Published June 07, 2011
Sheepshead Bay, N.Y. – While officials within the Washington Beltway are deserting Rep. Anthony Weiner as he tries to weather a racy Twitter photo scandal, some local politicians and constituents in the New York City Democrat's congressional district are willing to give the disgraced lawmaker a second chance.
New York State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, who shares an office with Weiner in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay, said much depends on the outcome of the congressional ethics inquiry that the lawmaker faces. But Cymbrowitz said Weiner can regain support because, although he lied, he admitted he was wrong.
“It was not a smart move to lie,” Cymbrowitz said. “But I think if he appeals to human frailty and reminds people of his track record of being a hard worker, he could get elected again.”
New York City Councilman Lew Fidler, a Democrat whose district overlaps with Weiner’s, echoed such sentiments. He said through a spokeswoman that Weiner's political obituary has yet to be written.
What support remains for Weiner in his district goes beyond political leaders. Erving "Blitz" Bilzinsky, who lives in Sheepshead Bay, said Weiner should battle through the controversy.
"We all have things we're not proud of hanging in our closet," he said on his way into El Greco diner. "If his wife can forgive him, I can, too."
Such local support seems to run counter to much of the reaction nationally. Just moments after Weiner’s news conference in which he admitted that he sent a lewd picture of himself to a woman over Twitter, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said she would refer the matter to an ethics panel to investigate any potential wrongdoing.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., shunned Weiner, telling reporters, “I wish I could defend him, but I cannot.”
Republicans in Congress have called for Weiner to resign.
There are some in Weiner’s district unhappy with him, too.
Kenneth Wexler, a Weiner constituent in Brooklyn, arrived at the congressman's Sheepshead Bay office Tuesday morning to post a sign there urging Weiner to resign.
"He employed the Clinton blame-the-vast-right-wing-conspiracy policy and it backfired," Wexler said. "If he had any kind of self respect, he'd resign. But I don't see that happening."
But Mike Geller, a district leader in the area who has known Weiner for years, remembers him as a politician who “made grandmothers fall in love with him” and who knew how to win elections.
Even so, he thinks Weiner should be looking for a career change.
“It’s a mistake if he carries on,” Geller said. “Take a vacation, regroup with your family, write a New York Times bestseller, be a network correspondent. And have a baby and name him Burger.”