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Belmont Club

Absorbing State

July 24th, 2013 - 3:37 am

In the mathematical theory of probability, an absorbing Markov chain is a Markov chain in which every state can reach an absorbing state. An absorbing state is a state that, once entered, cannot be left.

We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave. — Hotel California

At a dinner party in Washington DC two months ago, someone said to me, “with a name like Weiner there is no way he’ll be elected mayor of New York city”. You would think so, but until he imploded for the second time someone named Weiner was actually a front-runner for the NYC mayoralty race. “Give me another chance,” he said, in an CBS news story after being caught sending an unclothed selfie of himself to a young lady. And he might just get a second chance. Mark Steyn wonders how this can happen. The Weiner lines just write themselves and Steyn supplies the links.

“I’m not going to get into a back and forth,” he [Weiner] told a journalist. Au contraire, he’s happy to get into a back and forth for hours on end (warning: Not safe for work).

“This was something in front of us that we knew might come up,” he said. You can say that again (warning: Even less safe for work).

These “sexts” and “selfies” are from less than a year ago. I link to them not because of their literary or artistic quality but because the euphemistic gentility of the American media serves to protect Weiner. If you watch Wolf Blitzer talking about it with Gloria Borger and Dana Bash on CNN, you would never know that the likely next Mayor of New York is a man who photographs his penis and emails it to strangers.

But notwithstanding the absurdity of it all he may still pull it off. But it’s not Anthony Weiner that needs explaining. After all,  a candidate will try to get elected any way he can. The mystery is why the Democratic electorate keeps giving him another chance. The lady recipient of his anatomical pictures explained the matter succinctly. “Rep Weiner can continue sending dick pics every single day of his life as long as he continues to legislate like he does. I decided.”

She decided the price was right. The abject of his affections is apparently a “field organizer for Obama” who covets a job at Politico that Weiner promised her.

Weiner’s shortcomings are supposed to be  hurting even Eliot Spitzer, who also leads in polls. It’s tainting him because “Spitzer” is apparently the first person that comes to mind in free association with “Weiner”. Although Spitzer is running for another office, “whether or not they like it, they’re a ticket,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics.  Yes they’re an item. They’re both running for the “hold my beer” award for the year.

But notoriety might even work in his favor. “It’s like he’s the Kim Kardashian of politics right now,” says McLaughlin. Like it or now that is how things work — make a sex tape of yourself and get rich. Why should politics be any different?  Why should Weiner give an inch? The political system will apparently elect a ham sandwich — it will do anything — if the right persons “sent” you. Weiner’s “wife Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, tapped into her gilded Rolodex of Clinton supporters to raise nearly $150,000 in the last two months for Weiner’s mayoral campaign, new financial disclosure reports show.”

A weiner never quits because a quitter never … well you know.

Weiner and Spitzer would not be the first candidates elected to office despite their notoriety. Kwame Kilpatrick was re-elected Mayor of Detroit despite being known as the “worst mayor in America”.  When Kilpatrick finally left office, it not because he was voted out of office by the good people of Detroit, but “following a guilty plea to two felonies for obstruction of justice.”

The re-election of such candidates is often ascribed to the existence of political machines. Political machines ensure that the given candidate wins, no matter who or what the given candidate may be.

George Kibbe Turner argues that such machines, once established, are never actually toppled by reform. They are only broken by demographic or structural change. “In 1894 a catastrophe overtook the Democratic party of New York. For the first time since the Civil War the city elected a Republican mayor. The overturn was attributed directly to the disclosures of police scandals by the Lexow investigation. But the real underlying cause was a deeper thing; a great racial change in the population of the city had turned against Tammany Hall the natural balance of voting power by which the Democratic party had held the city.”

This lesson has been deeply learned by politicians. “Who controls demographics controls city hall. Who controls city hall controls demographics.” The only way the parasite perishes is if the host mutates or dies.


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Top Rated Comments   
Elagabulus got to be Emperor, didn't he?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marion Barry got reelected mayor of DC. After serving time for a drug conviction. Democrats will forgive anything, except for being a decent, honorable person (see, Palin, Sarah.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Now picture Richard M. Daley as The Boss and Barack Obama as McGinty. The Clintons were trying to co-opt the Daley Machine, so Daley anoints Obama for President. Why? Because presidents come and go, but the Machine lives forever. So he would rather have Obama than Hillary. He puts his minders in the White House, Rahmbo, Bill Daley, Valerie Jarrett etc. to pull the strings.

