This, it must be said, was a depressing week for ethically oblivious occupants of the Beacon Hill demimonde.
First, state Representative John Fresolo, under investigation by the House Ethics Committee in a matter that remains a mystery, submitted his resignation.
That word came just as Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray said he will soon be leaving to take over the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. Although the reality is that Murray’s political aspirations were crushed once he became entangled with Michael McLaughlin, the sleazy giant squid of Middlesex County, the LG beamed like a sweepstakes winner in announcing his plans at an afternoon press conference.
Then there was the bizarre life-imitates-cable report that former representative Steve Doran had been charged with trafficking in methamphetamines while working as a charter-school tutor.
But take heart, rapscallions, rakes, rogues, rascals, and other denizens of the political netherworld. In politics, hope never truly dies.
Just look south to Gotham, where phallic photographer Anthony Weiner has tossed his hat into the mayoral contest.
His status as a pariah is actually an advantage, Weiner’s team told The New York Times. Freed of endorsements and allies — and, perhaps, supporters — he’ll be able to forge his own independent path.
“Look, I’ve made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down,” Weiner declares in a comeback campaign video. “But I’ve also learned some tough lessons . . . I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”
And why not? After all, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has just bounced back, winning a congressional seat a few short years after an extramarital — and misuse of public funds — affair that once seemed like a career-ender.
Watching Weiner’s video, one could envision the light bulbs going off in some Massachusetts political pates.
Imagine, say, a pitch like this: “When I was an insecure state senator, I felt a need to need to enhance my self-worth — and my figure — by stuffing bribes into my bra. But since I left office, I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am. I’m exercising regularly and I’ve got my blood pressure down. Now I’m hoping I can help put Boston in better shape as well. Oh, not this year, because I’m still in federal prison. But in 2017, I’m asking you to vote Dianne Wilkerson for mayor.”
Or this one: “When I was state treasurer, I confused the Lottery’s advertising funds with my own personal campaign dollars. They were both green, after all. But now, after spending months with my lawyers studying state ethics laws, I’ve become very skilled at distinguishing public money from political funds. And now, armed with that hard-won ability, I’m asking you to vote for Tim Cahill for state auditor.”
Or perhaps this pitch. “Look, politicians fib. Sometimes even under oath. But in real life, when you tell an untruth, your nose doesn’t grow like Pinocchio’s. If it did, every work week at the State House would be like audition day on the set of Cyrano de Bergerac. In the political world, it takes one to catch one. So today, I, Tom Finneran, am asking for your vote for attorney general.”
Who knows, if voters get used to comebacks, there might even be a political future for a certain Worcester native who found himself way over his head in state politics.
“When I first went to Beacon Hill, I was so wet behind the ears that I barely knew how to drive a car. But I’ve learned a lot since then. Things like, pay attention when people warn you to steer clear of shady characters like Michael McLaughlin. Why, you won’t even find me venturing into the wilds of Middlesex County again. I’m back where I belong — and asking you to vote Tim Murray for Worcester City Council.”