Okay, I’m probably a bit late on this and there has probably already been a long debate and repeated issuances of disgust with the The New York Times Sunday Magazine over last week’s cover story on Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin (“The Post-Scandal Playbook,” Jonathan Van Meter, 14 APR 2013). If so, good on everyone before me. If not, well, hm.
I just heard about this story this morning while sitting outside with Misty. The magazine was lying nearby and I asked if there was anything good in it. She told me a little about the Weiner-Abedin story, mentioning that he wanted to run again before his matching funds expire and that he’d spent $100,000 on polls to see if people would forgive and vote for him. This riled me up. So I grabbed the copy and found the section she was talking about.
Sure enough, that was his argument. And he’d also found through that $100,000 poll that he need to explain himself to voters in order to have a snowball’s chance in public life again.-
At breakfast, Weiner quickly put all the speculation to rest: he is eyeing the mayor’s race. He told me that his political committee spent more than $100,000 on polling and research by Obama’s longtime pollster, David Binder (a detail that would be made public — and prompt a flurry of news reports — in mid-March when a spending report was filed with the city’s Campaign Finance Board). The focus of the poll, Binder says, was the question “Are voters willing to give him a second chance or not, regardless of what race or what contest?” And the answer? “There was this sense of ‘Yeah, he made a mistake. Let’s give him a second chance. But there are conditions on that, and there are a couple of things we’re going to want to know: What have you been doing since this incident occurred? Did you learn anything from this mistake? How did you deal with it?’ They want to know that they’ve put it behind them.”
That right there is the raison d’etre for this entire story. And it’s noted by the reporter in the next paragraph (and tried to explain away elsewhere in the article):
By agreeing to be interviewed, Weiner and Abedin would seem to be trying to give voters what they want — and gauge public reaction. But it’s clear that the idea of talking about the scandal and its aftermath appeals to them on a personal level too.
I think they could give a unicorn’s tail about getting this off their chests. That’s what they have therapists for. This is all about attempting to sway public opinion by introducing the nice guy who screwed up and should be given another chance to sit in elected office. Did Weiner and his wife request this interview? That’d be my bet. Because, apparently, there’s no survey of the cost of our exit from Afghanistan to do, overview of continuing unemployment situation to be covered or investigative journalism to be done in the hardening of soft terrorist targets. Nope. Anthony Weiner is the order of the day. Cover story important, no less. (I’d be even more upset if I were a NYCer, given his aim is for the mayoral seat.)
My question is that if he is so driven to serve, is there nothing he can do but run for office? If that’s all he knows how to do, that’s the worst reason ever. Time to go to the back of the line. Weiner needs to serve again without being in a position of power — a position he’s already abused once. Show your loyalty.
In fact, there’s not much about this that isn’t selfish. I want to be in office. I need a national paper of record to help me in my cause of redemption. I need to run for office this year so I don’t lose my public campaign money. I need to be in the spotlight. I need to take a photo of my penis.
I guess the moral of the story is that — whether or not you win elected office again — if you have enough money and power (and connections do equal power, even in disgrace), you can get a front-page service job from the NYTimes Sunday Magazine.