The latest confession by Anthony Weiner and the emetic press conference by his wife (I have forgiven him so you should, too) leave us with a number of questions.
Here are a few:
Anthony Weiner couldn’t stop texting obscene messages to women after he resigned from Congress and humiliated himself and his wife, so what makes New Yorkers think he’ll ever stop?
We know what New Yorkers are giving Weiner if they elect him (vindication, redemption, a license to misbehave again), but what would they get from him? I mean, we’ve yet to learn what wondrous talents he possess and divinely inspired policies only he can bring to New York. The entire campaign has become all about him, not about the city.
Why should voters care what Huma thinks? Yes, it’s her marriage. And, yes, if she is so devoted to him (or so ambitious for her family) as to suspend rational analysis, well it is her life. It really isn’t any of the voters’ business if she wants to stick with him. But that has virtually no bearing on the voters’ decision to give him the power of mayor and to trust his public judgments. In some ways, she is the last person (other than her husband) whose judgment is sound on the subject.
Isn’t this more than just a sex scandal? Newt Gingrich cheated on and divorced wives. Mark Sanford found his true love and dumped his wife and family. Infidelity in many voters’ minds is disqualifying (If he lies to his wife and breaks his marriage vows, won’t he lie to us?); for others it makes no difference (Didn’t FDR cheat on his wife?). But Weiner’s compulsive behavior goes beyond infidelity. The man has issues, folks. If you wouldn’t trust him to babysit your kids and go unsupervised with a teenage girl (You wouldn’t, would you?), it seems a tad irresponsible to give him Gracie Mansion.
And finally, is this all we expect from politicians these days? I suppose if you consider that “they’re all crooks,” as many people say, then one morally defective pol is as bad as another. In that case, we can just throw darts at the board if they are all one and the same. And yet, I don’t think we really buy that. We have elections. We question candidates. We must be assessing fitness for office, right?
Unfortunately, these are not rhetorical questions. We get the pols we deserve and it may be that New Yorkers deserve Anthony Weiner. Still, I hold out hope that the residents of the nation’s greatest city are better than that.