They say timing is everything. So let us consider what we’ve learned from this week’s revelation that Anthony Weiner’s online self-portraiture hobby continued long after the would-be mayor resigned his House seat in embarrassment two years ago.
Take, for instance, this adorable bit from Huma during the couple’s much-ballyhooed “family interview” with People magazine last July:
“It took a lot of work to get to where we are today, but I want people to know we’re a normal family,” says Abedin, 37. “Anthony has spent every day since [the scandal] trying to be the best dad and husband he can be,” she says of her husband, who does all the laundry. “I’m proud to be married to him.”
Turns out that, in between fluffing and folding, Weiner was, during this exact period, starting up another online dalliance with another strange young woman he met cruising the Web—while using the handle “Carlos Danger,” no less. Way to let the wife dangle way out there on a limb for you, man. Proud to be married to you, indeed.
But it gets better. According to the 22-year-old sexting buddy (now) in question, Weiner’s naughty flirtation with her began in mid-July last year, got downright kinky by August (here’s a taste), then petered out (ouch, sorry) some time in November, with only one phone call lopping over into December. November? December? This leaves Weiner wrapping up this particular romp a mere four, maybe five, months before launching his political comeback with that super-size New York Times Magazine profile that endeavored to show us just how much growing Weiner had done since his fall from political grace. And considering how long it takes to put a piece of that magnitude together—author Jonathan Van Meter indeed mentions breakfasting with the couple back in February—well, we’re looking at a gap between sin and rebirth of a few weeks rather than months. Guess it’s a good thing Anthony is such a fast learner.
Now, of course, Anthony is assuring us that all of this is old news. That he’d already told us there were still pictures out there. That, really, as he stressed at yesterday evening’s press conference on the revelations, this doesn’t change much of anything.
But perhaps recognizing that some people might feel like they had heard this song and dance before, this time Weiner added a fresh wrinkle. When his original sexting scandal broke, the lovely Huma promptly went underground, refusing to stand by her husband’s side during the ritual public mea culpa. But with this new installment, Weinergate 2.0 if you will, Abedin not only stood next to Weiner at the press conference, she took her turn lecturing us all that this is a private matter. Anthony has made some “horrible mistakes,” she allowed. “But I do very strongly believe that this is between us and our marriage.”
How loyal. How poignant. Somewhere in the distance, I swear I heard Hillary Clinton’s heart break for her longtime friend and surrogate daughter.
Alas, in this case, Abedin is so very wrong. This is not just about her and Anthony and their relationship. He wants a life in politics. Wants it so very, very badly. And yet, even after he was driven from Congress, even after he went into therapy, even after he and Abedin began peddling the narrative of their Long Road Back, even after he had started plotting his rehabilitation tour, the man could not keep his dick in his pants and out of cyberspace. We are not talking here about a one-time screw up or even a series of affairs. Nope. This is a kink that Weiner has indulged since before his marriage and even after it vaporized his congressional career and turned him into a national laughingstock—a kink that, by its very definition, leaves an X-rated, irrefutable, and more than slightly icky e-trail.
This is the definition of an ungovernable impulse, my friends, and, as such, it is very much the business of the good people of New York. Because, you know what? In all likelihood, Weiner is going to do this again. No matter how earnest and impassioned his apologies to us and to his wife, and no matter how very sorry he may believe himself to be, the guy is going to wake up one fine morning, look down in awe and wonder at his junk, and think, I just gotta share this with someone new!
If he’s at home with Huma and little Jordan in their Park Avenue South apartment, no biggie. But if he goes off on a sexting spree while kicking it in Gracie Mansion, just think of the potential for blackmail and general civic dysfunction. (If I were a political foe—or, say, someone with a big-ticket city contract on the line—I’d be sprinkling Twitter with honeypot traps left and right.) And please tell me that there’s not anyone left out there who still believes that putting a sexually predatory man in high elective office is going to serve as a deterrent.
None of which is to say that New Yorkers shouldn’t vote for Weiner if they decide they’re willing to overlook his particular predilection. But both he and Abedin should spare us their it’s-a-private-matter piety. With his persistent perviness, Weiner has put his dick squarely on the ballot. Now a city of 8 million will have its say. Must be quite a thrill for a guy with Weiner’s exhibitionist tendencies.