Here in New York, we’re just a few weeks away from the mayoral election. It’ll be good to have Bloomberg gone. I’m not against everything he’s done while in office, but he’s overstayed his welcome. It’s past time for a change. The city deserves it. What it didn’t deserve is the circus this election has become, due to the shenanigans of “Carlos Danger,” former congressman Anthony Wiener. Wiener emerged from his hiatus from politics and declared he was running for mayor. He immediately shot up the pols, at one point leading Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, and Bill DeBlasio. Then he started making remarks indicating that more information regarding the sexting that forced him to resign from Congress was likely out there, and would probably come to light at some point. It did. Twenty-three year old Sydney Leathers (and yes, that is her real name, believe it or not) came forward and said that she sexted with Wiener and had an online relationship with him as recently as this past November…several months after Wiener had resigned, and just about the same time he was posing for magazine covers with his wife, Huma Abedin, and their young son. Wiener said at that point that he had turned his life around, and that his mistakes were behind him. His wife backed him up on that. And now this goes and happens…Wiener has said he won’t drop out of the race; it’s said that the Clintons, who at one point were some of his biggest supporters, are disgusted with him, and New Yorkers, like the rest of the country, have no choice but to be subjected to the whole sideshow, because no matter how much we try to avoid it, it just won’t go away. It’s all over the front pages of the Post and the Daily News. It’s joked about every night on The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, and every other late night talk show out there. It’s fodder for pundits, a veritable goldmine. It just keeps dragging on and on.
I understand the humor of the situation. How could you not? We’ve got a guy named Wiener who held public office and is trying to hold it again, with an affinity for taking and sharing dick pics with random girls online, and on top of that, he refers to himself as “Carlos Danger?!” You can’t make this stuff up! Yeah, it’s funny, but it’s also pathetic and sad. This guy seems so delusional that after a certain point you just have to wonder how big the disconnect is between his mental faculties and those of the rest of the world. I don’t know if he just has a really difficult time with self perception, or what, but one thing is for sure…he won’t be mayor of New York, at this point. He keeps on saying let the people decide, and they will. But why wait that long? Why not just end the embarrassment for himself and his family? This seeming desire for continued self-flagellation is just really perplexing. It seems like, whether Wiener was conscious of it or not, he wanted to get caught. What else would explain the continuation of this incredibly risky behavior, that went on even after his forced resignation and disgrace the first time? I don’t really believe in “sex addiction.” But this is the behavior of an addict…continuing to self-destruct, in a very public fashion, to the detriment of everybody around him.
Then there’s the separate issue of why Huma doesn’t kick this guy to the curb. There’s all kinds of reasons for why marriages fail, and there’s all kinds of reasons why people stick together, even when everyone around them can’t understand the motivation for it. In this case, I can only theorize that Huma is doing what her mentor Hillary Clinton did, and is sticking by her man in the face of this scandal because of future political aspirations. But it’s just a theory. Maybe she just likes inflicting misery on herself as much as Wiener does. She seems like a highly intelligent woman, and she deserves better than to stand by this schmuck’s side while he twists in the wind, forced to explain each new tawdry detail as it comes up. Although if she doesn’t leave after all of this, maybe she’s not as smart as I thought she was.
The bottom line, at this point, is that Wiener just needs to go away. It’ll happen, one way or another. Either he’ll finally give in to all the pressure and his campaign will fold, or else he’ll hold on until the voters have their say. One thing is clear- this guy is a barnacle hanging onto the hull of the Democratic party. His arrogance is of a flavor that I’ve rarely seen before, so brash and bloated that it has overwhelmed several news cycles. I can’t help but wonder if, somewhere in the back of Wiener’s mind, he’s gotten what he wanted. If, in his sickness, he never wanted to be mayor, never entertained the notion seriously at all…if the point of all of this was just to bring his shame cycle back into the public spotlight so that we could all leer at him and discuss and dissect his morality while comparing it to all of our own. I can’t help but wonder if Wiener is getting off on all of this…whether our disapproval is giving him a similar thrill to that which he gets when he first tries to engage some wide-eyed, impressionistic internet pen pal. Maybe the point of all of this was to draw the world, one more time, into this man’s fetish. Maybe the only way Wiener wilts is if everybody stops looking and talking about him. Alas, that’s not how the world works, in sex, and in politics. There can be a voyeuristic aspect in both arenas, and in that sense, I feel an ongoing sense of shame as it relates to this story that probably doesn’t come close to rivaling what Wiener is feeling.