The latest royal birth makes great news for tabloid journalism, but even better is the latest sex message sent by Anthony Weiner to a woman who is not his wife. Weiner was not yet a household name when he was a Congressional representative from New York, or even when he began talking a lot on MSNBC, but now he has become famous for the crotch shots he sends all over the country.
Can he parlay his name recognition into a successful campaign for mayor of New York? Until recently Weiner was leading his main opponent, Christine Quinn, current Speaker of the NY City Council, despite the scandal that made him resign from Congress in 2011. But in the last week we have learned that long after his resignation Weiner continued to send sexual messages and explicit photos to women he had never met. He is now reported to have initiated three new online sexual relationships and maintained them more than a year after resigning. There may have been contacts even after Weiner began his campaign for mayor.
Weiner says this is all in the past, which perhaps is true. Maybe it took him several years to learn that this form of cheating on his wife would be unpopular with voters. But what kind of man sends such messages while in Congress, gets caught and resigns, makes a big deal of publically apologizing to voters and to his wife, then continues to send messages to other women while he plans to run for mayor?
Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia has also recently earned tabloid headlines by using his elected position to finance a lifestyle far beyond the means of virtually all Americans. Bob McDonnell is one of the highest-paid governors in the US, earning $175,000 as of 2011. But that’s not enough for him. A campaign donor, who also has business before the state government, paid for catering at his daughter’s wedding, gave loans of over $100,000 to corporations owned by him and his wife, paid for his wife’s luxury shopping spree, gave McDonnell a $6500 Rolex watch, and more. Some of these gifts were not disclosed on McDonnell’s financial statements.
Now he has apologized for the “embarrassment I brought on my beloved Virginia”. What kind of man uses elected office to enrich himself, helping a wealthy donor tout his products while accepting giant gifts from him?
What happens when politicians get caught with their pants down or their hand in someone else’s pocket? Weiner says that there is no way he is dropping out of the mayor’s race. "You're stuck with me," he said. “I am waging this campaign on a bet, and the bet is at the end of the day citizens care more about their own future than about my past with my wife and my embarrassing things,” he said in Brooklyn. Weiner sent an email to supporters saying that his campaign for mayor was “too important” to give up over “embarrassing personal things”. Too important to whom?
Republicans and Democrats have called for McDonnell to resign, even though his term ends in January. But that’s not going to happen. “I'm not going anywhere. I love this job. There has been no consideration of that,” he told NBC.
Is Weiner’s continued presence in the mayoral race good for New Yorkers? Is it good for his party? Is McDonnell’s spending a few more months in the governor’s mansion good for his “beloved Virginia”? Is it good for his own attorney general, who is waging a tight race to replace him?
Both of these guys are in it for themselves. They can’t do without the power and money that politics can bring. They don’t want to give up their position in front of the camera. They can’t admit that they have proven themselves unfit for office. They want to be the center of attention, even if that attention focuses on their egotistical creepiness, their greed, and their colossally bad judgment.
Why can’t they shut up and go away?
Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, July 30, 2013