Allahpundit gave a great recap to one of the stranger political events of all time, the attempt by Anthony Weiner to argue for yet another opportunity for redemption. When he entered the mayoral race, Weiner said that he’d learned his lesson after the scandal broke in 2011 and was ready to return, but revelations in the past 24 hours show that he continued his extramarital Internet trolling well after the birth of his child last year. Nevertheless, his wife Huma Abedin stood by his side and declared that she supported Weiner and that the latest reports were old news and an issue between the two of them.
Did New Yorkers agree? It’s too early for polling, but one voice was singularly unimpressed with the spectacle. The New York Times editorial board wasted no time yesterday evening in delivering a response — get out:
At some point, the full story of Anthony Weiner and his sexual relationships and texting habits will finally be told. In the meantime, the serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City. …
When the first texts were revealed two years ago, Mr. Weiner lied about it, saying he had been the victim of hackers. Then he owned up, tearfully abandoned his office and retreated into private life. Then he was back, telling the world that therapy and his wife’s forgiveness had turned him around and that he was ready to begin a new chapter. That turned out to be the mayor’s race, which he entered in May. What he did not say then, and what voters did not realize until Tuesday, was that his resignation had not been the end of his sexual misconduct.
The timing here matters, as it would for any politician who violates the public’s trust and then asks to have it back. Things are different now, he insists. “This behavior is behind me,” he said again on Tuesday. He suggested that people should have known that his sexting was an unresolved problem well into 2012.
That’s ridiculous and speaks to a familiar but repellent pattern of misleading and evasion. It’s up to Mr. Weiner if he wants to keep running, to count on voters to forgive and forget and hand him the keys to City Hall. But he has already disqualified himself.
One would certainly hope that the latest chapter in Where On The Internet Is Anthony Weiner disqualifies him from public office, at least for a while. If that doesn’t do it, then the humiliation that Weiner inflicted on his wife yesterday should do it. As Glenn Thrush writes at Politico, her debut on the political stage could not have come at a more cringe-inducing moment, and yet that’s exactly what Weiner imposed on her:
New York City Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner unleashed his typical torrent of verbiage on Tuesday — but words couldn’t compete with the excruciating image of his embarrassed wife squirming in the spotlight both have sought.
In the most cringe-worthy moment of a four-month political comeback yarn that has tested Gotham’s gag reflex, Huma Abedin, the dignified wife of a serially disgraced Democrat, nervously defended her husband at a Tuesday press conference. …
His luck may be running out. The tragi-slapstick spectacle of Weiner and his wife appearing at the gritty offices of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center in Manhattan to save his career clearly marked a new, and dangerous, phase for Weiner.
“You want this guy to be mayor? Or you want him in therapy?” asked an incredulous Doug Muzzio, a Baruch College professor and longtime observer of city scandal, from Koch-era corruption to Rudy Giuliani’s well-chronicled infidelities.
Now that he’s pushed his wife into the political spotlight in his defense, Weiner had better prepare her for what follows. For instance, while most of the commentary has been sympathetic to Huma, at least some are wondering just how she rationalized a return to electoral politics with this sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Huma also cooperated with a gooey People Magazine story on their family life that clearly was intended to rehab Weiner’s image for re-entry into politics, while supposedly she knew her husband had continued his Internet trolling. Or at least that’s what she suggested yesterday, but ABC News reports that the news may have blindsided Huma, too:
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) July 24, 2013
So far, ABC hasn’t followed that up with a story, but that may come later on Good Morning America. The question is whether New Yorkers really want to deal with this continuing public train wreck or find someone who is responsible enough to run his own life, let alone the nation’s largest city. After yesterday’s train wreck, the Weiners should be taking the NYT’s advice and get out of public life, but it seems they won’t get that message until voters deliver it to them.