Whether New Yorkers want Anthony “The Mad Sexter” Weiner as their next mayor is entirely their own choice, but the outcome affects the rest of us, and not just smart-alecky columnists and writers for late-night comedians.
The mayor of our nation’s largest city is, ex officio, a national political power with considerable influence outside the city limits. Witness current Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sometimes-quirky crusades against large, heavily sugared drinks and public displays of tobacco products. And that’s not to mention Hizzonner’s campaigns to get city dwellers to use the stairs and take public transportation.
Weiner’s interests run, not to public health, but to texting sexually explicit photos and messages to women strangers he has met over the Internet. The surprise is that he got responses from so many presumably sane women, although the one who said “Your health-care rants were a huge turn-on” was certainly pushing the mental envelope.
And rant is what Weiner did in Congress. The Democrat’s anger and combativeness on the House floor, however, were unmatched by any record of significant legislative accomplishment.
When his Internet avocation became public (one of the more printable descriptions of his “sexting” images: him in his underwear pointing to a bulge in his tighty whities), he felt forced to resign from Congress.
His then-pregnant new wife, Huma Abedin, a talented, extremely attractive and very private top aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, stood by him, although she skipped the customary awkward appearance of the wronged wife at her wayward husband’s side at the usual mea-culpa press conference.
He left office in June 2011, with the usual commitments to seek repentance and rehabilitation and to repair relations with his wife — in short, to become a new, or at least a better-behaved, man. He also said that more embarrassing moments might surface. They did.