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And apparently he roomed with Jon Stewart in Colledge
March 31, 2011 7:02 AM   Subscribe

New York State Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) did an IAMA (I Am A Democrat Who Fights) Q and A on reddit last week. While he answered many questions, he responded to the top five most popular questions questions in video form.

Congressman Weiner's Voting Record so far

More info
posted by The Whelk (54 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
What I wouldn't do for a thousand Anthony Weiners.
posted by cavalier at 7:05 AM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


thats what she said
posted by wheelieman at 7:10 AM on March 31, 2011 [25 favorites]


On topic, its great to see legislators interact with people online, now if they just LISTENED.
posted by wheelieman at 7:14 AM on March 31, 2011


How much room was on that ledge?
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:16 AM on March 31, 2011


WEINER!
posted by bicyclefish at 7:18 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see that you have tagged this thread with 'marijuana.' Weiner was asked if he supported legalization. Here's how he responded:
nope i dont.

stay off drugs kids. and stay in school.
Link.
posted by grobstein at 7:19 AM on March 31, 2011


Yeah that drug response was disappointing. Even a more thought out denial/rebuttal would have been welcome.
posted by The Thnikkaman at 7:21 AM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Even a more thought out denial/rebuttal would have been welcome.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like a sad state of affairs that I was impressed that he even stated his opinion so straightforwardly. None of the wishy-washy "we should explore all options and work together... shift the paradigms" bullshit we normally hear.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:29 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


shoves cloth in bottle of spirits. Flicks lighter.

Hey you guys know he's anti-NYC bike lane right?

tosses molotov cocktail. runs away.
posted by JPD at 7:29 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was encouraging, even if only at a rhetorical level.

As for the marijuana question, I'm disappointed by his position, but can understand why he flippantly dismisses it. The issue can be a real distraction. It's like carrying the hippie flag. Given his other "big issues" this seems like a small one, especially as many states are figuring this question out on their own.
posted by scelerat at 7:31 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I quite like Anthony Weiner, and yet disagreed with almost everything he said in that video.

That said. I still like the guy. He gave very straightforward answers, and kept to his word of reading and answering all 5 questions, including that one highly-charged one about Israel.

I also really, strongly oppose the idea of Weiner as NYC mayor. He's got some very odd ideas about transportation, and is more or less the strongest Democratic presence in the House at the moment, which would be a crying shame to lose. His style of politics works very well in the House, especially as a member of the minority party. I'm not sure they'd be particularly great for the Mayor's office.

Also, minor correction to the title of this story: Weiner lived with Stewart in New York City after the two of them graduated from separate colleges. Weiner went to SUNY Plattsburgh; Stewart went to William & Mary, and lived in the room across the hall from me (albeit 25 years earlier). Evidently his former roommates are Not Fans.

posted by schmod at 7:32 AM on March 31, 2011


Wow, that response to the marijuana legalization question was like the very definition of a cop out.
posted by windbox at 7:34 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


How so? A cop-out usually means you gave a non-answer, or dodged the question somehow.
posted by Aquaman at 7:36 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Schmod - not only that but in order for him to win the democratic nomination for mayor he needs to get every white middle class vote in the outerboroughs - and the one issue that always resonantes there is cars over transit and bikes. That's part of why his transport stuff is so out of whack with his other views.
posted by JPD at 7:37 AM on March 31, 2011


What if legalized drugs were distributed in schools? Then you wouldn't have to worry about kids staying in schools.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:37 AM on March 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Stewart went to William & Mary, and lived in the room across the hall from me (albeit 25 years earlier). Evidently his former roommates are Not Fans.