Obama is passé. The Clintons are now trying the Hillary in 2016 pitch, but she has no chance. Does anyone still remember the PUMAs? She is just another enabling battered wife, like Huma Abedin.

I could almost Abedin say yesterday, "At this point, what difference does it make?"

The cash flow means more than who's in charge. Which is why the Republicans in the House need to keep a tight grip on the purse strings.

IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (31)
All Comments   (31)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
You have to wonder who wears the pants in the family. Antony's fascination with cameras would seem to indicate that he doesn't wear them too often. I cant' help wondering what having an advocate for the muslim brotherhood would do? Is that "Victory Mosque" moving along fast enough? If there are suddenly 100,000 Syrian boat refugees who is going to create a new barrio? "Little Syria?"

Huma could help her causes a lot, after all she had Shrillary pretty well trained.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is in the best interest of citizens inhabiting any place controlled by the left to elect evil characters who cannot control themselves than to elect the ones who can.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Spitzer is a weenie.

Weiner pulls boners.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"But notwithstanding the absurdity of it all he [Weiner] may still pull it off. But it’s not Anthony Weiner that needs explaining... The mystery is why the Democratic electorate keeps giving him another chance."

Some people will always be willing to lick the hand that feeds them - even the hand of a tyrant.

"If ye love...the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you..." Samuel Adams
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ewwww! And they even know where those hands have been.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"This lesson has been deeply learned by politicians. “Who controls demographics controls city hall. Who controls city hall controls demographics.” The only way the parasite perishes is if the host mutates or dies."

This would be a version of the "Curley Effect". This does work to maintain the power of the class that is controlling the demographics but it has costs which limit the growth of the City. Doing this makes the politician[s] the big frogs in a pond that is constantly shrinking in size compared to Cities that do not control their demographics. In the end they all mutate or die.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think Anthony Weiner is trying to commit political suicide. He is trying to sabotage his own career. Perhaps he could try shoplifting – that usually ends a political career. The problem Anthony Weiner faces is that he has a politically ambitious wife. Of course, she couldn't get elected to high office, but with a man such as Anthony Weiner as a husband, she doesn't have to. All she needs to do is help him get elected.

I get the feeling that Anthony Weiner doesn't want to be in politics, but he's trapped. I get the feeling that Anthony Weiner wants to screw up his life, but other people won't let him. He's trapped within a marriage, trapped within a political culture, and quite possibly trapped within a constituency that wants him to succeed – only he doesn't.

There are people like that, people who will do everything within their power to make sure they fail. Imagine the discomfort such a man would feel when he wins despite himself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nonsense. If he really wanted to do that, all he would have to do is re-brand himself as a conservative.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It wouldn't work. I doubt Anthony Weiner would know how to portray himself as a conservative if he tried. He wouldn't even be a convincing neoconservative. He would be more likely to rebrand himself as a Communist or convert to Islam than to become one of those “evil neoconservatives”.

I think he is a true believer in trendy liberalism who feels emasculated by machine politics. He wants to believe in what he is doing and part of him really does. Another part of himself wants to fail – this part of him wants to humiliate himself in public and make a spectacle of himself. His apparent masochism conforms to a pattern of someone who has gotten himself into something he doesn't feel comfortable with.

Whose decision was it for Anthony Weiner to run for mayor of New York? Maybe it was his alone, but I doubt it. His wife, Huma Abedin, is very ambitious. It would be difficult for me to imagine how she could marry him without either breaking Islamic law or her husband secretly converting to Islam.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Elagabulus got to be Emperor, didn't he?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I miss Mayor Sam Yorty of Los Angeles, whose main political attribute was playing the banjo. That was fifty years ago. Yet we just termed out Mayor Villaraigosa, whose main political attributes are cutting ribbons and sitting courtside at Lakers games. When you're electing figureheads (and as a matter of law the office of mayor in Los Angeles has few real powers or duties), your selection criteria is "different".

And I guess in this media age, much of the electorate just doesn't really take any of it seriously, it's all American Idol where the winners tend to be the most mediocre, and anything not actually on stage and in the performance is considered irrelevant, whether it's weiner tweeting or writing actionable legislation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marion Barry got reelected mayor of DC. After serving time for a drug conviction. Democrats will forgive anything, except for being a decent, honorable person (see, Palin, Sarah.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think NYC should devolve back to a confederation of towns that the burroughs once were, each with its own mayor. Some burroughs would make saner decisions than others, especially Staten Island.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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