It's getting late—almost the Witching Hour—so why not post the latest pixelated, nightmare-inducing shot of former Rep. Anthony Weiner's junk?
This latest trip down memory lame may be enough to end Weiner's mayoral bid in New York City (he says he won't back down), but it's worth dilating on the larger issues raised by the new revelations. Which include, by the way, not simply more tawdry and true tales of super-elastic selfies and young girls (the glam shot to the right was sent to a 22 year old a year after Weiner had resigned), but the fact that Weiner used the love handle "Carlos Danger." Aye caramba. Mexico, first Nacho Libre and now this. Can you ever forgive us?
Over the weekend in The Washington Post (before the Weiner scandal cranked up again), Kathleen Parker wrote an interesting piece about the deeper issues involving Weiner and her former talk-show cohost and current candidate for New York City comptroller, Eliot Spitzer. In at least these two cases, Parker argues that we're not talking about sex really:
The current redemption fest, including the San Diego mayor who harassed women in his employ and thinks an apology ought to wrap things up (and, lest we forget, Bill Clinton's imbroglio with an intern), isn't about hypocrisy or crassness or cavalier apologies.
It's about power.
One could argue that Weiner was merely flirting with Twitter "friends" who, presumably, were interested in his bona fides. Then again, Weiner was a congressman, not a frat boy on spring break. There really is, or should be, a distinction.
And though purchased sex implies a mutually agreeable, if illegal, transaction, the power differential between an elected official and a prostitute is explicit.
But turn on the TV and you'll hear that no one really cares anymore, because it's "only sex."
If ever two words were mismatched.
In the case of Spitzer, any power differential was compounded by his willingness to prosecute prostitutes to the fullest extent of the law both here and abroad. That for me is the real problem that deserves to be addressed in the public sphere. Spitzer has at least indicated that he's changed his view on prostitution in the wake of his scandal and his attempt to make a political comeback. That hardly means he is, or should be, a shoe-in for the job. (Read this National Review article that is sympathetic to Kristin Davis, the madam who ended up serving jail time for procuring Spitzer's prostitutes. Davis, who ran for governor of New York and has a background in stock trading, is also running for NYC comptroller.)
With Weiner, I'm not convinced that the issue is power as much as self-delusion. In a new press conference that can be watched here, Weiner seems to be reenacting the same sort of demeanor he had back in 2011 before he had to admit the crotch shots clogging up the interwebs were his own. There was a real masher element to his behavior that might not have been illegal but spoke to serious lapses in judgment at the very least. Parker is certainly right in insisting that there should be a "distinction" between what is OK for a frat boy and what's OK for a member of Congress. That these new pics date from a year after his political world collapsed—a time when he was supposedly getting his act back together—makes him appear either a total liar or totally delusional. In other words, perfectly fit for the job of mayor of New York City. At the same time, his near-complete lack of vision for the city is arguably as stunning as his crotch shots. He pushes the "view from the stoop" shtick in all his ads and campaign materials but apart from unintentionally ironic proposals such as "track sex offenders using GPS technology," most of his "64 ideas to keep New York the Capital of the Middle Class" are less than inspiring (though many of them are expensive).
It's always true that the less we see of politicians, the better. When it comes to Anthony Weiner, that's even more the case than usual.