The PJ Tatler

Weinergate: Following the jokes, the political implications

Politics may be the most jealous industry outside catwalk modeling. Electeds can and frequently do sharpen their knives to slice and gut rivals, regardless of party. And at times, they can even seek alliances with people in the other party in order to knife those they despise within their own party. Happens all the time. Throw in the fact that Anthony Weiner is known to be interested in the job of New York mayor, a job that hundreds of other New York Democrats are also interested in, and throw in the fact that Weiner has made something of a media star out of himself over the past year or two, and you have a recipe for massive jealousy. Now that Weiner is being roasted, that jealously is curdling into a heaping helping of schadenfreude.

“How much schadenfreude is happening because of this? A lot,” said one Democratic staffer. “In the delegation the level of jealousy of what he’s gotten out of the media is so high – it’s the subject of constant conversation.”

The staffer speculated on what Democrats widely see as an ill-judged cable news tour today: “He thinks he owns you guys.”

So there won’t be any mourning and gnashing of teeth among NY Dems if Weiner burns. If he burns, there is a possibility that his grilling might just offset the after effects of a similar, if less funny, Republican scandal when Rep. Christopher Lee had to resign after sending a shirtless pic of himself to a woman. He got replaced by a Dem in a special election. Hotline says it’s possible that Weiner might get replaced by a Republican.

While Weiner represents a New York City district that’s conventionally thought to be safely Democratic, in reality it has trended sharply in a Republican direction in recent years. If Weiner stepped down from Congress, Republicans would have a realistic shot at putting it in play.

Weiner’s district, spanning mostly white neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, trended more Republican than any other district in the country from the 2000 to the 2008 presidential election. Al Gore carried the district in a landslide, winning 67 percent of the vote. But it gave John Kerry just 56 percent of the vote in 2004, a striking 11 point dip.

In ’08, Hotline says Weiner won with 59 percent (which they describe as “limp”), because the Republican was underfunded. A good well-funded candidate, combined with a roasted Weiner, though…? Winning Weiner’s seat is not unthinkable.

And don’t miss the videos of Weiner’s disastrous media tour here