It’s very rare that I stand in 100% agreement (or any percent agreement) with something written by the NY Times editorial board. But after yesterday’s newly introduced sexting chronicles of Anthony Weiner – aka (allegedly) “Carlos Danger” – the board took to publishing a scathing editorial, urging the NYC mayor hopeful to pack it up and go home.
Here’s the core of it, from the NY Times:
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.
That’s exactly right. The timing matters.
Less than a year ago, while Weiner was telling the world he was cleaning up his act, he was…well…doing anything but.
Supporters of Weiner will also speak of forgiveness and moving on, giving people second chances. “The voters have already said it’s OK, they forgive him,” pundits will say of all the polls.
But at what point does this madness stop? Does anyone really believe there won’t be more random women who come forward, whenever they decide the moment strikes them? Weiner has said time and again that more are out there.
That Weiner would continue to, as the NY Times puts it, “drag the city into” his “tawdry saga,” speaks volumes of his character. As Philip Klein tweeted, it’s also a level of narcissism few of us can understand.
Both Weiner and his wife spoke in Monday’s press conference of having put the whole sordid scandal behind them, and they stressed on more than one occasion that this is a private matter. “I do very strongly believe that that is between us, and our marriage,” Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin said.
It’s no longer a private matter when you run for public office. The NYT has this part right, too.
Mr. Weiner and Ms. Abedin have been saying that his sexual behavior is not the public’s business. Well, it isn’t, until they make it our business by plunging into a political campaign.
This isn’t about the sexting. It’s about lying, betrayal and an apparent complete inability to exercise self control or good judgment.
It’s true that none of this is surprising, of course. We’ve come to expect this kind of thing, not just from Weiner, but from so many politicians today. But why do so many allow themselves to accept it?
Voters need to be able to trust that a leader is capable of making good decisions. Anthony Weiner has proven precisely the opposite. Again.
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