Let the voters decide Anthony Weiner’s fate

by Charlie_East_West on July 29, 2013

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There is no fool like an old fool. Anthony Weiner aka Carlos Danger has been caught with his pants down once again. He sent inappropriate images of his penis to women with whom he had no relationship. His latest sex scandal is threatening to bring down his personal and professional life. I bet he wishes that he was born in Greco-Roman times – as a political leader, he could have ended up with a statue of himself displaying his prized cock for eternity in a city centre square somewhere for everyone to gaze at.

There are calls from all sides of the political spectrum for Weiner to pull out of the race to become New York City Mayor. The New York Times has called for him to drop out of the race, and former senior adviser to Barack Obama, David Axelrod accused Weiner of “wasting time and space.” and that Americans “believe in second chances, but not third chances.”

Wrong.

This story should not about second, or indeed third chances within a high profile career. There needs to be two distinct lines of narrative when discussing Anthony Weiner:-
1) The personal: It should be a gossip column fluff story that adheres to the view that Anthony Weiner is a narcissist with a bizarre predilection to whip his old boy out within social media forums. End of story.
2) The political: It should therefore, be a separate political story about how Anthony Weiner seeks to become New York City’s next major, and as such, it should be a story about what Anthony Weiner will offer New York citizens in terms of progressive policy making.

Unfortunately, we have two separate stories on Weiner that have had their lines of separation blurred. The stories have overlapped. I am all for Weiner staying in the race and letting the voters decide on whether he is fit for purpose as mayor of New York. That is democracy in action – the voter resolving the credibility of Weiner rather than a few gleeful Republicans, tabloids or social media commentators.

Weiner is a modern day new media flasher, and probably needs to seek some professional help. His personal priorities are in great conflict with his roles as a husband and father, but NOT as a public servant. Casting the first stone and all of that. All Weiner has done is exhibit (albeit embarrassingly) a modern day version of sexual deviancy. As Andrew Sullivan pointed out in the Sunday Times, “if Bill Clinton were 20 years younger we would be seeing all sorts of images of his predilections. And can you imagine the images we’d be seeing of a young JFK?” – Quite.

The most important aspect to this rather grubby story is how the story appears to be hindering the career prospects of a high profile and able individual. That is a shame. I personally would rather have the likes of say, Bill Clinton as an American political leader – warts and all, than say, an apparently squeaky clean political buffoon like George W Bush having his hands on some seriously important, and potentially dangerous political levers.

For fuck’s sake everyone, we live in the 21st century. Most human beings are personally flawed. That does not mean that most human beings cannot do their job. If we hound out everyone from their chosen career because of a personal flaw, then would the last person to leave the planet please turn the lights off, as global unemployment would probably run at around 7 billion.

So lets leer and joke at Weiner’s expense if we want to – but, let’s also be careful what we wish for.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie_South July 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Charlie, I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one.

1. Despite New York City being absolutely rock solid Democratic in presidential elections, it hasn’t elected a Democrat to be its mayor since the 1980s. It would be tragic if the Democrats mess this up yet again.

2. To win, it would be good if the Democrats could concentrate on backing a viable candidate for November, rather than blowing lots of resources on the primary. Unviable but strong candidates may be helping the democratic choice available, but they also damage the Democrats’ chances of winning.

3. Getting caught again very publicly for the same thing a second time after the first time ended in him having to resign (and losing his congressional district to the Republicans in the process) is not only a sexual indiscretion, it shows a massive flaw in Weiner’s judgement – quite an important aspect of being a mayor.

4. Even if you ignore all this, he’s a fairly unpleasant politician (see Wikipedia). His first election to any post – as a New York City councilman – came as a result of an anonymous leaflet he blanketed the white parts of the council district with to stoke up racist fears about his opponents. He tried to stop the Palestinian delegation attending the UN, stating that they “should start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags”. He was infamous for bullying his staff.

Weiner really is doing neither the Democrats nor his city any favours by staying in the race.

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Charlie_East_West July 29, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Points well made, Jackie – and I accept and agree with your themes here.

But, I would rather have a politician making the same mistake again for a sexual indiscretion, than a politician making the same mistake over and over again on policy – this particularly applies to hawkish foreign interventionist politicians (who also claim to be custodians of a self styled religious moral compass).

If Weiner does not stand, it should be on the criteria of dodgy form as a policy maker rather than a sexual deviant.

It appears that many commentators are now more concerned with sex than politics – in terms of who is fit for purpose within public office – and that cannot be a good thing.

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