There’s No Quick Fix, Mr. Weiner

Anthony Weiner ... still sexting

Anthony Weiner … still sexting

By Bob Gaydos

Anthony Weiner, please go away.

Take your smart phone or your laptop and sex text to your heart’s desire, if that’s what you want. We don’t need to hear or see any more of you than we have already experienced and New York City definitely does not need you as its next mayor. While you’re at it, maybe get a little help for that sexting thing.

On the off chance, dear reader, that you haven’t heard about Weiner’s latest escapade — maybe you don’t live in the New York City area or watch late night TV talk shows that thrive on ridiculing the ridiculous — the guy who quit Congress because he was caught sending pictures of his penis to a woman who was not his wife has done it again. This, after saying he was sorry. Wouldn’t do it again. Would not put his family through the humiliation and embarrassment again. Would get it under control.

That “control” thing doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, the whole sexual texting with other women went on right after he resigned from Congress and said he was going to “take care of it.” He was lying through his apology.

There is so much wrong with this scenario, it’s hard to know where start, but saying he should drop out of the race for mayor of New York is a good one. That he entered the Democratic primary for mayor just two years after quitting Congress (he said he had dealt with the problem) suggests an arrogance and denial, which is reinforced by the fact that he kept up the behavior even as he was “apologizing” for it. And that behavior bespeaks a kind of recklessness that most people would not find appealing in a mayor.

As long as I’m attaching adjectives to Weiner’s behavior, let me add more: juvenile, irresponsible, untrustworthy, deceptive, self-indulgent, uncaring, exhibitionist, delusional, selfish, egotistical, evasive, compulsive and misogynistic.

And yet, even as he was saying I’m really, really sorry this time, honest, believe me, there were some supposedly enlightened, “progressive,” liberal-leaning web sites (Salon, AlterNet, The Progress Party) who were defending Weiner, saying it was “just sex,” a private matter between the serial sexter and his wife, no reason he shouldn’t stay in the mayoral race. Besides, he supports gay marriage, one site pointed out.

Nonsense. First of all, any Democrat in New York City who runs for office supports gay marriage. It’s irrelevant in this case. Secondly, when sexual infidelity is involved, it’s never “just sex.” It’s also lying and cheating and sneaking and a profound breach of a fundamental trust between two people. Personally, I don’t like those character traits in people in public office.

Weiner’s defenders would have you believe he was just a “bad husband,” but not necessarily a bad candidate. Really? In a year in which progressive web sites are trumpeting women’s issues and the need for women to claim sovereignty over their bodies and their lives, they are also being told that all the things that would make them reject a man as a potential life partner shouldn’t matter if he is running for public office?

Weiner’s callous, prideful, even boasting approach to women who are not his wife should not count against him, it is suggested, because he is, after all, a smart, liberal Democrat. His utter disregard for women as anything but sex objects and his continued betrayal of his wife should not matter, one assumes, because we agree with him on some political issues. As if his attitudes — and the lying, don’t forget the lying — would not carry over to his conduct in office. And as if these same defenders wouldn’t be setting his hair on fire if he were a conservative Republican.

A schmuck is a schmuck, people. The fact that Weiner continued the behavior even as he was apologizing for it bespeaks either a total disregard for the rules of decent behavior, a lack of awareness of them or a feeling that they don’t apply to him. None inspires confidence.

Weiner’s wife came forward to defend him and say they are working things out (again). Whatever reasons she has for this (and I‘m hard-pressed to find a good one) does not change the equation.

As for Weiner, some might wonder, if he’s so smart, why does he keep doing dumb things? Others might say that intelligence has nothing to do with Weiner’s behavior, just as it has nothing to do with compulsive, repetitive, self-destructive behavior exhibited by many other people. Let’s review the adjectives I used to describe Weiner: juvenile, arrogant, reckless, irresponsible, untrustworthy, deceptive, self-indulgent, uncaring, exhibitionist, delusional, selfish, egotistical, evasive, compulsive and misogynistic.

There are rooms full of people around the country attending 12-step programs to help them deal with one type of harmful behavior or another which they cannot control. Maybe Weiner should take a break from the Internet, forget about running for mayor and take a step in another direction. Work things out in private with his wife and himself. And don’t bother saying “I’m sorry,” until he can prove it by his actions.

And for those web site managers who think Weiner’s serial sexting is none of our business, when he keeps his privates private, he can think about running for public office.



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6 Responses to “There’s No Quick Fix, Mr. Weiner”

  1. Linda Mangelsdorf Says:

    Bob, you are two for two. Sorry I didn’t comment on the Mo story—I was moved to tears. Missed the All-Star game and thus the tribute, but I rank Mo right up there in the hero department.

    Unlike the alleged mayoral candidate (please make him go away). Some of us still have standards, and expect those who run for office to stand a cut above the afternoon talk shows. Which, by the way, I do not watch.

    Thank you for telling it like it is. Keep up the good work, Bob!

  2. BobGaydos Says:

    Thank you so much, Linda.

  3. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    Bob, you really hit this on the mark. I’m indignant that any liberals, progressives, Democrats would try to defend this man who totally lacks any character. Isn’t it obvious that he’s unfit for public service because of all the adjectives you used to describe him? Bravo. And, yes, please go away. Him. Not You! 🙂

  4. bennett Says:

    I have more pity than contempt for Anthony Weiner. Only two of your adjectives apply to him; compulsive exhibitionist.
    By their very nature, we cannot choose our compulsions. The lucky among us have positive compulsions, such as addiction to exercise, The unlucky are gamblers, drunks, and… well, you get the point. Free will is an illusion, especially when one is in the grips of a metastasizing obsession.
    And the fact is that Weiner’s fixation is not at all uncommon.

    Instead of focusing on how weak Weiner is, I think about how powerful his addiction is. I thought the same thing a few years back when the anti-war movement lost one of its more articulate spokespersons, Scott Ritter, to a similar “scandal”.

    Instead of labeling sex addicts “juvenile”, I think that it’s high time that those critics grow up themselves and recognize that the human psyche is complex and not as easily tamed as moral absolutists wish it were.

    Now do I think that Weiner should continue his run for Mayor? No. He should recognize that, rightly or wrongly, he will no longer be taken seriously. It’s time for him to step aside and let the Mayoral race proceed without further distraction. It’s time for the rest of us to allow the truth ” there-but-for-fortune-go-I” to temper our judgementalism.

  5. Sherry Svec Says:

    His wife should cut off his thumbs.

  6. Tom Degan Says:

    I have seen more-than-my-share of politicians in complete states of denial – but the case of Anthony Weiner is beyond the realm of pathos. That anyone could throw one career away (and sabotage the possibility of a second one) is too sad for words.

    Initially my reaction to his mayoral candidacy was, okay, he made a mistake, but there are indeed second acts in American life. Let him have another go at it.

    It’s all over. The man just simply lacks good judgement. We wouldn’t accept this kind of behavior from a fifteen-year-old of below average intelligence. Why should we accept it in a man who wants to be the mayor of one of the most important cities in the world?

    Tom Degan

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