The Weiner Fades Away (June 16, 2011)

 

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And so the sometimes funny, mostly pathetic and certainly odd spectacle of the Anthony Weiner social media scandal will takes its rightful place asa pop cultural footnote later today, if reports are to be believed. The beleaguered congressman wins major points for stubborn tenacity, but ultimately the growing list of icky online encounters with women proved politically impossible to surmount.

Weiner was able to weather his odd series of lies, before Andrew Breitbart literally caught the man with his pants down. He survived growing Democratic establishment calls to step down after it was reported that he exchanged messages with a Delaware teen. But as Charlie Sheen and Tiger Woods can attest, those porn stars will get you every time.

Earlier this week, ex-adult film “actress” Ginger Lee held a press conference with lawyer Gloria Allred by her side, where she asserted her moral fortitude in refusing Weiner’s technological overtures. Thus, “I did not sext Anthony Weiner,” assumes its natural position as the summer’s most popular t-shirt slogan.

Lee articulated the “nightmare” of being asked by Weiner to lie about the nature of their exchanges. I am sure being asked to keep mum about messages from a man you’ve never personally met is far more harrowing than a life spent on the pole having dollars shoved down your g-string by drunken, dirty and potentially murderous “clients.” And Gloria Allred – is there any person of ill repute you WON’T represent? This lady should have her legal license sprayed with Valtrex.

But I digress. In a weird way I was sort of pulling for Weiner to get through this crisis. I maintain, as I asserted last week, that there’s nothing illegal about being a bad husband and lying to the media. I insist that it should have been the decision of his constituents whether or not he continued in his elected capacity. But at a certain point, conventional wisdom must intervene in order for life to go on. The glut of images, “victims” and gossip showed no signs of slowing, and Democrats, who were enjoying a comeback of sorts after the upstate New York special election, were set to strip the congressmen of his committee posts.

I do believe that Mr. Weiner has bigger problems in life than retaining his job. The “therapy” thing is bullshit but I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of damage control that is required in his personal life, and at the end of the day, home and family is what matters most. I don’t walk in wife Huma Abedin’s shoes, but with a baby on the way, she has some complicated decisions to face. I truly hope that the Weiners are able to find a way to move forward in a healthy way – whatever that might entail.

I will not join the “good riddance” chorus here. This is a sad cautionary tale with an unhappy ending, an answer to the question what can happen when power, hubris, human appetites and the stalkerish capabilities of the Internet converge to cause a promising public servant to publicly self-destruct.

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