*rests chin in palms*

GO ON.......
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on March 31, 2011 [25 favorites]


There's a lot to like about Anthony Weiner ( not the least of which is his passionate outbursts on the House floor calling bullshit on the GOP) but as several posters have already noted, he is not necessarily the new Great Liberal Hope, either. Just because he's right on issues A,B & C that you care about doesn't mean issues D thru Z automatically follow. FWIW, my friend describes him as the Shouty version of Chuck Schumer (who he worked for ). Make of that what you will.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:47 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


It bugs me that marijuana legalization is always a top voted question (wasn't it number 1 on Obama's?) on user generated questionnaires yet still so flippantly dismissed time after time. I can't wait until it isn't considered political suicide to support legalization. Left wing centrism is neutering the party.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 7:48 AM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


my friend describes him as the Shouty version of Chuck Schumer

so the most dangerous place in DC for a Ligyrophobe is between Weiner and a camera?
posted by JPD at 7:50 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


How so? A cop-out usually means you gave a non-answer, or dodged the question somehow.

Because the question was "Do you think its time to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and what do you feel about the War on Drugs in general?"

"Stay off drugs kids" is not a fair answer to that question.
posted by windbox at 8:08 AM on March 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Style over substance on many issues. Certainly, I like his willingness to speak out anywhere, anytime. I do think he has some curious ideas. A little too much snark for my taste. It does seem as if he would be the Ed Koch 2.0 version if elected Mayor. It is hard for me as an old folk to follow the conversation on Reddit, but I am pretty sure he said his bike lane comment was a joke told to Bloomberg. He did not address the over $2,000 in unpaid parking fines he ran up in DC recently and then paid hastily when confronted on it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:14 AM on March 31, 2011


It also diminishes the voters and citizens who care about this question to call them "kids." And it diminishes the gravity of the issue.
posted by grobstein at 8:16 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


> "Stay off drugs kids" is not a fair answer to that question.

"nope i dont" is, though.
posted by davelog at 8:17 AM on March 31, 2011


Because he is not perfect, let us criticize him!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:19 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


FWIW, my friend describes him as the Shouty version of Chuck Schumer.

Well, if your friend says so . . .

Hey you guys know he's anti-NYC bike lane right?

He addresses bike lanes in the linked Q&A. Here is what he says:

Q:Why did you tell Bloomberg that if elected mayor the first thing you'd do is rip out the bike lanes?

RepAnthonyWeiner [S] 206 points 7 days ago[-]
first it was a joke. but it make the story because we now have open and unnecessary warfare over bike lanes.
its a false choice : bike lanes and true civic planning.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 8:20 AM on March 31, 2011


What I wouldn't do for a thousand Anthony Weiners.

Wouldn't you settle for 435 + 100?

(or really even just 218 + 51... or 60 with filibuster)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:24 AM on March 31, 2011


ultraviolet catastrophe - he can say it was a joke. It wasn't a joke - he knows the electoral math for mayor of NYC better than anyone. He has to say it was a joke if he wants to be "cool", but when he's canvassing in Douglaston or Whitestone you'd better damn well believe he's all for keep tolls off the east river crossings and not building out bike lanes.
posted by JPD at 8:29 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


FWIW, my friend describes him as the Shouty version of Chuck Schumer.

In person, Schumer comes off more as a populist. Weiner comes across more as a real life version of the pre-mayor Tommy Carcetti.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:31 AM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


He's got some liberal positions and some not so liberal positions, I don't necessarily think that any of his answers were inherently bad but I would've liked to see more nuance in regards to both the Israel and Drug Legalization questions.

For instance if he said that he has issues with how drug policy disadvantages sectors of the populace and he would be in favor of some de-criminalization if not legalization of marijuana then I think that would be a solid position that wouldn't harm you in the next election.

Going full out in favor of legalization would be extremely harmful to his re-election chances (unless his district is unbelievably liberal) and I'd rather have someone who is liberal on some issues than someone who is conservative on all issues.

The Israel answer was moderately nuanced, I'm not sure it's really possible to completely abandon the AIPAC talking points when it comes to Palestine as an elected official but it would be nice to get beyond this vague ephemeral understanding of a two-state solution somewhere down the road when it's abundantly clear that the two sides negotiating don't have similar levels of negotiating power.
posted by vuron at 8:38 AM on March 31, 2011


RepAnthonyWeiner [S] 206 points 7 days ago[-]
first it was a joke. but it make the story because we now have open and unnecessary warfare over bike lanes.
its a false choice : bike lanes and true civic planning.


Oh, hey. It was a joke, which though certainly non unusual for Weiner, does hint at one of the potential pitfalls of his personality in a political environment.

Everybody will remember the "rip out the bike lanes" comment. Nobody will remember the more nuanced answer.

This sort of resonates with Obama's big problem. He's not quotable at all -- if asked with any sort of tough question, he (correctly, IMO) answers "That's a very complicated issue, and we need qualified individuals to research it and come up with an appropriate solution." This does not make for good headlines, and on the odd occasion that he does say something off-the-cuff, the media jumps all over it.

And, really. Have you ever driven in the outer boroughs? Anything that can be done to get people out of cars out there is a good idea. The population is increasing, there's no room for more roads, and the existing roads (which are narrow, poorly maintained, and probably designed for horses) are jam-packed 99% of the time. Good urban planning (which bike lanes are a part of) is necessary to make those areas act more like the urban areas that they are, and less like sprawling suburbs.
posted by schmod at 8:57 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


he is not necessarily the new Great Liberal Hope

There is no Great Liberal Hope. There never was a Great Liberal Hope. There never will be a Great Liberal Hope.

There will only ever be cynical power-grabbing assholes who happen to support some liberal policies because they help them get elected. It has ever been thus, it will always be thus. Please stop looking for a messiah and start voting for the cynical son of a bitch that has to do what you want him to do to get elected.
posted by empath at 9:00 AM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


I love Anthony Weiner. In so many ways he is everything that a politician should be. There are issues on which I disagree with him but the impression that I get is that he would listen to a well reasoned argument an is open to changing his position. More than anything else, he seems passionate about governing well.

If every politician was like that, parties would become almost meaningless, we could elect people based on how well qualified they are and not worry as much about their stance on the issues.

I think that if they didn't have to pander to big business to get the big business dollars to fund their campaigns, people with attitudes like his would get elected a lot more often.
posted by VTX at 9:04 AM on March 31, 2011


I'm upset to know that he's aiming to be Mayor, because I want that man in the House for as long as possible.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:06 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


vuron: " The Israel answer was moderately nuanced, I'm not sure it's really possible to completely abandon the AIPAC talking points when it comes to Palestine as an elected official but it would be nice to get beyond this vague ephemeral understanding of a two-state solution somewhere down the road when it's abundantly clear that the two sides negotiating don't have similar levels of negotiating power."

He's not using AIPAC talking points, however they may incidentally coincide. They're clearly how he feels about the situation. He's always been very hawkish about supporting Israel. The man introduced legislation which tried to ban aid to the Palestinians in '06 on the grounds that they vote for and are led by terrorists in Hamas, Fatah and the PLO. This has been an ongoing theme for him for years, in multiple television and radio appearances, stump speeches and town hall meetings.

The only people who are ever surprised by this are those who are unfamiliar with his position on the issue.
posted by zarq at 9:16 AM on March 31, 2011


His positions vis-a-vis Israel definitely sound heartfelt and I agree that they are definitely pretty hawkish, I just wonder if the eventual push towards a two-state solution is going to have to happen as a result of outspoken supporters of Israel (and parties within Israel) understanding and speaking up about the current status quo not being sustainable. Otherwise we seem to be tacitly encouraging continual deadlock and risk escalating tensions with other parties in the Middle East.
posted by vuron at 9:30 AM on March 31, 2011


I really appreciated the straight answer on marijuana legalization. I happen to agree, so there's that...but ultimately he gave a straight, flat answer, and that's a lot better than you'd get from a lot of other politicians regardless of their actual stance.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:41 AM on March 31, 2011


empath: There is no Great Liberal Hope. There never was a Great Liberal Hope. There never will be a Great Liberal Hope.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_V._Debs
posted by willie11 at 9:55 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


There never will be a Great Liberal Hope.

Obama?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:57 AM on March 31, 2011


Anthony Weiner’s Five Best Jokes at the Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner
posted by nicwolff at 9:58 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really appreciated the straight answer on marijuana legalization. I happen to agree, so there's that...but ultimately he gave a straight, flat answer, and that's a lot better than you'd get from a lot of other politicians regardless of their actual stance.

