And the debate only grew louder once Weiner entered the race, causing a media frenzy among local political pontificators and reporters across the city, even across the nation. And Weiner has his supporters and his detractors.
Some are willing to overlook his past transgressions as a personal matter between him and his wife, and, really, in the big picture of political scandals what Weiner did is pretty insignificant. He never took a bribe or actually had a physical affair like former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, which didn't stop voters in that state from electing him to Congress earlier this month.
No, where Weiner really screwed up was skirting the questions and lying about whether or not it was him in the photos, first concocting a story that his Twitter account had been hacked only to be forced to fess up later.
On the other hand, a sampling of some of this year's attendees at the Memorial Day Parade in Forest Hills, a neighborhood Weiner once called home, found that many aren't comfortable with Weiner attempting a return to public office.
And just this week, some of his former colleagues, including Congressman Joseph Crowley whose Queens Democratic Party endorsed Speaker Christine Quinn for the job, went on the record stating that 400 days is too soon for Weiner to return to politics.
Which is all to lead us up to quite possibly the most unusual criticism of Weiner and one that caught us completely off guard. Last week, we received an email from something called “Gennaro for New York,” and when we opened it we found a message from Councilman James Gennaro of Queens urging Weiner to drop his bid for mayor for the “good of the city.”
And this wasn't just some terse statement, this was a finely crafted, 840-word message from Gennaro calling on Weiner to abandon his campaign. Here's part of what Gennaro wrote:
I believe his entry in the race would be a terrible distraction from the important issues that should be discussed in this campaign and from candidates who actually are qualified to be mayor.
Worse, I don’t believe Mr. Weiner is even entering the race with the intention of winning and serving. Rather, instead of service to the city being his objective, I believe his entry into the race would, by his own admission in recent interviews I have read, be about him; his redemption; him being able to put the sexting scandal behind him.
Now, we're not exactly what kind of sway Gennaro has over the thinking of Weiner, but we're pretty sure Weiner's decision wasn't hinging on whether or not Councilman James Gennaro was going to support him.
Nor do we think that Gennaro cared about this issue so much that he would write 840 words on the subject. Which isn't to say that we don't think he's sincere, just that he went to a lot of effort to make his opinion known on the issue when, seemingly, nobody really asked him for it.
We actually think this might have been something cooked up in part by the Quinn camp, enlisting a trusted City Council ally to say many of the things the Quinn campaign would like to say, but avoiding all of the inevitable follow-up from reporters. Do you have any idea how many times Quinn would get asked by reporters to clarify her statement about Weiner's personal “redemption” on the campaign trail?
And that's only scratching the surface of some of Gennaro's allegations, including a sarcastic remark about it being Weiner's right to run, as well as take $1.5 million in matching funds from taxpayers to pay for his personal redemption. If Quinn said those things she would never get to talk about the real issues ever again.
Plus, we've been told that once his City Council term is up this year, Gennaro is going to retire from politics, so he doesn't really have much to lose in the sense of political capital by bashing Weiner.
Of course this is all speculation, but whatever the motives it made for an entertaining read.