The Current Crisis

Return of a Weiner?

A former House member ponders a return to prominence.

By 7.19.12

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WASHINGTON -- I see that the stalwarts of Reform Politics throughout the city of New York have been given reason for hope and change. It is reported that former congressman Anthony D. Weiner (pronounced as you might expect) is testing the waters for a return to public life. He is mulling over a run for the mayor's mansion or perhaps a campaign for "public advocate." I am not really sure what a public advocate does, but Weiner has done things in public that are very daring and so I have no doubt he could handle the duties of a public advocate.

You will remember that he left the House of Representatives when he was caught handling his private parts in photographs that he sent to women he did not know and repeatedly lying about it to his colleagues and the press. Well, now he is pondering a return to public office. He has been out of, I guess we would call it, the public eye for a little over a year, and as he told WNYC recently, "I paid a very high price…." He has become a stay-at-home dad to his six-month-old son and when he does go out in public he wears jeans, tee shirts, and a baseball hat turned backwards. So he is contemplating another office of public trust. Whatever office he chooses to run for, you can count on his running as a Reformer. He has always been very progressive and was in fact a dreadful scold to the reactionary Republicans on Capitol Hill until those dratted pictures turned up. CNN would not even give him a show on the network, not even a late-night show. CNN gave former governor Eliot Spitzer a show after his imbroglio with a sex ring, but not Weiner.

His wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to the infallible New York Post, is trying to get him to do a blockbuster interview on television to clear the air for a return to politics. That is what her boss's husband, Bill Clinton, did in 2004 on "60 Minutes," and now people absolutely adore Bill. Properly executed, a TV interview could be Weiner's first step to the presidency!

The problem is finding the right interviewer we are told. According to the Post, a "source said the couple is trying to decide which reporter would be offered the sit-down -- and they'd prefer one who typically lobs softball questions." May I suggest myself? I have always been vastly interested in politicians with Weiner's progressive instincts. In fact, I was very much interested in Bill Clinton, and one could argue that had not The American Spectator taken an interest in his Arkansas bodyguards America and the world might never have heard of Monica and all the other ladies that Bill groped and, so the story goes, raped. Remember Juanita Broaddrick?

At the Spectator we have followed Weiner's progressive politics assiduously. Remember our September 16, 2011 story appearing about the time that the Republicans wrested the former congressman's seat from the Democratic Party for the first time since 1923. Our crack investigative team found him and his wife in posh Positano, Italy, dining along the Amalfi Coast with a cosmopolitan crowd at the very upscale restaurant, La Spoda. We even reported the anti-American pleasantries passed among the rastaquoueres. I can guarantee Weiner I would lob nothing but softball inquiries.

I am also interested in Weiner because I surmise that he played a significant role in ending a historic episode of Liberalism a year or so ago, the Chappaquiddick Dispensation. Starting with Senator Edward Kennedy's famous swim back in 1969, Liberal rogues learned that they could survive a scandal that in earlier times would have ended the career of any politician, simply by lying brazenly to the gullible press and to impassive prosecutors or to anyone else who found their potential scandal an unfortunate mishap. I identify the Chappaquiddick Dispensation in my recent book The Death of Liberalism as the beginning of four decades of Liberal degeneration. There were the Clintons, Eliot Spitzer, Jean-François Kerry and his cooked-up war stories, Jesse Jackson and his Hymietown outburst, and all the rest of the humbugs. Then with Weiner's fall and ex-senator John Edwards' unwanted notoriety I wrote that the Chappaquiddick Dispensation had played itself out. The public had grown impatient with louses running for high office.

In the months ahead we shall see how accurate I was.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.