It's the only answer you get from politicians these days because elaborating any further on your unsupported opinion-based negative invariably shows how it is an unsupportable position. Up North, the best Harper could come up with to the question about marijuana is "drugs are illegal because they are bad" (his exact words! Like he's a daddy talking to toddlers!) and then went on some screed about how "drugs" support terrorists and the like. As if they're all the same, and anyone in Canada is importing pot from the Taliban.
posted by Hoopo at 9:58 AM on March 31, 2011


vuron: "His positions vis-a-vis Israel definitely sound heartfelt and I agree that they are definitely pretty hawkish, I just wonder if the eventual push towards a two-state solution is going to have to happen as a result of outspoken supporters of Israel (and parties within Israel) understanding and speaking up about the current status quo not being sustainable. Otherwise we seem to be tacitly encouraging continual deadlock and risk escalating tensions with other parties in the Middle East."

Peace and a functioning/viable two-state solution are going to require a major shift away from the hawks on both sides in favor of more rational players. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening any time soon.

There's a wonderful lobbying organization called J-Street which is pushing a peaceful solution that is being vilified by the right wing. They're doing a lot of positive work and speaking to influential politicians in both the American and Israeli governments, but they don't seem to be having much of an effect. No one seems to be taking them seriously. I believe the reason for this is that they're not making a convincing case that Palestinian statehood will be safer for Israelis than the current situation. Right now, Israel can restrict the flow of arms and dangerous goods into Palestinian territory and keep a close eye on things in Gaza and the West Bank. This ostensibly helps keep things from exploding into a massive conflagration.

Until someone makes a convincing argument to both the Israelis and to American Jewry that a Palestinian state will create more of a guarantee for Israel's long-term safety than the current situation, the hawks will fight tooth and nail against it.
posted by zarq at 10:04 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It bugs me that marijuana legalization is always a top voted question

I think the War on Drugs is very important and reform is needed. That said, its the top questions because of reddit's demographic. I don't think it weighs on people as much as it does to the high school/college crowd and its attending identity politics. I'm also uncertain if the political capital exists outside of groups that are notorious for not voting, protest voting, or only voting during presidential elections. There seems to be a broad agreement that this issue is too hot to touch for most politicians. I'm not sure how true that is considering how popular decriminalization is. At the very least the politicians probably think that there's so little for them to gain by this and a lot to lose, especially when a lot of pro-drug people I know often add coke, meth, acid, ecstacy, painkillers, etc into this instead of strictly pot decrim. The libertarian bent that is attached to drug reform has really hurt it. Instead of a liberal relaxing, the movement is characterized equally by liberal types and Ayn Rand/Ron Paul types. I don't see how adding extremist conservatives is helping the cause.

I suspect that once we get proper campaign reform a lot of these issues will be easier to approach. Weiner's big on subsidized campaigns. Once we get that, then our politicians won't have to fear the money spigot getting cut off as much. Weiner is right about money in politics. Being ruled by 400 billionaire families is a sub-optimal government.

Then again, we aren't getting campaign reform with this SCOTUS. Maybe after a few them die off. 2020? 2030? This is going to be a long wait.

Also, no caps in the original reddit IAMA? Ugh, its like Congressman Teenager lazily texted us her thoughts on her iphone between lacrosse practice and watching The Hills.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:17 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Libertarianism is a very important strain of American politics, even if those who identify as libertarian are marginal. For example, the dominant framing of the "pro-choice" position on abortion rights is radically libertarian: a woman has a right to control her body, and this right is so important that the fetus is simply irrelevant. Libertarian framings of economic issues are common and powerful as well.

I don't see any evidence that libertarian support for drug reform has hurt it. Support for legalization has ballooned in recent years, and state drug policy has liberalized dramatically, in ways that would hardly have been imaginable 10 years ago. National politicians haven't opened their eyes yet, but there sure is a lot of momentum. Much easier to conclude that libertarians have kept the anti-War on Drugs torch burning through the long darkness, and helped light the way for the changes we're now seeing in policy and public opinion.

