I feel sorry for Anthony Weiner. Not for anything he's done recently, but for a fact that he had no control over -- his last name. I cannot imagine the teasing he must have put up with out on the schoolyard. In fact, I should begin this column by apologizing for its title, but it's actually pretty hard to use Anthony Weiner's last name in a headline without some degree of double entendre sneaking in. [Cue Beavis and Butthead: "Heh heh... heh heh... he said pretty hard... heh.] See what I mean?
The late night comics are, of course, having an absolute field day. Even when Weiner announced his bid to become New York City's mayor, the jokes just about wrote themselves. My favorite was from David Letterman: "If your election lasts longer than six hours, see your doctor." But now that Weiner has admitted that he didn't learn his lesson the first time around, he has become nothing short of a national laughingstock.
When Weiner was first exposed as a man who didn't take his marriage vows all that seriously (especially online), he did the right thing and resigned his seat in Congress. But even having to go through the national embarrassment he so richly deserved wasn't enough. He, quite obviously, thought that he could get away with the same behavior at the same time he was planning his political comeback. The gall of the man is simply staggering.
American history is full of sex scandals, of course. It is also full of politicians who have been quite successful even after their sexual misconduct has been exposed. American voters are sometimes willing to forgive, or at least offer a second chance. A third chance, however, is really too much to ask.
A man who shows such staggering indifference to changing his own behavior even after it has cost him his career quite simply does not deserve the trust of the voters. Why should anyone trust anything Weiner now says? He's obviously quite comfortable with lying, even to those nearest and dearest to him.
Weiner, had he behaved differently, might actually have made a political comeback. New York City mayor is a step up from a House seat, after all. If Weiner had learned his lesson, he may very well have won and used the position as a launchpad to even bigger jobs. But, as I said, voters may forgive once, but my guess is they won't want a serial philanderer representing them. Weiner should save both himself and the voters months of further embarrassment and withdraw from the race as quickly and as quietly as he can manage.
To continue his candidacy and to expect the voters to trust him, at this point, is nothing short of delusional.
-- Chris Weigant
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant