|King Kong from The New Yorker|
For the moment, let's look beyond the compulsive sexting -- granted, an indication that something is seriously "off" with this man -- especially if this woman is typical of his partners -- but there are other signals that Weiner should never again be considered for public office.
Weiner captured the hearts and imaginations of all progressives whenever we saw him ranting about some Republican action -- or inaction -- on the House floor. All one has to do is go to You Tube and search "anthony weiner house floor" to see this firebrand in action.
But being an effective representative of the people isn't about theater. It's about content. It's about substance. It's about accomplishments. It's about, or should be about, integrity. There is none of that with Anthony Weiner and never really has been.
In an in depth article published in the New York Times on June 12 of this year, over a month before Weiner's admission that his Internet shenanigans had not ended in 2011, David M. Halbfinger and David W. Chen scrutinize Weiner's record in the House of Representatives. As the headline indicates, the writers consider his record to be full of "intensity, publicity and limited results." To say the least.
In 12 ½ years in Congress, he sponsored and wrote only one bill that he steered to enactment: a measure pushed by a family friend who gave his campaigns tens of thousands of dollars in donations.Later in the article we learn that
Mr. Weiner’s bills, however, seldom went anywhere. After Democrats captured the majority in 2006, Mr. Weiner introduced 50 bills in the 2007-8 session, but failed to line up a single co-sponsor for 39 of them. “He just never tried,” one former senior aide said. “The point was to be able to say he introduced a bill.”While Halbfinger and Chen admit that Weiner was admired for his "devotion to his constituents, his quick grasp of difficult subjects and his relentless pace, they offer scant praise for the Congressman throughout Most of the article.
. . . the more lasting impression left by Mr. Weiner, according to more than three dozen people interviewed, was of a go-it-alone politician whose legislative record was thin and whose restlessness could spill into recklessness. He smartly selected issues on which to weigh in but left the difficult legislating to others, they said.The bulk of the article is a detailed indictment of a driven man. Abrasive. Angry. Arrogant. Hot tempered. Narcissistic. Self-aggrandizing. More interested in appearances than substance. It's quite a read -- not only because you get a realistic picture of a pretender to public service but also to a man who is deeply flawed.
Richard Kim, writing for The Nation, briefly reviews his colleague's article before launching into a defense of Carlos Danger -- "Weiner's online pseudonym and alter-id."
His prolific sexting took place before, during and after his wife’s pregnancy. He was caught doing it, denied it, admitted it, promised not do it again, did it again and admitted it—again. All of this makes him stupid, boorish, adolescent and deceitful about sex, but no more so than the millions of men (and some women) who do the same thing. It might also make him a bad husband, but only his wife Huma Abedin can be the judge of that, and it is really none of our business what she thinks, what arrangement they do or do not have and whether or not she should leave him. Nothing Carlos Danger did was illegal or coercive, and, it should be pointed out, none of it actually involved physical contact. His behavior and his marriage are entirely unworthy of public concern.
Unless, of course, Carlos Danger has the bad luck to also be Anthony Weiner. . . .After going through a rather intriguing "counterfactual" exercise, Kim concludes with, "Yes, Anthony Weiner is a weasel, a liar, a moron and a ridiculous egomaniac. Yes, he is unfit to hold public office. It doesn’t take a picture of his junk to prove that."
It also doesn't take a certified shrink with 25 years in the profession to see that the man has some huge issues in need of serious attention. To want to be mayor of New York City so passionately for so many years, to spend all that time with that one goal utmost in his mind, and then to self-detonate with the touch of a button is astronomically insane.
This sad sordid episode should also be a lesson for American voters who tend to turn politicians into national heroes after seeing a rant on the House floor or an occasional display (before the cameras, of course) of "doing the right thing." Theater is cheap.
Further Reading: Bob Schieffer's take on the Weiner.