Dear Representative Weiner,
I keep hearing that you have ambitions to run for Mayor of the City of New York. As a huge fan of yours, I have an urgent request.
I’m no spring chicken. I’ve seen a lot of politics, and I’ve seen a lot of politicians come and go. I was born in New York City – Brooklyn, to be precise – although I’ve lived in Houston long enough to be considered (by some, at least) a ‘naturalized’ Texan.
Politics by its nature is a very subjective thing, but there is one objective truth: Mayor of New York is where presidential ambitions go to die.
According to my cursory research (and I’m willing to be corrected on anything I may mis-state), no mayor of New York City has ever gone on to become president.
It’s not for lack of trying. Many New York City Mayors over the decades have attempted the leap onto the national stage in order to promote their presidential ambitions. In my memory alone, John V. Lindsay, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg are three, but it always comes a cropper. New York City politics appear too destructive to permit a serious national run.
The closest it seems anyone has gotten was Theodore Roosevelt, who had the apparent good fortune to lose in his bid for Mayor as the Republican candidate.
There has never been a Mayor of New York City who has advanced to the presidency of the United States, and precious few have even made it to Governor.
The record appears clear: Mayor of New York is not an aspiration you should have if you want to build a national career. It’s a goal at the end of one.
Anthony – may I call you Anthony? – Anthony, your party needs you and your country needs you. As opportunities permit, run for the U.S. Senate. Run for N.Y. Governor, Take a prominent cabinet post in the next Obama administration, perhaps. (It’s possible to go from the House of Representatives directly to the presidency, but it’s a historic long shot.) Get executive experience, keep a high national profile, keep fighting for your beliefs the way you always have. If you do those things, then mark my words: By 2016 at the soonest or 2024 at the latest, you will have a serious shot at the presidency, and will likely win.
The vast majority of U.S. presidents have been governors or U.S. senators. Very few have taken the mayoral detour and gone on from there.
I know that you love New York, and you feel that the opportunity of being mayor would allow you to accomplish many great things that will make life there better, but I believe that you have a bigger national destiny before you, and you have a responsibility to this nation to seize it.