Yet I can’t help blaming Abedin for condoning this behavior and allowing this charade to continue. In a Post story Thursday, Karen Tumulty wrote that Abedin, a longtime key aide to Hillary Clinton, has been playing the Hillary card to solicit money from Clinton donors, who are too afraid of alienating Hillary Clinton to turn Abedin down. Then there was the stunning news conference in which she defended her husband. I understand that one woman’s humiliation is another woman’s power play, but I can’t see how what Abedin did could be a good example for any woman anywhere.
“I do very strongly believe that that is between us and our marriage,” she said then. She says the marriage has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of therapy. I’m certainly not the first person to suggest that her therapist should be fired. She says she is standing by Weiner for her family and her child. Does she really think her son will benefit from looking back on his mother’s excruciating display of lack of self-respect? Does she believe that the fact that she is essentially condoning Weiner’s behavior sets a good example for her son? She clearly has no line Weiner can’t cross. He seems pretty sure he can keep getting away with it, and why shouldn’t he be?
Ann Telnaes animation: Comparing the coverage of Anthony Weiner and the NSA scandals.
We thought we had seen the last of this kind of women’s humiliation with Silda Wall Spitzer. You don’t see her out on the hustings with her husband, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who is running for city comptroller. Who can forget the hideously painful scene of her standing next to her husband after he was caught with a prostitute and resigned from office? Can you imagine her doing that again, especially if he had done it again? In fact, she now reportedly has told friends that she’s divorcing him, not surprising since his campaign has brought up all over again all of the pain she and her children suffered.
So why has Abedin done this? Some have suggested that her Muslim background and growing up in Saudi Arabia have skewed her views of how women should be treated. But she’s been away from that for too long.
Perhaps Weiner has changed Abedin’s view of what is moral and ethical behavior. Or could it be that she’s afraid of him? But neither of these fits her actions past and present. The only possibly reason I can guess for Abedin’s embrace of her husband is that she wants the power as much as he does. As Clinton’s assistant, she has seen the limos, the planes, the salutes and the flags, and that is the life she aspires to. She thought she had it when she married the wildly ambitious, though widely disliked, congressman. She saw the Clintons get away with infidelity, and she fooled herself into thinking she and Weiner could also ride this one out.
When will all of this end? The only way out for Abedin, as I see it, is to give up being the “Good Wife,” dump Weiner and run for office on her own. For all she knows, Anthony Weiner could be acting out again as this piece is being written. Both Weiner and Abedin have certainly not learned any lessons from another verse in Proverbs: “A good name is more desirable than riches. To be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”