Yesterday may have been National Hot Dog Day, but Anthony Weiner has nothing to celebrate. Anthony Weiner is a .....Good taste prevents me from playing with the punning headlines of the New York Post and Daily News.
I'm sure there is a clinical explanation, some personality disorder classification having to do with reckless, self-destructive behavior, lack of self worth, death wish. Or maybe simple sex addiction. Not attractive traits for any chief executive. His long-suffering wife, Huma Abedin, said that her husband's disclosure in 2011 had been followed by difficult, profound rethinking about their marriage and "a lot of therapy." They should get their money back. Did she think he was Bill Clinton?
Now it is revealed that a year later Weiner was at it again in an online sexting scandal with a 22-year-old woman. He had used the pseudonym Carlos Danger and sent lewd photos and messages between July and December of 2012. This, while he was on the verge of announcing a campaign for New York mayor. In a recent public opinion survey, half the women voters and two thirds of men said they thought Weiner deserved a second chance. And he was getting it, according to some polls actually holding a lead.
Would you want a mayor who embraces the persona and pseudonym of Carlos Danger? Who, even after discovery, public humiliation, apologies, admission of wrong-doing, proceeds to repeat the self-same reckless behavior?
The National Organization for Women issued a statement calling Weiner someone who is "clearly and compelling unfit for public office." This is a no-brainer. Redemption after a mistake, even a big mistake, is fair. Often people do deserve a second chance. Former New York Attorney General and Governor Eliot Spitzer, for example, is running (without his wife's support) for city comptroller after being forced to resign from office by revelations that, while in office, he had used the services of high-priced prostitutes. (NOW, which has endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for mayor, has also spoken out against Spitzer and Council candidate Vito Lopez, who has a rep for sexually harassing staffers.)
By many accounts, Weiner was never a particularly effective or well liked Congressman, and his narcissistic lust for publicity often made NY Senator Charles Schumer look like a shrinking violet. But, even if Weiner had been a high performer, should he deserve a third chance? After something like this? Fortunately the Boston mayoral race seems free of scandal. As for the mayoral race to our south, Weiner should withdraw his candidacy. New York voters should remember the adage: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. They should be ashamed if they vote this September 10 for Anthony Weiner for mayor.
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