17 June 2014
Last summer when I wrote about NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, I knew next to nothing about them until they stood side by side in a press conference he had called for the purpose of clarifying his newly revealed online sexual postings. Today there is new relevance to the story.
During that press conference, Anthony Weiner turned himself into a public joke. By his side was his wife, Huma Abedin, chief aide to Hilary Clinton. After her husband’s humiliating confession that he had continued sending pictures of his naked penis to young women on the Internet long after he had told the world he had stopped, Huma took the microphone. In forceful tones she admitted it had been hard but that she still believed in her husband and supported his candidacy for the office of mayor of New York.
Commentators came down hard on Weiner – not so much for the swaddled erections and naked pictures as for lying to the public and to the press in a People Magazine interview where he proclaimed his transcendence of his own ugly public acts. Most saw Huma as the heroic, staunchly loyal wife-in-time-of-trouble. I saw something quite different.
I saw a repetition of Richard Nixon’s resignation speech of nearly forty years ago. It had seemed then that the President of the United States was enjoying the spotlight that shone on his disgrace. He was a man who was, as always, certain he was right even as the country was sorting through the evidence of his multiple felonies and moral failures.
Weiner dismissed sending naked pictures of his own genitals in the same way Nixon dismissed his own felonies. He seemed not to understand that the voting public might not want an exhibitionist as mayor of New York. Nixon resigned and Weiner lost.
And what about Huma? This is a woman who is extremely close to the master stand-by-your-man woman of all time. Hillary Clinton did the press conference thing twice and did it so well that public opinion credited her with saving Bill’s political career. Huma Abedin’s defense of her man rang hollow and was sufficiently sophisticated that inevitably we examine her motives. It’s not unfair to guess that she was protecting her long term goal as advisor to Hillary Clinton.
The new relevance? We face the probability of a Hillary Clinton candidacy in 2016 along with the possibility of Huma Abedin as her top assistant. If that happens, we will face two years of TV, talk radio, and press coverage of the dalliances and scandals in the lives of the Clintons and Wieners. This is not what this country needs in an election year during a time of global chaos.
We need a Democrat and a Republican who will discuss the important issues of our time. Let’s hear a debate about war as a solution to world problems and weaponry as a power tool instead of watching the incumbents of both parties build pyramids of lies justifying our invasions of foreign countries. Let’s eliminate personal dissection.
Tim Weiner’s (no relation) excellent history of the CIA – Legacy of Ashes – quoted recently released documents that revealed that during that frightening Cold War time of the early ‘50s, Stalin had learned that CIA was planning a massive bombing attack on Moscow. Sounds familiar? And yet from 1950 forward, the war hawks of both parties continually led us to wars based on lies and misinformation.
Let’s choose two candidates who will explore these issues honestly rather than suffering two years of listening to the right wing devour and spew forth Clinton scandals, both real and imagined. Hillary Clinton has served this country well but she has too much baggage to run again. We should thank her warmly and wish her well in running the fine Clinton family foundation with Bill and Chelsea.
Who is honest enough and clean enough to run for the Democrats? Elizabeth Warren.