Congressman Anthony Weiner has announced his resignation. Had he done so at any time during his prior thirteen years of service, I would have been overjoyed. No one has opposed him more consistently than I, ever since Charles Schumer groomed him as his replacement. In truth, Weiner never was a Congressman; he served as proxy for Schumer who was serving as a Senator and Representative simultaneously. I defy any eager beaver researcher to find me a single instance of Weiner voting differently than Schumer on any bill.
The two of them are the embodiment of that peculiar form of evil that plagues me to the core of my existence. Namely, Jews who use their national identity as a proto-religious identity, in essence presenting themselves as avatars of the Torah while promoting a secular agenda designed to undermine the moral system for which their ancestors lived… and died.
The fact that Weiner left over some crass peccadillo, some goofy monkeyshine, leaves me stewing in my usual brew of frustration. The falsehood of his ideology is never exposed. He remains in the public eye a man of compassion, battler for the middle class, wearing (in his own words) the "cape and tights" of the superhero. It is just that a personal failing sadly blockaded him from manning his barricade.
Baloney. His evil inheres not in his stupidity and his vulgarity but in his conception of virtue. It is Weiner at his best and brightest who is most pernicious. I wish that were seen in the wider world. (Little known story: Weiner's first race for City Council in New York City was in a three-person race against a rabbi and a Republican woman who split the vote, allowing him to eke out a plurality. During the campaign he told the rabbi's handlers that he was "going to kick him in the pants." Whose pants kicked whom?)
My only consolation lies in the fact that the Talmud predicts this exact pattern of downfall. In a startling statement that never loses either its relevance or its shock value, the Talmud (Yoma 22b) posits this rule of history: "God does not establish a political leader in a community unless he has personal secrets (stated as 'a box full of rodents'), so that if he becomes arrogant, they will be exposed."
Thus, scandal is the Divine weapon of choice when a person is going beyond the appropriate bounds.
Weiner broke the wall between Congress and the Supreme Court, accusing individual Justices of bias. This breached a standard of decency and a philosophical protection that upholds the delicate structure of the American experiment. When he crossed the line, the box popped open and he was history. That is reality seen through the prism of Jewish revelation.
But in my mind the most important message remains that the shame is his deservedly, for reasons of substance. The bank robber was caught when he picked a pocket for a dollar. If Shakespeare had written this play he would have titled it this way: The Shaming of the True.
THIS BRINGS US TO THE OTHER PART of this story. For some reason, no one has looked at the second player in this sorry tale, the Secretary of State. Mrs. Weiner is her aide, so she was naturally along on the Secretary's trip to the Middle East. Fine. But this was no grand summit to solve the world's problems. This was a standard junket such as transpires with dreary unproductive regularity in the life of the Secretary, mattering little and accomplishing less.
Suddenly in the middle of their itinerary the aide's home life blows up in a public way. Her husband is being humiliated daily in the press. Major life decisions have to be made. Whether or not she chooses at the end of the day to stand behind him, it is an elemental act of humanity to send her home to participate in the resolution. She can cry or she can yell or she can soothe, but whatever course of action she chooses, she needs to search her heart at her own hearth.
The fact that Madam Secretary never let this lady behave like a normal person betokens her cruelty and viciousness. Not one day early was she released from her duties. The press has overlooked this, as if there was nothing untoward about such behavior. What if her husband had a heart attack? What if he had a suicide attempt? Too bad, the Missus is busy massaging the Secretary's feet in Morocco or something, while making a cultural visit to the mineral baths.
When will someone come along and put this nasty woman in her place? Methinks it is time to revert to the Bard's original title: The Taming of the Shrew.