The punning headlines, no matter how hackneyed, are irresistible: “From Dishonor to His Honor,” “Weiner Pulled Out; Now He Wants Back In,” “Weiner’s Second Coming,” and even an Oscar Meyer Weiner reference (you’re welcome). And if Anthony Weiner has his way, he may be in the spotlight to read plenty more corny headlines over the next four-plus years.
When then-Congressman Weiner first dipped his [OK, at some point you have to cut it out] appendage [sorry] into the mayoral-hopeful waters a decade ago, it seemed his whiny voice and last name were practically insurmountable handicaps. Yet after twelve years of Mayor Bloomberg’s nasal ninnying, however, Weiner sounds practically mellifluous and the media has finally stopped making “weiner” jokes. No, they haven’t.
Powerful politicians have always delved in dalliances from presidents Cleveland, Harding, Kennedy, et. al and even President Clinton was able to rise above the fray from his “sex with that woman” over time.
While the G.O.P. consistently re-elects their infidels — from Newt Gingrich to Congressman-elect Sanford who was recently accepted back into the fold by a blinded-by-the-right constituency — Democrats, conversely, will toss their own kind under the bus. Unlike the right’s cry of “family values,” the left cares less of sexual escapades and more about hypocrisy, unctuousness, and hubris.
New York’s former Governor Spitzer was not cast out of office because he repeatedly visited a call girl; he was booted because he’d previously built his career busting prostitution rings. Former presidential hopeful John Edwards didn’t get the cold shoulder because he was bedding a hanger-on, his political descent spiraled because his wife was dying of cancer while he cheated.
- So, why is Weiner still struggling to shrug off the mantle of his sexting scandal? It’s simple: We actually saw it. The images of Weiner duck-lipping while taking “selfies” shirtless — and more — will never go away. And while the unctuous level of the photos is astronomical, it’s the hubris that engendered them that is the real cause to pause. Sending countless images of himself and sexting with several strangers across the country, shows a chronic lapse in critical judgment; He actually believed he could get away with it. And now to swing back to the slime factor: his gorgeous, intelligent fianceé was pregnant at the time.
Plagued by the scandal that brought him down, Weiner appears undaunted and, today, even announced his candidacy via the above campaign video. Yet, in lengthy interviews on NY1 and in The New York Times Magazine, both forays to scrub clean his image have floundered. Indeed, roughly 70 percent of the aforementioned article, as well as the news show interview focused on the politico’s fall from grace. And Weiner, like a kicked puppy, licked his wounds and apologized ad nauseam.
And just as we watched the campaign video — and just as we were recalling the politician we once loved, he went and tucked his tail between his legs and reminded us again: “Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down, but I’ve also learned some tough lessons.” If Weiner expects to wash the mud off, he’ll have to stop reminding us of the muck he rolled around in.
New Yorkers don’t want any more namby-pamby apologias. They want a tough-as-nails take-no-prisoners mayor who fights for what he believes in. New York mayors are, after all, a special breed of bravado, bluster, and take-it-or-leave-it attitude — whether we’ve liked it or not. And Weiner fits the bill, far better than the current frontrunner, Christine Quinn.
If this video is any reminder of the greatness that Weiner is capable of, then perhaps New Yorkers would do well to forgive the former congressman for his unctuousness and hubris. Then again, under a different video that we saw earlier of Weiner delivering an epic congressional diatribe, the first comment underneath said: “Hey, isn’t the guy who took pictures of his dick?” Well, we’ll forgive maybe, but forget? Fuhgeddabouit.