I don't buy that politicians are scared off by hardliners who insist on legalizing crack cocaine. The number of people who would be vociferously disappointed by legalizing only marijuana is tiny. Politicians are scared of conservative voters, and of other politicians who will paint them as soft as crime and eat their lunches. Hopefully this will change.
posted by grobstein at 10:44 AM on March 31, 2011


Here's Weiner at the Congressional Press Correspondents Dinner
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:51 AM on March 31, 2011


There never was a Great Liberal Hope.

Huey Long.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:12 AM on March 31, 2011


For example, the dominant framing of the "pro-choice" position on abortion rights is radically libertarian:

That's the nice part of being a libertarain. You can pick and choose liberal policies and say "Oh that's really a libertarian policy, even though the justifications, activists, and world-wide agreement on the leaning of that issue are considered liberal." The idea that legal abortion is this ultraconservative position is ridiculous on its face. Its "libertarian" in the most dry academic sense possible, but its supporters in general were not libertarian party members and don't typically identify with conservatism or libertarianism.

If anything, any libertarian gains aren't done remotely by libertarians, but by liberals whose views coincide with libertarians. Ultra-right wing activism of "stop the government from banning anything drug related" of the libertarian sense only hurts drug reform.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:13 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did I say that legal abortion is an "ultraconservative" policy? No. I didn't even say it was "a libertarian policy," although that's what you're attributing to me. I did not try to attribute the successes of the pro-choice movement to "libertarian party members." I specifically disclaimed talking about people who identify as libertarian. I was talking about libertarian strains in political rhetoric, which are common in both parties and across the political spectrum, and strikingly in the rhetoric of the most steadfast pro-choicers. These arguments are everywhere because people find them appealing.

Your zeal for chalking up points to your team has prevented you from reading my comment. You don't have to read it, of course, but take your dismissive tribal flagwaving somewhere else.
posted by grobstein at 11:28 AM on March 31, 2011


Essentially, your libertarian defense is meaningless. "Dominant framing?" Puh-lease. Anyone weasel words? You took to my criticism of the libertarian defense of legalization pretty quickly, but when I pressed you on what libertarians have actually done all you can do is act offended. Sorry, but libertarianism is ultraconservatism and their role in the decrim/legalization is nothing but a hinderance.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:02 PM on March 31, 2011


"Weasel words"? Are you saying it doesn't matter how people discuss abortion? Or are you disagreeing with my characterization of how they are discussed and argued for? On either score you'd be insane.

If I was playing this game with you, arguing over whether the "libertarian" or the "liberal" team deserved more cookies, some of your arguments would be on point. But I'm not. You're looking for something to fight over and you're lowering the tenor of this discussion. You want to lay into "libertarianism," and the details don't much matter.

Anyway I have run out of curiosity about you and your beliefs, and you have not shown any interest in mine. Goodbye.
posted by grobstein at 12:30 PM on March 31, 2011


I am turned off by his lack of regard for punctuation and capitalization. Is that wrong of me?
posted by ego at 1:19 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama is more a Great Non-Bush Hope. He campaigned as a centrist who was fairly conservative in some areas.

I think his biggest advantage was that Democrats didn't have the GOP candidates' problem of having to both distance themselves from George W. Bush while also not alienating the voters who still liked him.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:16 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I write him secret love letters on my tumblr. I don't agree with everything he says, but I love that man.
posted by nile_red at 8:06 PM on March 31, 2011


Re: his marijuana legalization answer...

C'mon, that was just brilliant. I mean, "stay in school"?

What I heard was "Yes, you are absolutely right. The marijuana debate in this country is ill-informed and juvenile and has nothing to do with facts. This, however, is not the hill upon which I am willing to die at this time. Stay in school kids. Next question."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:02 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Weiner's answer to the legalization question hasn't actually been quoted here so far, here it is:

"I'm not in favor of that. Don't smoke, stay off drugs, and stay in school kids."

That's an entirely legitimate answer to the question, combined with a couple of followup truisms that are each a piece of perfectly sound advice.

I don't agree with him 2 of those four statements, but I'm satisfied with his answer. That's where he stands on the issue, no dicking around. You gotta respect that.
posted by Aquaman at 1:19 PM on April 1, 2011


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