MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was equally censorious, noting that Weiner had lied to the public and to her personally when he claimed to be rehabilitated following his resignation. “That’s the problem,” Maddow explained, the lying.
Oh, so “evasion” and “lying” are now repellent? Are they always, or only after a politician has “violated the public’s trust” and then “asks for it back again”? Are the Times, Maddow, and others having a sudden attack of prudishness? Didn’t we all learn in 1998 that lying about sex is no big deal — that in fact everyone does it? What was Anthony Weiner lying about again? Why is everyone making such a fuss?
Weiner, who married Huma Abedin with none other than William J. Clinton officiating, can’t be forgiven for much in my book, but if he’s puzzled about the reigning morality on the intersection of sex, lying, and politics, his confusion is understandable. Like Clinton, he is without shame. Like Clinton, he has an enabler/co-conspirator as a wife. But if it’s “only sex,” and “everyone lies about sex,” then heck, Weiner probably reasoned that unlike his mentor, he didn’t even touch the women he texted.
His brisk press conference reflected perfect Clintonian morality. He began by signaling that no true contrition would be forthcoming: “I’m Anthony Weiner, Democratic candidate for mayor of New York.” He then attempted to dismiss the story as old news. He was surprised more hadn’t come out sooner, he reminded the press. Hadn’t he said that it might? What he called “the behavior” was “problematic to say the least, destructive to say the most.”