The whole sexting thing is really beside the point. Anthony Weiner was an egregious asshole before he started peppering young ladies with unsolicited snaps of his package. During his tenure in DC, he shamelessly horned in on any issue that would bring him media coverage, showing up unannounced at other legislators’ press conferences and mugging for the cameras like a drunken pledge at a fraternity house kegger. His colleagues despised him for it; he knew it, and didn’t care.
The only legislation he actually originated, it has been widely reported, was a pork-laden bill of no import other than to line the pockets of a family friend and generous campaign donor. Astoundingly, when pressed to name any accomplishment of note, he responded by asserting that he coined the term “Obamacare.”
His wife, responding to the very recent revelations that Weiner continued texting for more than a year after his resignation, said “It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to the place where I can forgive Anthony.” Honey, that’s not therapy. That’s brain control worthy of a Lubyanka specialist. What ails you? Get the hell out of there while you still can — because at this rate, in a year or so he’ll have you barking on command like a Siberian husky.
Weiner himself trotted out an equally outlandish “Move, on, nothing to see here” response to the revelations of his continuing creepiness: “It’s in our rearview mirror, but it’s not far,” he said. “I hope they are willing to still continue to give me a second chance.”
Actually, given that this latest spate of texts, replete with pee-pee photos and an attempt to go beyond the world of fantasy into a real-life, real-time hookup at an apartment in Chicago — seven months after his son was born — isn’t he really asking for a third chance? It sure looks that way from here. It is entertaining to see a self-prescribed “three-strike” rule applied to the situation, but isn’t it time for someone to take this grandstanding chimpanzee aside and explain to him the difference between the real world and sandlot softball?
Well, they probably have. They have most likely reminded him of the further shame he has inflicted on his wife and family, and his extended betrayal of those who agreed to sponsor his return to public life. This will not, however, resonate with Anthony Weiner. He may cry crocodile tears at will, beat his breast, rend his garment and pour ashes over his head, but the inner Weiner will remain pridefully erect.
Why? Because it’s all about cute little Anthony. His happiest memories, we believe, centered on the unconditional adoration he received while toddling around in diapers, which may explain his fondness for photos of himself in his underwear — bizarre regressions into an infancy he clings to still.
Or perhaps it’s something else. We might surmise that beneath this narcissism is a deep well of worthlessness and self-loathing. This compels him to behavior designed to bring him the maximum amount of humiliation and punishment — and the narcissism produces an equally inappropriate but offsetting sense of almost sociopathic entitlement to counterbalance his overpowering sense of inadequacy.
But explaining Weiner’s behavior does little to ameliorate its effect. It’s more than disturbing; it’s unnerving. It’s like being power-sprayed with raw sewage. And we seem unable to put a stop to it. Can nothing abate this hurricane of hubris?
Weiner clearly has an abiding contempt for the voters of New York, and why not? They elected him the first time, and then, when he came back, they trusted him again, despite the alps of accumulated evidence against any such notion. And here we are, with yet another press conference with mealy-mouthed evasions and self-serving half-truths: “We said there might be further texts.” Yes, but we didn’t expect brand-new ones. And once again, a bewildered wife stares glumly at her feet as her husband drags an already-tattered family name through another hog’s wallow of mud.
And us? Weiner himself remains convinced that the electorate will overlook this latest travesty:
“I hope they realize that in many ways what happened today was something that frankly had happened before, but it doesn’t represent all that much that is new.”
No, it does not represent much that is new. It’s the same old Weiner. Do you think we’ll figure it out this time?