I want to write something positive about Anthony Weiner. Really, I do. First of all, I agree with him on almost everything. He is the kind of liberal I like. He is fearless. Secondly, I have worked with his wife, Huma Abedin, and have nothing but respect and admiration for her. If she can forgive him, well, then we all should.
Alas, I cannot write the post I want because Mr. Weiner’s wanton disregard for anything that makes sense has made that post impossible. Mr. Weiner, you clearly lack the judgement required to be mayor of New York city. This week has been strange. You have “sex scandals” on each coast. San Diego (stay classy!) Mayor Bob Filner (D) did something pretty hideous. When he hit on the women who worked for him, he did more than that. He made female staffers feel unsafe in a place where they should be. I don’t think his actions can be fixed by two weeks at a rehab facility, though he probably needs it. Mr. Filner, you need to leave public life. Go home.
Anthony Weiner’s transgressions are a bit different. No less upsetting but different. Why can we forgive Mark Sanford or Elliot Spitzer but not Anthony Weiner? (Yes, the jury is still out on Spitzer but I think we all see his redemption on the wall.) At first I thought it was because while we all can relate, at least on some level to having sex with someone to whom we are not married. Sending pictures of our privates to people we have never met is a different story. And to be fair, I asked Weiner’s campaign for something — anything — I could use to defend him and got nothing back. They responded, I asked for a statement to reference or use but didn’t get one so after nearly a week of trying I am posting this.
As a former New Yorker I feel like it is the most important city on earth. It is the center of a lot of universes — financial, entertainment, whatever, and it deserves a mayor who isn’t allergic to the truth. I don’t know when (or if) Weiner stopped sexting and that really is between him and Huma but I do know that the time for him to quit this campaign was yesterday. We all have better things to think and talk about and it is with a heavy heart that I say, Mr. Weiner, you need to stop. Stop campaigning. Stop being a public figure. Stop.
And because I think full disclosure is important, I did advance work for the Clintons (from 1996 through 2001) and worked with Huma. Additionally, I interviewed for a position in Weiner’s congressional office and with him. I was offended when he said I was “sucking up” by admiring his 2000 Mets NLCS championship flag. It was a job interview so yes, I was “sucking up” but I was a Met fan long before I ever heard of Weiner and thought that was a step too far (yes, I called his chief of staff to complain about that).