With the notable exception of the pain in the ass who demanded this reporter stop taking pictures, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s visit to Riverdale’s Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club Tuesday night was a light-hearted affair. The normally stiff Weiner, who barring some cataclysmic event will oppose Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2009, was actually loose and even funny at times as he discussed the recent collusion between Bloomberg and the City Council to change the term limit laws.
Weiner mocked the Mayor’s justifications for the overturn:
“I don’t know why we’re so sure we’re going to have elections in 2009,” he said somberly, pausing for effect. “Why? It might be a tough financial time. It might be really challenging. Elections are expensive. You’ve got to wheel those machines in,” he said to growing laughter. “And Lord knows, we cannot live, I cannot go on, unless I get a chance to vote for Mike Nelson and Melinda Katz.”
(Katz and Nelson are two of the Council’s less consequential members.)
But seriously, folks: Weiner went on to declare the City Council and Bloomberg had lost the moral authority to govern when they put their own political ambitions above the citizenry, who had twice affirmed the two-term limit at the ballot box.
“When you do that, it begs the question, ‘Why have elections to begin with? Why have a referendum in the first place?” asked Weiner.
In closing he was downright grim (though still loose!), warning that future New Yorkers would look on the term limit kerfuffle of 2008 with disgust. “Somehow we can be trusted to vote for elected officials,” he said, “but we can’t be trusted to vote on term limits… because they’re smarter than us. We’re only smart enough to vote for our own elected officials, we’re not smart enough to vote on anything else.”