Anthony Weiner’s persistence in running for mayor of New York City reminds us of other folks who have sought political office.
This is not to say these people behaved as mischievously as Weiner admits that he has, but they were equally unable to grasp the fact that the voting public wanted no more of them.
Some names come to mind, including that of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche. Melvin Perkins, who was referred to by Newsweek Magazine as “the skid row candidate,” ran several times against the late Maryland Rep. Goodloe Byron.
Some candidates are elected to office simply because nobody knows who they are, and the voters think they might bring a breath of fresh air. It happens here, and sometimes the voters actually are rewarded with that result.
Too often, though, the people are left shaking their heads and wondering what they have done to themselves. Fortunately, in a democracy like ours, the unsatisfactory results of one election can always be repaired the next time around.
Having once been elected, some folks try again — and lose. Undeterred, they run again the next time. And again. And again. Each time, they receive fewer votes. The message sent to them was simple: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” but it doesn’t get across.
Holding public office may be as addictive to some people as alcohol, tobacco, narcotics and, apparently, sending naughty messages via smartphone are to others (such phones frequently are smarter than the humans who use them). Apparently they cannot conceive of the possibility that the public might be able to live without them.
There are times when the choice of candidates leaves a lot to be desired. There was so much corruption in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that Cacareco, a rhinoceros in the city zoo, was elected mayor as a write-in protest candidate in 1958. Sadly, he was not allowed to take office.
Given the choice of Cacareco or Anthony Weiner, we’d vote for the rhinoceros.