I can’t believe anyone, especially people as politically savvy as Billary, think a guy like Weiner who’ll be a distant memory come 2016 poses any serious problem for the Clinton machine. The annoyance here likely derives from the stature gap between the two couples, the way the royal family might be annoyed to be called “Britain’s Kardashians.” As Dave Weigel said last week, the Weiners are to the Clintons as “Sharknado” is to “Jaws”: Fun in their own pathetically tawdry way, but really just a hollow, farcical imitation.
“The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging — that Huma is ‘standing by her man’ the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did,’’ said a top state Democrat.
Weiner and his campaign aides have explicitly referred to the Clintons as they privately seek to convince skeptical Democrats that voters can back Weiner despite his online sexual antics — just as they supported then-President Bill Clinton in the face of repeated allegations of marital betrayals.
“The Clintons are pissed off that Weiner’s campaign is saying that Huma is just like Hillary,’’ said the source. “How dare they compare Huma with Hillary? Hillary was the first lady. Hillary was a senator. She was secretary of state.”…
Meanwhile, at least one prominent Hillary Rodham Clinton political operative was described as close to “going public’’ with a sharp criticism of Weiner — in order to send the message that the Clintons, fearing longtime damage to Hillary, want him out of the mayor’s race.
After the trauma of 2008, maybe Hillary’s determined to take even the tiniest potential pitfall seriously, which puts Huma in a bind. His wife’s continuing support is the only thing that gives Weiner even a whisper of a chance at a meaningful political comeback somewhere down the road. The more of a political liability he is, though, the less the Clintons will presumably want anything to do with her. By speaking up at that press conference, she basically adopted the Weiner brand, which was an awfully dumb thing for someone allegedly so smart to have done. Maybe Hillary will let bygones be bygones, but if Huma becomes a peg for the media to occasionally revisit Bill’s troubles during the next campaign, why put her on staff? There must be plenty of other overrated Democratic apparatchiks who could do her job for them just as well. Crunch time for Mrs. Weiner, then: Is it time to save her own skin by demanding of her husband that he drop out? Or is she ready to gamble her role as top Clinton lackey on Carlos Danger’s continuing political viability?
If nothing else, the “Hillary confronts Huma and demands that she tell Anthony to drop out” scene in the new miniseries will make for heart-stopping “Godfather”-esque drama. Or better yet, per the last paragraph of that excerpt, imagine the scene of today’s big Obama/Hillary sitdown where they discuss ways to politically whack him. Starring David Axelrod as Luca Brasi?
Exit question: If, as many have speculated, his current run for mayor is really just a way to flush the rest of his indiscretions into the public eye so that they’ll be old news by the time he runs for real in 2017, then he has to stay in this thing until the bitter end, no? His candidacy is doomed, but if he drops out he’s tacitly admitting that his flaws have rendered him unviable. If he stays in and loses, no matter how badly, he’s just another also-ran candidate who can try again in four years. He can’t signal in any way that this stuff is disqualifying. He has to shrug it off, lose by 30 points, and then spin it by claiming that “the time wasn’t right” or whatever. Tough break for Huma.
Update: Like I said:
Embattled New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner said he doesn’t care what people say or how critics respond — he’s not leaving the race.
“You’re stuck with me,” he told the Staten Island Advance in an interview published Sunday.