My new job is great because I get to spend a lot of time with local Queens politicians and I’m beginning to get to know them really well. My IPhone is chock full of cell phone numbers for State Senators, Assemblymen and Councilmen. Today I went to Anthony Weiner’s Queens office…I am doing a story about volunteer ambulance corps in Queens. After the press event at his office, the Congressman gathered his bags and began heading out to DC
We ended up in the same elevator and had a short, but candidate conversation about heathcare. Weiner is known for not being a compromiser, for being one of those shit-flingers I mentioned before, but when his back is against the wall, Weiner has compromised in the past and has voted against the liberals (see Iraq War)
He’s not optimistic there will be a bill at all. He thinks Coakley wlll lose today and he think the votes for the Senate bill aren’t there in the House and not because liberals won’t swallow the bill, but conservatives will run for the hills. he also expects a “breaking dam” of retirements if Brown wins.
he thinks the House majority will be lost unless unemployment kicks down, to which he said “much of that is beyond our control.” He mentioned a jobs bill but said “it would only be a drop in the bucket.” He mentioned that a WPA-style system wouldn’t really work now because “you’re not going to get a former public relations executive to build a high-speed rail line in Missouri”
I asked him how he thinks this happened and he said it happened because “we have to defend ourselves 100 times as hard as the right does” and pointed out that no one debating whether or not the Iraq war was a good idea, but the media “spend hours debating Sarah Palin’s ‘death panels’ bullshit”
As the elevator opened, I quickly asked him about the President, he said that some may argue if he had been more forceful and more specific in what he wanted, a bill would’ve passed, but that didn’t work for Clinton. He said he wasn’t sure what leverage Obama would have over Lieberman and Lincoln and said there were “more forces at play here than most know” As he left for Washington he laughed at said “you win some and you los some…we tend to lose more than some”
This is why I love my job.