Rep. Anthony Weiner's Dark Secret
June 7, 2011
When conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart broke the story of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-Brooklyn) cyber-sexting last week, the six-term congressman from Brooklyn-Queens denied the story blaming it on a renegade hacker. When Weiner’s sexually photos hit the Internet, he could no longer deny the charges. “This was me doing a dumb thing and doing it repeatedly and lying about it,” said Weiner at a hastily called press conference trying some much-needed damage control. Weiner’s mea culpa fell on deaf ears, with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) calling for a Congressional ethics investigation. With calls on both sides of the aisle for Weiner’s resignation, the 46-year-old congressman refused to step down. Weiner’s tearful June 6 press conference looked more like a public plea to his wife than an organized attempt at damage control
Weiner, who married to long-time Hillary Rodham Clinton aid Huma Abedin last July, apologized profusely to his wife. “My wife is a remarkable woman. She’s not responsible for any of this,” said Weiner, admitting that it’s his own issue. “I apologized to her very deeply,” realizing that his erratic behavior rose to the level of an eventual divorce. Weiner admitted to sending lewd pictures of himself to numerous “Internet” companion, a kind of cyber-sex relationship. Breitbart broke the story on his BigGovernment .com Website, posting pictures sent to Weiner’s various Internet companions, including a provocative pic in his Jockey shorts. “I haven’t told the truth and have done things I deeply regret, said Weiner. “I brought pain to people I care about,” attributing the problem to a “mistake” and “stupidity.” Weiner’s actions rise to the level of gross personal mismanagement, likely to end his marriage, social life and congressional career.
Whatever happens with Pelosi’s ethics probe, Weiner’s behavior shows abysmal judgment, not befitting of a U.S. congressman. His refusal to step aside, shows the extent of his narcissistic pathology, unable to take personal responsibility or at least an objective look at himself. While Weiner “regrets” his actions, he still made them with his own free will. He has no one to blame but himself. Whether or not his actions were legal or not should not be the reason for stepping aside. Callign his actions “cringe-worthy,” form New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, recalled his own career-ending scandal. “Believe me, I know, I’ve been there,” said Spitzer, referring to his call-girl addiction that cost him the New York governorship. Spitzer, who hosts his own CNN show called “In The Arena,” offered Weiner no gratuitous advice, including the difficult rehab process needed to get back on your feet.
Figuring out what goes haywire in certain well-educated, high-placedindividuals is no easy matter. Spitzer was touted before his 2008 call-girl episode to compete with Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Weiner, too, showed much promise helping confront GOP opposition to President Obama’s health care reform plan, still an obstacle to his 2012 reelection. Recent sex scandals by former Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and others attest to the powerfully self-destructive nature of male sexual instincts. While there are different types of affairs, Weiner’s cyber-sex case raises disturbing questions about the 46-year-old congressman’s judgment. Attributing his behavior to “stupidity” does little to explain what Weiner himself called “aberrant” behavior.
Apologizing profusely to his wife Huma Abedin, Weiner doesn’t begin to reassure his Brooklyn-Queens constituents in yesterday’s tearful press conference. Weiner could have told reporters that he intends to go for “rehab”—today’s euphemism for therapy—to figure out how he lost his judgment. Given the stresses of elected office, it’s easy to see how powerful men use sex, with its many varieties, as a failed coping mechanism. When it’s outside the context of a marital relationship, then it’s open game for the media. With all the past, current and future sex scandals in the works, it’s not a bad idea to figure out better ways of coping. Weiner’s cryptic cyber sexual exploits expose the ugly underbelly of individuals cracking under the stress of high pressure jobs and lifestyles. As part of their Congressional orientation, elected officials should get stress management training.
Weiner’s cyber-sex episode should remind fair-minded people that even elected officials need better coping mechanisms. His choice to send lewd pictures of himself shows the extent to which he was engaged in a kind of muted breakdown. To prevent future episodes, Weiner needs to consult an appropriate professional to learn to managed stress more constructively. Acting out, whether with sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling or illicit sexual activity, rarely manages intolerable levels of stress. Unless Weiner immediately submits to some kind of “rehab,” he needs to resign his seat due to a lack of fitness for public office. “It’s always the constituents,” said New York major and media mogul Michael Bloomberg, saying it’s “time to get back and focus on the serious things.” What’s “serious” here is Weiner’s poor judgment, exposing his lack of fitness for elected office.
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