By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
What are we to make of Anthony Weiner?
He was forced to resign from Congress just more than two years ago when he was caught sending pictures of his genitals to a woman who followed him on Twitter.
He at first denied the allegations, going so far as to say the male genitalia in the photo making the rounds on the Internet did not belong to him.
He was eventually found out, of course, and he announced he had done this sort of thing before, with “about six women over the last three years.” He resigned from Congress in June 2011.
Fast forward to today. Weiner, in the thick of the race for mayor of New York City, is up to his dangly bits in scandal again after it was revealed that he had continued sexting with young women, exchanging obscene messages and photos with them, even after his resignation from Congress.
Once again, Weiner has become the butt of jokes among the late-night comedians, in no small measure after it was learned he conducted his tawdry texting under the screen name, “Carlos Danger,” which is a great name for a cheesy fictional superhero or master spy, but a lousy sobriquet for a guy who wants to run America’s largest city.
Once again, Weiner is defiant, vowing to remain in the race in spite of the recent revelations about his proclivity for Web whoopie. And, once again, Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, stood by him and spoke up in his defense.
She said she loves her husband and considers his digital dalliances a matter that should be settled between them.
And so they are, but Weiner’s history of laptop lap dances are understandably troubling. He is, after all, seeking a job that puts him in charge of a $70 billion annual municipal budget. In contrast, the budget for the entire state of Oklahoma is around $7 billion.
It must be said that Abedin learned the art of standing by her man from an expert, since she is a top aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The call has gone out from a number of sources for Weiner to drop out of the race, citing his ongoing moral lapses.
In addition, his poll numbers are dropping. His lead in Democratic primary for mayor has eroded, and his disapproval rating has risen to 55 percent.
Politics aside, Weiner needs to leave the race immediately and begin putting his marriage, and his life, back together. Carlos Danger obviously has a problem, and it has nothing to do with his proclivity for goofy nicknames.
This sort of behavior is simply not normal. Most people do not sext (Geraldo Rivera notwithstanding), though a 2012 Harris Interactive Poll found one in five Americans admitted to sexting on their smart phones (and what is so smart about that?)
Weiner is not the only big-city mayoral candidate to be caught up in a sex scandal. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s reelection campaign is on the rocks after allegations surfaced that he has sexually harassed women.
Filner is being sued by his former communications director, a female, who alleges he asked her to come to work without underwear, demanded that she kiss him, said he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear.
He has been accused of patting the behind of a female political consultant, and of trying to kiss a school psychologist.
Weiner and Filner are just two of a long line of male politicians to be caught with their pants down, so to speak.
Besides the aforementioned Clinton, there were former presidential candidate Gary Hart and ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who during his tenure disappeared from the state for nearly a week in 2009. He said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. In truth the married governor was stepping out with his Argentine girlfriend. Needless to say he was not reelected.
And then there was Eliot Spitzer, former New York governor, who was forced to leave his post after it was learned the married politician liked to cavort with high-dollar prostitutes.
Sanford and Spitzer have rebounded from their very public falls from grace. Sanford won a special election in May and now serves as a Congressman from South Carolina (it is thus little wonder that Congress’ approval rating hit a record low of 12 percent this week), while Spitzer is leading in his efforts to be elected New York City’s comptroller.
Weiner, it seems will not be so lucky. Both Sanford and Spitzer have admitted to their malfeasance and have (so far as we know, anyway) repented, while Weiner apparently hasn’t shaken the need for Internet infidelity.
Weiner apparently has not learned a political truism: You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but if you continue to fool around after you’ve already been caught and forgiven once, you’ll be out on your backside in no time.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.