As voters grapple with whether to send Client No. 9 to spar with reporters in City Hall’s Room 9 as a comptroller without self-comptrol, as Stephen Colbert put it, the spectacle of Spitzer passing moral judgment on Weiner has led to arguments over gradations of perversity.
Some people say Spitzer’s transgressions are more understandable because they were time-immemorial victimless transactions with well-paid humans in the flesh, while Weiner’s digital compulsions with women he didn’t know were peephole exhibitionism and insanely “reckless,” as the new front-runner Christine Quinn charged.
Others think Weiner’s sins were no worse than enjoying pornography and that actual human contact is more harmful than cyber-horniness run amok. On one level, what Mark Sanford did — fall in love with a beautiful, younger woman — may be the easiest for voters to fathom, but is it the hardest on the wife?
Like Bill Clinton, Weiner can summon impressive political stamina under jaw-droppingly embarrassing circumstances.