Is he his own worst enemy?
New York City's Anthony Weiner was forced to admit yesterday that yes, he'd conducted yet another sexting affair including a lewd photo of himself with a woman who was not his wife, even after he'd supposedly apologized for doing the same thing and resigning from Congress in contrite disgrace two years ago.
Throughout his public life, even as a city councilmember from Queens, Weiner has enjoyed a news-making reputation of being hard to work with, a hothead, and of being spoiled and petulant. However, even his detractors didn't suspect him of being as foolish as yesterday's admissions make him appear. After some gossip websites began posting snippets of explicit text messages between Weiner - sometimes using the pseudonym "Carlos Danger" - and at least one woman, the formerly disgraced Congressman currently running for New York City Mayor scrambled the media for a quick news conference with his wife, the plainly embarrassed Huma Abedin.
Yes, he not only didn't tell the whole truth the last time, but apparently, he thought he could get away with it. Attempting to cushion the news, Weiner says that he warned the media a while ago that more bad stuff was out there. Of course, he wasn't going to clear the air back then if he didn't have to. Which makes one wonder if this is finally the end, or if there are even more extramarital shenanigans that might come to light in the future.
And, ever the gallant man that Abedin hoped she was marrying, but wasn't, Weiner today partly blamed Abedin - and the stress of having to try and reconcile with her after the first time he got caught sexting - for this latest bout of sexting, which he says ended last summer.
Wow, what a catch, Huma! And what a catch he'd still make for the City of New York, huh voters?
Not so much, New Yorkers are beginning to realize, even after they gave him a huge surge in the Democratic primary polls after his late entry into the mayoral race against front-runner Christine Quinn.
Quinn herself hasn't yet called for Weiner to back out of the race, but two other Democratic contenders and a Republican have, which is a fairly respectable bipartisan effort in the overwhelmingly liberal Big Apple. The National Organization for Women, the formidable pro-choice lobbying group wielding great clout in the city, has also called for Weiner to end his campaign.
A lot of observers are marveling at Abedin's resolve to "stand by her man" a second time. And it's highly probable that her relationship with Bill Clinton's family is providing a considerable amount of context and support for her during days like these. After all, she's a former confidante of Hillary Clinton's when she was Secretary of State. She's also a well-educated daughter of privileged Muslim educators, capable of pursuits grander than being the wife of a sleazy Jewish pervert, even if he is the mayor of New York. Before Abedin's marriage to Weiner, Clinton was quoted as saying proudly of her employee that "I only have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would be Huma." How likely is it that the goodwill Weiner was barely able to salvage from the Clintons after his first press conference over sexting remains available to him after yesterday's?
Apart from Abadin's remarkable resolve to keep working at her marriage to Weiner, another wrinkle that this sordid scenario presses into the folds of public discourse is the fact that with Weiner's latest affirmation of infidelity, however virtual, his primary opponent in the Democratic race for mayor is none other than a monogamous, married lesbian with absolutely no extramarital skeletons to be found in the closet she shares with her partner, Kim Katullo. If being physically, morally, and emotionally committed to one's life partner is a solid prerequisite for holding public office, how awkward is it for us conservatives to see a gay couple trump a heterosexual couple in that department?
Now, I'm not saying that I endorse gay marriage, and you'll notice that I'm having a difficult time saying that Quinn and Katullo are married, spouses, or "wives." However, they've been a prominent item in New York's voracious media for a decade, and it stands to reason that if there's any infidelity taking place in their relationship, we'd have learned about it by now. And while sexting somebody who's not your spouse isn't the most egregious violation of a lifelong partnership, Weiner's actions betray a blatantly ugly, immature, and risky willingness to sacrifice the profound for the profane.
Suddenly, simply being a lesbian happily "married" to another lesbian challenges traditional notions of mutual respect and admiration.
It's an ugly truth about our debate over gay marriage: heterosexual matrimony can be woefully abused by its participants, while some homosexual partnerships enshrine the commitment and resiliency God would expect of holy wedlock. Of course, neither the corruption of heterosexual marriages can negate God's intentions for the covenant, nor can the fullest partnership of two gay people beg a new dispensation for Biblical marriage. Some evangelicals might even want to argue that the relationship Quinn and Katullo share isn't worthy of being classified as anything more than a perversion. However, one glance at the intentionality between the Quinn-Katullo partnership contrasted with the Weiner-Abadin partnership could either bring into question the definition of "perversion," or remind us that the reason we're having debates over gay marriage within a society that's been jaded by infidelity is because sin really is all around us.
Frankly, if I had to choose between Weiner and Quinn for mayor based on their treatment of their life partner, I'd vote for Quinn. Not simply despite the fact that she's gay and married under New York State law to a lesbian, but because she recognizes how important such relationships are. Being mayor of New York puts one in a leadership position over more people and a bigger economy than some nations have. Few Big Apple mayors have been poster children for morality, but shouldn't voters get to choose the person they can better trust?
In fact, it's people like Weiner who help me understand the frustration that couples like Quinn and Katullo have regarding being legitimately married in the eyes of God. Then again, when I remember that Quinn and Katullo, like Weiner, and even Abadin, are almost certainly not eager to honor the God of the Bible with how they live their lives, I'm dismayed at how Satan can corrupt so many good things.
I'm also incredulous at Weiner. Good grief, dude! Really? I almost pity Abadin. And when I look at Quinn, who most likely now will become the next mayor of New York City, while I wish her no ill will at all, I simply can't reconcile her marital status with the truth I believe in the Bible.
But is it wrong for me to at least be glad she's not sexting other people and violating the relationship she has with her partner?
There is only one unpardonable sin, and gay marriage isn't it. Aside from that, all sins have consequences, but those consequences can vary. Might New York's mayoral race be providing proof of that? Fidelity can still mean something, even if we disagree with its expression.