The Orthodox Jews in the southern part of Weiner's district were not picking up the phone to answer calls the evening before or during that day of the holiday. As is, most polls use land line phones and call people who are at home during the day or early evening, i.e., a population skewed toward the unemployed on government assistance.
I happen to have lived in the northern part of Congressman Weiner's district for many years. There are many first generation immigrants there. In previous years, this included a gamut from Holocaust survivors to South American sophisticates. It now includes a number of Asian immigrants both in my building and neighborhood. The newsstands near the subway on Continental Avenue have daily papers in Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Korean -- even Arabic. These are people who did not grow up in America and often come from countries where either women's rights and average male citizen's rights were second class or worse.
The other recent New York based scandal, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, shows us a man who is used to abusing women of lower status in Europe and getting away with it on a daily basis because "that's the way things are" (or have been) in that society.
It has been written -- by none less than the liberal Village Voice -- that all of New York City is an immigration center and when the inhabitants (and/or their children) get more acculturated, they move out to the real America. There is some truth to this.
A few days ago, I was leaving "Camp Weiner," the space in front of the embattled Congressman's apartment house where a number of reporters sit on folding chairs with their digital still and film cameras, yards from their satellite link trucks.
Weiner did make good on one Democrat promise. He has stimulated the Economy of Forest Hills. The Portofino pizza parlor and various corner groceries and sandwich shops have seen their business go up as they supplied the encamped photographers and reporters with food and drink.
An Asian woman with a foreign accent was urging the members of press to leave Weiner alone as she walked by, going towards Queens Boulevard. I chose to leave the site and wound up walking alongside her as she kept talking about how much she wanted Weiner to run for reelection. As I pointed out that because of the 2010 Census, he will probably be in one of two lost districts, this didn't faze her.
To this objection and every other factual remark I made about him disgracing the Congress and being a security risk, she would reply, "I know, but I want him to stay." In frustration, I finally said, "I want a spaceship to come down here and give me $10 million in gold but it's not going to happen!" That last remark signaled the end of our "political discussion." It was like talking to a nine year old, even though this citizen appeared around forty years of age.
Weiner's District 9 is surrounded by Democrat districts. I can see Congressman Gary Ackerman, who once previously was Forest Hill's Congressman, taking over Weiner's northern domain again. Weiner's southern district, in the western part, will be taken over by Congressman Towns of the 10th Congressional District. The eastern part of Weiner's district probably will go to Gregory Meeks. If politics is a game where your friends stab you in the front, then Anthony Weiner better be wearing his chain mail armor vest.
To the extent that the polls show the voters want him to stay, those people are private citizens who are not responsible for the dignity -- and security -- of the US Congress. In fact, they're not even responsible for getting more Democrats elected across the United States in 2012, a responsibility that impacts the thinking of Harry Reid and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who reversed her own position 180 degrees as the impact of the Weiner scandal grew, to finally urge him to resign. It is not a flippant remark when Rush Limbaugh states he wants Anthony Weiner to stay in office until the 2012 elections: Weiner is the best attack ad that the Republican Party has -- and it costs the RNC nothing to run it nationally.
So the local polls want Weiner to stay? If I ran a poll of neighbors who wanted the local fruit store to give out free fruit, I bet I could get strong poll numbers for that. If, however, I ran a poll of fruit store owners, i.e., those in charge of keeping the store functioning, I'd get very different results. If wishes were bicycles, we would all have rides. And this ride is all downhill for Anthony Weiner.
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