Belmont Club

Absorbing State

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.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific

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