When Ann Romney went on the talk circuit to prop up, to “humanize,” her unfit-for-president husband Mitt, tried to ram him down our collective throat, liberals were outraged. In fact, Ann Romney, the messenger in that case, was castigated just as deeply as the presidential candidate – and rightfully so. But the mindset of many liberals is to draw a distinction, somehow, between Anthony Weiner’s ridiculous behavior and Mark Sanford’s offenses, between Huma Abedin’s prop-him-up campaign, and Ann Romney’s attempts to create a new-and-improved (but false) Mitt in the public eye.
“I still see a huge difference,” someone wrote on Facebook. “Weiner’s actions are childish and stupid but not remotely on the same level as the predatory garbage rmoney [Romney].”
So, liberals don’t mind a “childish and stupid” man as a high-powered player in political theater? What kind of liberal standard is it, when the liberal community (a community this author is decidedly a part of) has decided that they don’t mind someone who’s “childish and stupid” being in charge of the largest market in the U.S.? Anthony Weiner isn’t running for dog catcher; he’s running as a candidate to be the leader of 8.2 million people. And the dude can’t tell the truth, coolly misleads and manipulates his wife, supporters, and – most importantly – the voting public, and he’s remorselessly remorseless. In 2012, less than a year after the first scandal forced his resignation as a U.S. Rep, Weiner was overheard saying, “I’m supposed to be sorry, sorry in this way you’re supposed to be sorry … but I don’t know if it’s hitting me like that.” Allow me my infinite do-overs, Weiner seems to be saying, until I get it right; and in the meantime, “Trust me.”
It’s a 72-hour news cycle, and this too shall pass. The cringe-worthy, embarrassing, awkward press conference Weiner and dutiful wife Huma conducted (see video) will be buried in the annals of YouTube shortly; the blurry pic of his man parts will fade from the public view. But the liberal community needs to either step up and admit that the standards they set for Republicans (John Ensign, Mark Sanford and David Vitter come immediately to mind) shouldn’t apply to them and their own, and admit to raging hypocrisy, or condemn the behavior pattern Anthony Weiner set while running for public office (his dalliances with at least six to ten women while simultaneously assuring potential voters he was working hard on being a devoted husband and father) as the type of juvenile, adolescent, senseless, dumb, selfish, idiotic, dishonest, manipulative conduct that it is – conduct that distracts, conduct that demonstrates as little else could that this mayoral candidate is a narcissistic putz, and conduct that has no place on the political stage.
” . . . [I]’m . . . surprised you are so upset about this minor issue when there are so many HUGE problems/issues that need our constant attention,” another progressive wrote on Facebook, ” . . . so as to distract folks from the substantive things . . . .”
Personal integrity in our leaders is substantive, crucial in fact, and is no minor issue. Though we Americans are generous people, and inexplicably seem to have endless tolerance for little boys in grown mens’ bodies, the fact that Weiner’s poll numbers plummeted overnight speaks volumes about the fact that even American tolerance has limits.
It’s time for both Weiner and his wife to step off the political stage, discontinue the disingenuous (and ineffective) campaign of blowing sunshine up potential voters’ behinds, and work on their marriage in private, not in Harper’s Bazaar. Once they do that, Weiner is free to share his man parts liberally on Twitter and his Iphone and in YouTube videos with his wife’s blessing.
And once they step off that stage, bow gracefully and retreat, our business with Weiner, and his private life, will be concluded.