It was going on 3 a.m. on a Friday night in October, just a few weeks before Election Day. The phone beside my bed was ringing, and I groggily answered. A frantic male’s voice was on the other end, and it took me a few moments to realize it was a client. He was nearing the end of a contentious race for office, and was calling me from a hotel a few hours away. It became clear fairly quickly that his wife wasn’t with him on the road – and he wasn’t alone in bed. He was afraid to tell his campaign manager, and had called me, stupidly thinking that I would be sympathetic, simply because I typically was the person that would “clean up messes.” It didn’t take me long to hang up on him, call the campaign manager to let him know what was happening, and tender my resignation.
I could lie, and say that I have always been morally opposed to assisting candidates in hiding marital infidelity from spouses and the public alike, but that’s simply not the case. My primary objection to dealing with that particular candidate was two-fold. First, he was stupid enough to wake me, when I had told him and the campaign staff that I was going to bed early that night with a double-dose of NyQuil because I was sick. The second reason was far less selfish – that affair wasn’t the first one, and I’d said I would walk if I had to clean up after another one. The man lost the election, and whether or not it had anything to do with the fact that I told the campaign manager of his opponent about the affair – quietly, through channels – doesn’t matter to me now, and it didn’t then.
As for my attitude about politicians and their sexual proclivities, I long ago came to the conclusion that it is useless to assume that any of them are above the basest behaviors. I’m not saying I think they are all perverse – just saying that nothing surprises me anymore. But, a few things bother me severely. In the case of Anthony Weiner, I’m not at all surprised at the latest admission that he’s back to his old tricks. Cyber-sex is a different beast, because it definitely falls in a gray area for many people. An entire sector of “online adult entertainment” is essentially devoted to assisting consenting adults in finding people to engage in titillating text-based “relationships.” Arguments against teens “sexting” have been littered with reader commentaries claiming, rightfully so, that it is often a situation of adults saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
In the grand scheme of sexual-misadventures, Weiner’s offenses are arguably less objectionable than Bill Clinton’s, if only because they were restricted to the virtual world, and didn’t involve physical sexual activities with another person. The moral dilemma over stringing women along is something Weiner will need to contend with, if not in a battle of conscience, then possibly in the courts, if any of the women attempt to sue him. Admittedly, I have difficulty determining precisely how they would show real losses in a courtroom, but that’s their issue, not mine. Weiner is guilty of being stupid, and of having what’s probably an unhealthy obsession with cyber-sex. Many people have this problem, but there are some that use this sort of activity in much the same way pornography is used in a fertility clinic – merely “inspiration.” This just happens to involve an irresponsible man who is in the spotlight, so the masses are finding it necessary to ridicule him all the more.
No, the real problem I have with this case isn’t with Weiner, but with his wife, Huma Abedin. And I’m not the only one. The New York Post finally pointed out what needed to be said from the beginning – Abedin is in it for the power, not for the sake of the sanctity of marriage. Lest we forget, she’s Hillary Clinton’s protégé, and apparently learned the lesson of priorities when it comes to climbing social and political ladders. It never fails to infuriate me when I watch women that are married to powerful men turn themselves into doormats for the sake of maintaining status alone. However, it’s far more frustrating to see others point out that this is in any way a “strong choice.” It isn’t.
It’s not difficult to find facts about Abedin now more than ever. Her history is well known to any conservatives that have been keeping track of issues out of the Clinton State Department, and new questions are being raised about her employment status there. Given her personal accomplishments, one has to wonder why Abedin is finding it necessary to engage in this self-destructive behavior for the sake of a second-rate politician husband like Weiner. As Tammy Bruce points out in this Tweet:
But perhaps a key to Abedin’s behavior is in her upbringing. Her mother is an activist, and supports traditional Muslim values. That is the politically correct way of saying that Abedin was raised by a woman who is involved with an organization that is for female genital mutilation and honor killings, and promotes the subjugation of wives to their husbands as a matter of tradition within the Muslim faith. If we’re going to have a dialogue about this situation, perhaps the spotlight shouldn’t be on Weiner and his nonsense. He’s essentially burned his political bridges, and if the residents of New York City are stupid enough to elect him, they will get what they deserve. The real conversation should be about the poor example Abedin is offering to women and girls, that self-respect takes second place behind a ne’er do well husband. Maybe this is a good time to talk about the sanctity of marriage, and more importantly, what happens when a marriage is no longer treated as sacred – by one or both spouses. One thing is certain: Weiner isn’t worth discussing.