Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) was not content to send a letter of resignation. He insisted on one more moment in the limelight, one effort to show him as he imagined himself — patriotic, noble, composed. But things don’t go as planned for someone so out of touch with himself and reality.
The good-bye address had the creepy feel of a comeback speech. Last time he whimpered; this time he seemed defiant. He apologized again to his wife, but his expression revealed little remorse. In the quintessential moment of obtuseness he then thanked his parents for instilling “values” in him. Whether true or not, a minimally self-aware individual would perceive that would be a eye-roller, if not an embarrassment to his parents.
Then, all hell broke loose. Multiple hecklers interrupted. He plunged ahead, still with no emotion. It ended as more farce than swan song. Appropriately so.
Weiner, I would argue, deserves little sympathy for the destruction of his career, reputation or even the heckling. They all flowed from his own behavior, and yes, his own defective character.
In our Oprah-ized society, the perpetrator is easily converted into the victim. Forgiveness, at least, in some religious traditions comes with repentance and with changed behavior. It shouldn’t be handed out like a plaque for the speaker at the end of another public display.
As for the “pack journalism” that some wring their hands about, it would ring with more sincerity if the same standard were applied to those who didn't serve as pugilists for their ideological side. On this, you can’t blame the media for covering the public self-immolation of Weiner. How about if we just blame him — entirely and completely.